Help with glass etching

Hi everyone! I’ve been working on glass etching and I’m wondering if anyone can share some advice. I’d like to etch a photo on a piece of glass and hang it using a floating frame. After I engrave the photo, it only looks nice against a white piece of paper. Has anyone etched a photo onto glass?


I’m sure there are some folks who did this; just do a search on Etching On Glass–you’ll find it. As far as I remember, the key is to invert your engraving in Photoshop so it looks like a negative. Then it will come out right on glass or slate.


How thick is that glass and what settings did you use? Someone gave me some 12x12 sheets of glass and I am afraid they will just shatter.

I use Ikonics Laser Tape and it works well for masking.

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Yeah, when you’re engraving on something transparent, you usually have to invert the image. I like to think of it like a reverse printer. Your printer puts black ink on white paper. What you’re attempting to do is put white ink on clear paper…sort of.

Oohhhh! I’ll give that a try and see if it works. Thanks so much!

I just used glass frames from the dollar store to test on. They were 5” x 7” and very thin. I had the settings at 900x100 and 340 lpi. I read someone on here to rub dish soap on the glass to help avoid shattering. I didn’t have any issues.

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It is much the same as the old ambrotype photography of the1850’s The photo on the glass is actually a negative (reversed) image, which is viewed by reflected light. The the case of the ambrotype the glass was placed over a black background, and the resulting image appeared as a positive.

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I’ve had good luck etching from the backside of a glass plate, but did it with a pretty simple image. When I bought some Ikea spice jars to try it from the front, it didn’t work as well, The laser sheared away differing amounts of glass that weren’t a problem when engraving from behind, but looked bad engraved from the front.