Glass trials on some bottles. Still a fail though

I’m having some troubles with etching glass tubes. We use essential oils and the labeling system we have always used sucks to read. I was hoping to etch the glass and have it last forever. Here are a few different tries at it.

I read a few posts from others so I was sure to get a good start. I ranged anywhere from 360-700 in speed and almost all of them done on full power. What I noticed is that rather than etching it dug into the glass and creating this coating sitting on the surface that comes off when you scrub it. Once the coating is gone then the effect is very mild. it’s not frosted but it is grooved into the glass. I did use dishsoap on it to help prevent any cracks which worked great. Any tips would be much appreciated.


I have seen wet newspaper used on glass to etch it. Haven’t tried it myself yet

I’m working on trials with marble tiles at the moment. But we’ve got a similar problem. We’re going to try masking and paint in the etched lines will be best for making the etching visible. Probably will try spray paint unless someone has a better suggestion.

1 Like

My concern is that I want something that lasts and I’m unsure how long paint would. On top of that I would need to clean it and paint it with the mask on and I’m quite sure the mask would not stay in place like i would need it to.

I read somewhere that glass doesn’t actually melt under lasering, it fractures in tiny little controlled puffs. What you’re seeing there that is white, is probably just pulverized glass, sitting on top of the place where it popped out.

If you scrub that out, you’ll get a more uniform look, but it’s not going to be easy to read, it’s just going to look like slightly rougher glass.

You can try filling it with the paint - it might stick better in the rough engraved area. But other than that - I don’t know what would work. :neutral_face:


So I guess the question is if you can truly etch glass with the Glowforge? Maybe to do this I will just have to use acid? I’m hoping that I can frost glass with the Glowforge though.

Have you tried Armour Etch? (It’s an acid paste.)

I’ve used it on clear glass, but never tried it on cobalt or amber glass, so don’t know what the results would look like on those. It does a really great job of etching clear glass to get a frosted look though.

Guess I should try some on some bottles to see what happens. (And you can still cut the mask using the Glowforge if you want. That paper tape would work great.)


Along the lines of what @Jules was suggesting, I was going the vinyl stencil/Armor Etch route, and then I brought this…

Master Airbrush Airbursh Sandblaster Air Eraser Glass Etcher with a (FREE) Ho…

I use it in conjunction with cut vinyl stencils… much more consistent etch and the resulting piece wears well.


No fair! Can’t buy more toys right now! :smile:


It kind of has sucky reviews though.

Have you tried multiple passes at a lower power setting?

I suspect the glass is micro-fracturing due to high thermal loading. I’d suggest that as a first try and if it works well then bump the LPI up to get a more crisp design.

I have had ok luck with glass try more LPI

@jjmacdougall, where do you get your vinyl masking? I thought we couldn’t use it. I have wanted to try sand blast etching too. :grinning:

Yes you can but as @Jules pointed out the process is through micro-fracturing so it’s a different result than the more traditional abrasive blasting and chemical etching.

If you’re looking for the frosted effect you get from the latter methods you have to use one of those. The GF engrave lends itself to other treatments like painting (either before or after depending on the effect you want).

I don’t cut my stencils on the :glowforge: but instead on my Cricut cutter. There might be other masking that isn’t vinyl that you can cut on the 'forge and that would work with sand blasting… I just haven’t done the research as yet.


I ordered some of this. It is laser safe and conforms to the item to be etched. It hasn’t arrived yet. I have used Razist masking for photo resist processing, but the washout process is very unpredictable, so using the laser is my new plan for designs too delicate for my Cricut.


Correct, but I recall mention of laser compatible maskings being made on these forums. Somewhere.

1 Like

Check this topic out if you haven’t already — some info in the latest posts that may help you out.

1 Like

For glass make sure you are using enamel paint. Just regular acrylic will come off.

I did stained glass ornaments with good success. I used Full pews (power) and 400 zooms (speed) with blue painters tape for masking. You want to make sure that the glass is very clean before you stick the masking on. I also noticed that thinner lines worked better than thick. So it might be more readable if you used a thinner font like “The Skinny”. But I think the third picture is really good. If you want to use paint to make it stand out more use an enamel paint as acrylic will come off pretty easily.