Decorating Glass or Crystal

We are using the word ‘Decorating’ to encompass all the various ways that glass can be ‘marked’.

There are many ways of Decorating glass and crystal.  Many ‘decorators’ somehow feel that they have to provide the cheapest possible finish, otherwise, people will not buy!  We do not subscribe to this thought and prefer to provide good value for money while providing high quality ‘decorations’.  To clarify this point, we have included our opinion of as many different ways of Decorating as we can think of.  All that we offer have a # sign beside them.

Adding Colour

Painting

Using Enamel or Ceramic inks, an artist paints images onto single pieces of glass.  Depending on the capabilities of the artist, various effects can be achieved.

Clear Colour Transfers

Typically used by sign makers for the sides of vehicles, the technology has been utilised to provide a transfer suitable for applying to a glass.  Any amount of colours, including full photographic effects can be achieved.

Suitable for short or long runs, this system adds a different dimension to Decorating Glass.  However, it is not a permanent image and could be removed.  Suitable for hand washing only.

# Infilling Deep Engraving with Colour

Having Deep Engraved (see below) a piece of Glass, it can be infilled with a colour.  The infill colours we use are extremely durable and should last a lifetime.  Separate colours cannot be laid directly alongside one another, but various colours can be used providing they do not touch – this is due to the manner in which they are applied.

# Pad Printing

Printing using a machine with 4 ‘heads’, each head being used to print a different colour, all making up the whole image.  The machine can be used with any number of heads (from 1 to 4) to produce the desired amount of colours.

Pad Printed images can be removed by a determined person, armed with a hobby knife and, although we have tested a glass in a dishwasher for a dozen cycles without loss of detail to the print, we do not recommend dishwashing Pad Printed products.

 

Pair of printed "Happy Anniversary" Champagne Flutes

Pad Printed Champagne Flutes, for many different occasions.

Pad Printing becomes a viable option for runs of 25+ pieces of glass.  Below that quantity, it is usually less expensive to have glass/crystal Deep Engraved.  Prices for Pad Printing are shown on this website, but Set Up Charges have to be added and are shown in the final cost.

# Decal Transfer Printing

Screens are produced, one for each colour to be used (plus one for a ‘cover coat’), to make up the finished image.  Release Paper is used to print onto, one colour at a time, finishing with the ‘cover coat’.  The result resembles a sheet of Decals, found in most Plastic Modelling Kits.  There, the similarity ends, because the inks used are made from Ceramics – a close ‘cousin’ of Glass.

The Decals are placed into a saucer of water, which releases the Deal from the Release Paper.  The Decal is slid onto the glass by hand, measured for positioning and squeegeed down.

The glasses are loaded into a Kiln, which must be filled to capacity, or uneven temperatures can occur, resulting in breakages.  The Kiln temperature is raised slowly to 6000C and slowly lowered again to allow the glass to Anneal.  At this temperature, the glass and ceramic bond together, creating an irremovable image, suitable for dishwashing and constant handling.

 

High Quality, Decal Transfer Printed on Glass.

Decal Transfer Printing, in as many colours as you require.

Screen Printing

A complex set-up, consisting of several Screens (one for each colour) and the glass travelling under each one.  A squeegee forces ink through the screen, onto the glass.  A considerable time is spent on Setting Up the machine, so this process is suitable only for long runs.  Some of the manufacturers we deal with have such equipment and we are able to quote for long runs (25,000pcs upwards).

Engraving

Machine Engraving

The machines used are generally used for engraving plastics and metals.  They leave glass and crystal with a shallow, ‘scratchy’ finish, which we consider to be undesirable for Glass Engraving.

Surface Laser Engraving

These machines also provide a shallow, ‘scratchy’ finish, with the additional element that one can see ‘travel lines’ where the laser has passed over wide areas of engraving.  Again, we do not advocate the use of these machines for Glass Engraving.

#Sub-Surface Laser Engraving

A master of computers creates a 2D (Photograph/Graphic) or 3D (Model) image.  The file is transferred to the laser, which uses ‘x y’ co-ordinates to ‘fire’ into the glass.  Each ‘firing’ produces a tiny impact (fissure) inside the glass.  A typical 3D Model can take half a million fissures to create the finished Model inside the glass, creating a slightly ethereal effect.

Copper Wheel Engraving

Another dying art which takes a long time to learn and requires great vision and patience.  If you have the opportunity to purchase a piece of crystal Copper Wheel Engraved by a master engraver, the investment will stand the test of time for future generations.

 

3D Laser Engraved Glass.

Unique, 3D Laser Engraved (sub-surface) Trophies and Awards.

#Sandblast Engraving

We are proud owners of the finest sandblast engraving equipment, specially designed for glass and crystal.  Attention to detail ensures crisp lines, deeply engraved.  Kindly take a look at our page "How We Do What We Do".

#Hand Engraving

The epitome of ‘Glass Decoration’!  A talented hand engraver will reproduce an image, deeply carved into the glass, using Diamond or Carborundum tipped burrs to cut into the glass and Wood or Rubber wheels to polish areas, resulting in an almost three dimensional image.

Alternative methods are utilised by ‘bouncing’ a diamond tip onto the glass, creating a ‘halftone’ effect.

Text (calligraphy) is added by more experienced engravers.

Please see our page on Hand Engraving.

 

Conclusion

We ‘add value’ to glass/crystal when we spend the considerable amount of time that it takes to Engrave.  It is therefore worthwhile spending a little extra to add this extra value to a worthwhile piece of glass or crystal.  The maxim of ‘you get what you pay for’ is very true on this website!

When we Print glass, we are not adding the same amount of extra value and, in our opinion, a less expensive piece of glass suits this method of decoration.

Further Information In This Category:

 

- All about the History of Glass and where it all started.

 

- What Glass is made from.

 

- The difference in quality resulting in the Methods of Manufacture.

 

- What is "Cut Crystal" and how is it achieved.

 

 - Sandblast engraving Glass & Crystal.

 

- Information about hand engraved glass & crystal.

 

- The things to look for in Glass & Crystal

 

- How to look after your glass & crystal, plus cleaning tips.

If you have any questions, our knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer them.  Simply Contact Us.