Looking for a way to get sharp, opaque art onto a clear substrate like glass or transparency film


I have a photo-resist glass etching mask material that is pretty cool… but to use it, you need a master artwork positive on a transparent substrate. It would look something like this:


To use this masking material, it is common to start with a laser print onto transparency film as seen above. But the quality of your final product depends a lot on how dense your printer puts down toner. Some printers just don’t work that well.

Now, I could use a vinyl cutter to make the art, but the photo-resist masking material can hold fine details like halftones… that is why it is so cool… and you can’t cut vinyl that fine. And if you could, I would just apply the vinyl directly to the work item anyway.

Can anyone think of a way to use our GFs to produce a sharp, opaque image on a clear substrate, with no impractically fine weeding required?

If you blast paint off glass, you you do that without damaging the glass?


I don’t know how to do it with the Glowforge, but I have always used the negative creation process using the supplies from rubberstampmaterials.com to create those dense blacks you need. It works spectacularly well but is a bit messy. For exposure of the film I use a UV lamp for curing nail polish. The link above also has materials you can use in a laser or inkjet printer to create negatives, and this may do the job well enough (I’m assuming it’s better than just printing on transparencies).


I’ve etched the silver off the back of a mirror, but not without etching the glass a little, which was fine for what I was doing.

With some experimenting, I’d think you should be able to fine-tune your etch to just “kiss” off the paint without touching the glass.


Unrelated to the Glowforge we had a sheet of wax that became water in soluble if struck by ultra violet light. We made artwork on mylar and left it sitting in the sun for a bit over the wax and then made silkscreens from that.

To make a tight stencil with the Glowforge, you could cut any number of thin plywoods, veneer, plastics etc. And even have two so it can have enclosed areas that two bits of an “O” would allow for the open bit.

To do it in one mm aircraft ply would not he transparent but you could use registration and it would be strong.


The stuff I have for making masters with a laser printer is basically what you linked, and I use the same kind of UV cure process. My printer just sucks and so even with the darkening treatment, I don’t get good opacity.

I am not sure what you mean about using 2 stencils to preserve “islands” in the artwork?

It is worth a try. Even if the glass got dinged the UV exposure step might work out fine anyway.


Skip the UV exposure step completely and just make the resist sheet in the Glowforge.



That stuff looks very cool, but it needs to be zapped while it’s on the work piece. I bet it’s spectacular for a flat item, but I’d also like to do mugs, etc. Still, I’ve got to get some.


We did silk screen on ceramic pots and bowls! The trick is that you silkscreen a piece of paper or cloth and then carefully lay that on your round object so the paint transfers.

There was tons of blue and white porcelain produced that was identical for each piece in a set, and while the best may have been laboriously hand painted, the greatest volume I think would have been made using that trick.