Etching Material

Etching Cream

Etching cream is an acidic liquid used to permanently highlight cuts made into a crystal surface. This type of cream is typically made from hydrofluoric or sulfuric acid. Etching crystal is a craft that combines powerful chemicals with a fairly simply process to modify the appearance of crystal windows, doors and dishes.

To use etching cream, place the stencil or design against the crystal surface. Secure the cream into place using tape. Tracing the design into the crystal using your knife. Remove the stencil and clean the crystal thoroughly.

The etching cream fills the space in the crystal created by the cuts, so that the lines are visible. When selecting a project to use etching crystal, think about the design, complexity, crystal structural strength, and time required. This type of craft is very manual, providing creative opportunities for skilled artisans.

Buy Etching Cream Online

Armour Glass Etching Cream is a fast acting specially formulated crystal etching compound that lets you create permanently etched designs on windows, mirrors and household crystal. Create your own custom crystal etching stencil or use a pre made stencil like Rub N Etch, Over N Over or Peel N Etch. This unique crystal etching system allows anyone to personalize and decorate crystal or mirrors in minutes with no previous experience. Try it, you will love it. Not intended for use by children. Will NOT etch Pyrex or plastices. NOT recommended for etching large solid areas of crystal.

Here are a list of online etching cream resellers, and we will keep it updated:
1. Starting from $8.50 at
2. Starting from $8.50 at
3. Starting from $9.34 at
4. Starting from $5.85 at

How to Apply Etching Cream

When applying glass/crystal etching cream, make sure to cover table underneath. Apply etching cream to a glass/crystal etching project with the tips in this free video on how to etch glass/crystal from a crafts expert.

Glass Etching: Applying Etching Cream — powered by
Etching Material

Etch Bath

When you are looking for a method to create an overall etched surface for a favorite glass or bottle…or even searching for a way to add depth and dimension to your glass beads, Etch Bath is the only solution. Liquid solution creates a beautiful matte finish to any clear or colored glass (except Pyrex). Simple to use, application time is only 15 minutes!

When you dip your project into Etch Bath, this quick acting chemcial goes to work producing asoft, overall etched surface. You can eaisly decorate any finished etched project using acrlyic and oil paints, readily available decals, rubber stamps with permanent inks and embossing powders.

Buy Etch Bath Online

Give an overall etched matte finish to household jars, bottles and canisters, just follow the quick and easy directions on the back of the etch bath container. Even glass beads can be given the permanent, soft, subtle, look and feel of frosted glass. Finished product can then be embellished with paint, stickers, stencils, rubber stamps and more. Etch Bath can be poured back into it’s origianl container for future use.

Here are a list of online etch bath resellers, and we will keep it updated:
1. Starting from $25.99 at
2. Starting from $26.95 at
3. Starting from $18.81 at
4. Starting from $48.95 at
5. Starting from $25.99 at

Etch Bath Intructions (Brief)

1. Place glass object in empty plastic container. Fill container with water just to cover or to desired etching line.
2. Remove glass object, mark container with felt tip pen, empty water, dry both container and glass object.
3. Pour Etchin Bath Glass Dipping Solution to level of pen mark, let glass object soak 5 to 10 minutes.

Etch Bath Intructions (Detailed)

  1. Clean and dry the glass or mirror thoroughly.
  2. To prepare the beveled ornament for dipping, attach a length of string cut to the size needed to allow you to dip the glass ornament into the Etch Bath solution.
  3. Hang your or-nament inside the dipping container, fill the dipping container with enough water to cover the ornament.
  4. Remove the or-nament and use a crayon or marker to mark the water level on the dip-ping container.
  5. Empty water from container. Thoroughly dry both container & glass ornament.
  6. Put on rubber gloves, keeping them on through remainder of the etching process.
  7. Open the jar of Etch Bath Glass Dipping Solution in-cluded in your kit, stir thoroughly with a wood or plastic stirring stick. Be careful not to splash solution outside of jar.
  8. Slowly pour Etch Bath Glass Dipping Solution to level of pen mark. Re-cap Etch Bath jar.
  9. Return ornament to container and let glass object soak 5 to 10 minutes or more, depending on the type and hardness of the glass.
  10. 10. Remove glass ornament from container and rinse well under running water, beING careful not to disturb stencils. Dry thoroughly and examine etched surface. If etching is in-complete, return glass to container and let it soak a few more minutes before rinsing.
  11. Return Etch Bath Glass Dipping Solution to original jar for re-use. Consult the etch bath bottle for safety precautions.
  12. Allow clean glass to sit overnight, then re-examine. If dried residue remains,wash thoroughly using a brush.
Types of Crystal

How is Crystal Made

The Manufacturing Process of Crystal


  1. Mix crystal and red-lead oxide

    The crystal “cocktail” is mixed and made into molten crystal in a furnace heated to 2,192 F (1,200 C). The red-lead oxide is introduced into the furnace on a rapidly moving air current in a difficult procedure that can create different grades of purity. The furnace conditions must also be carefully controlled so the lead fully oxidizes and doesn’t leave metallic lead, which not only discolors the glass but also attacks the fireclay of the furnace. The lead adds density to the glass so it is heavier; this weight advantage over ordinary glass also changes the crystal’s light diffraction properties and the sound or ring of the crystal when it is struck.

  2. Create the basic shape

    Lead crystal is blown glass, but, because of its thickness, it requires a team of four to seven artists who are as well coordinated as any team of athletes. Wood blocks and molds are used to create the basic shape of the object called a crystal chamber. As soon as the molten glass touches the mold, it begins to cool instantly so glass blowing is a process of seconds. The chamber is also known as hollowware because it has an opening that is the functional part of the beverage glass, vase, or decanter.

  3. Blow Glass

    The team of glass blowers uses physical strength, breath control, and dexterity to create the chamber with a certain thickness. This skill is only developed by experience. The thickness must be suitable to the object itself but also to the depth of the facets that will be cut in the glass. Near the furnace, other parts are added to the chamber. For example, a piece of molten glass is attached to the side of a decanter to form a handle and shaped to the perfect curve in one quick motion. Again, the glass will begin to harden almost immediately in the open air.

  4. Aneal

    To slow that hardening process, the blown crystal piece is transferred to an annealing oven. If the crystal cools too quickly, stresses will be induced in the crystal as varying thicknesses cool differently and the crystal will contract too rapidly. The annealing process takes from 2-16 hours depending on the size and configuration of the piece.

  5. Cut

    The cooled crystal is now a “blank canvas” for the glass cutter. To prepare for cutting, the pattern is drawn on the vessel, usually with red-lead and turpentine. The design is then roughed out with a power-driven wheel equipped with different edges depending on the type of cut required. These cut surfaces are coarse and not as long or as deep as the finished cuts. The cutters are true artists who use sight, feel, physical strength, and their extraordinary memory for patterns, details, and cuts. The types of cuts are wedge and flat cuts. Wedge cuts are made with diamond-tipped wheels and produce deep facets. Flat cuts are made with the same equipment but are not as angled; they provide contrast with the deeper wedge cuts.

  6. Smooth

    In the smoothing process, a sandstone wheel is used to dress the rough cuts; this part of the process requires the greatest skill because it establishes the finished design.

  7. Polish

    Finally, the finished vessel is polished by dipping it into a mixture of sulphuric and hydrofluoric acids. The acid bath attacks the entire surface of the object and removes a very thin layer while leaving a lustrous and uniform finish.

  8. Etch & Engrave

    The process of intaglio, which uses tiny copper wheels that revolve slowly to engrave portraits or other illustrations and information into the object, is also used to engrave some pieces. Most engraved pieces, like large sports trophies, are one-of-a-kind items that are completed on commission. They may require many hours of etching. The finished piece is carefully inspected and packaged in materials designed to display and protect the object.


Crystal Quality Control

Quality is a continuous process at the lead-crystal factory. The artists themselves provide the first level of quality control through their experience and unique skills. No two pieces are identical despite adherence to designs, heritage, and standardization of patterns and cuts.

Stringent inspections are performed at each step of the process. This helps avoid wastage in that in imperfectly cooled piece is never sent to the cutter; inspections also ensure conformity with the acceptable range of variations that are inevitable in handwork and among individual cutters and other artists.

Byproducts   Waste

There are no byproducts from production of lead crystal. Waste is avoided in raw materials and by careful control of processes like annealing. Glass factories have the advantage that their products can be melted again in the furnace, so many boast that they produce no seconds because of this luxury of being able to fully recycle an imperfect product.

Types of Crystal

Crystal versus Glass

What Makes Glass?

Glass is made using three different minerals:

  1. Sand (silica)
    Intense heat changes sand into a fragile form of glass.
  2. Soda ash (sodium carbonate)
    This is a powdery white material that is added to the mixture to lower the melting temperature of the sand.
  3. Limestone (calcium carbonate)
    This is added to make the glass stronger.

The raw materials are melted together in a furnace at a temperature of 1600 C. This is the same temperature as a jet engine!

What Makes Crystal?

The inclusion of at least 24% lead oxide in the composition is required by law for crystal to be called full lead crystal. The lead lends brilliance and weight to the product. Crystal without lead is still crystal, i.e. clear glass, however, it is more commonly perceived as “glass”. The lead also make the crystal softer and more conducive to cutting. This is why the lead crystal is cut and for the most part, the unleaded crystal is not cut.

Types of Crystal

Jade Crystal

Types of Crystal

Optical Crystal

Optical Crystal is 100% Lead Free and extremely hard. It is this hardness that provides the basis for the brilliant cuts and bevels, as well as the ultra high polished surfaces. Each piece of Optic Crystal is hand polished and beveled. Optical /Optic Crystal, as clear and as flawless as used in binoculars and camera lenses, represents the ultimate expression of excellence. Optical Crystal is manufactured in large sheets up to 3″ thick, and while still molten, is subjected to tremendous pressure to ensure no bubbles, flow lines or other distortions. What an ideal way to recognize achievement and express appreciation.

Optical Crystal is a completely Lead Free material. Make a patch against Lead Crystal, optical crystal is more transparent and hard. Also it can be cut with special shapes. With this lead-free optical crystal (optic crystal) be handmade by high-quality handicrafts, brilliant crystal awards, trophies, crystal crafts, crystal gifts, paperweight, crystal jewelry, crystal beads, crystal balls, recognition corporate awards and crystal parts are made perfectly.

Optical Crystal Manufacturer


  1. Ravenscroft CrystalThe public now understands that lead-free crystal is the future of the glass industry. Ravenscroft is the world’s leading manufacturer of hand-made, pure, clean, lead-free crystal for fine wine and spirits. Their 129-year-old European factory has been producing lead-free crystal for the most exclusive brands of the world. Most likely, you have enjoyed the delicate pleasure of their products under another brand name.”Pure, Clean Crystal” Over the past four decades, wine and spirits glass design has experienced a renaissance. Recently, scientists discovered the dangers of lead crystal, most significantly when storing wine and spirits for an extended period in decanters, allowing lead to leach into the contents. Originally, lead oxide was added to glassware as a manufacturing aid. Now, technology has progressed to the point where the addition of lead delivers little or no value to the wine enthusiasts’ experience. Despite increasingly stronger industry warnings, several of the world’s top stemware manufacturers continue to use lead in production.Ravenscroft Crystal’s time has come.
  2. Crystal CentralCrystal Central is an online crystal store specialized in optical crystal award & gift. It offers customers with a better & informed award buying experience. You can easily relate the generic crystal award & gift pieces to your specific recognition need with their extensive online award & gift samples. The recognition award ideas are categorized by recognition occasions for easy browsing.
Types of Crystal

Lead Crystal


The manufacturing of glass is an art and process established over 2000 years ago and uniquely has changed very little apart from the addition of lead to create today’s lead crystal. Lead crystal usually comprises of 48% silica sand, 24% potash and 28% red lead. The mix creates an optimum balance of clarity, weight and hardness. With its complicate manufacturing process and exceptionally high perceived value, the lead crystal has been sought after and treasured for generations, and remains a status symbol even today.

The lead crystal formula is mixed and turning into molten crystal in a furnace heated over 2000F. Red lead is added into the furnace to create the purity and density.

Lead crystal is blown glass but because of its weight and thickness it requires a coordinated team of blowers. They use their skill and experience to create the glass body to the correct thickness. This is necessary to enable the glass designs to be deep cut. At this time other parts such as handles can be added.

The pieces are then placed in an annealing oven – under controlled conditions the oven slowly and evenly heats the glass to an annealing temperature. After a brief soaking period to ensure even heat distribution throughout the glassware, the oven temperature is slowly returned to room temperature.

The lead crystal glass is now ready to be cut. A pattern is drawn on the items and then mapped out with a power wheel. The finished design is then completed using diamond tip wheels using a combination of flat and wedge cuts to provide contrast, followed by the smoothing process on a sandstone wheel.

To finish the items it is dipped into a combination of sulphuric and hydrofluoric acid which removes a thin layer of glass providing a uniform and luster finish.

History of Lead Crystal:

Like many cultural advances the history of glass and crystal began with the Roman occupation of Britain and eventually reached a high point in the stained glass windows of the middle ages. In the 1500s new skills were added when highly skilled glassblowers moved to London from Venice and attracted royal patronage from Queen Elizabeth.

In the mid 1700s George Ravenscroft started his own glass business in London and patented the formula for producing lead crystal. He found that adding lead to glass during the melting process improved the quality. During this period the art of creating patterns by cutting became established and lead crystal was a perfect medium for the art. Many businesses perfected the process and lead crystal and glass became popular creating an established industry. However in the time honored process of all governments they recognized an opportunity for raising taxes and stunted growth and created many closures in the lead crystal sector.

English manufacturers moves their factories to Ireland to avoid taxation and during the period Ireland became the center of lead crystal manufacture, especially in Waterford, where the famous Waterford glass factory was developed in the 18th century. Unfortunately the Irish tax authorities saw an opportunity to raise taxes and forced many of the companies out of business. Waterfords for example did not start trading again until after World War 2. In the meantime during the 19th century other companies in France, Sweden, Italy (Venice), and Sweden were establishing their reputations and creating famous brands such as Orrefors, Baccarat and Swarovski.

Most fine crystal contains lead oxide. 24% is the optimum percentage for color, weight and hardness, while still ensuring clarity, sparkle and brilliance. 24% Lead Crystal, with its exceptionally high perceived value, has been sought after and treasured for generations, and remains a status symbol even today.

Sample Lead Crystal:

lead crystal   lead crystal   lead crystal

Etching Process

Other Crystal Etching Techniques


In decorative glass, award and recognition industries, crystal sandblasting is frequently referred to as “deep-etch engraving“. It is a wonderfully popular technique, with few substitutes. While wheel-engraving is possible, it is incredibly time consuming and skill demanding; acid-etching is extremely dangerous & noxious; and laser-etching has a range of flaws which make it a questionable choice.

Nevertheless, the traditional etching methods remain widely used on specialty glass decorations. There are a number of different methods that can be used for tradition crystal etching.

Wheel Engraving:

Wheel engraving processWheel engraving process
Common referred to as “Hand Carving“, Wheel Engraving is a highly skilled and labor-intensive process. The engraving technique is often described as the most difficult form of engraving to master. As a result, its application on crystal glass was confined to a comparatively small scale and higher-end of the market.

Wheel Engraving use engraving wheels made from carboniferous sandstone or copper that varied in diameter from 5 to 90cm. Each wheel creates a particular effect. Generally, the larger wheel was used for straight lines and gentle curves and the smaller wheel for tighter curves. The engraver sits in front of a bench-mounted lathe turned by an electric motor and holds the glass on his/her fingertips. The surprising and most obvious thing to the onlooker is that the glass is moved and not the tool. What makes it more complicated is that the glass is held behind the wheel not on top. The unusual position gives great control although it seems awkward at first. It requires practice. The technique is often described as the most difficult form of engraving to master.

Detail of brilliant cuts made with a mitre wheel and a round wheelDetail of stipple embossed panel with white acid frosting

Etching Process

Laser Etched Crystal

What is Laser Etching ?

Laser etching is the process of using a laser beam to permanently cut an image or pattern into a hard material, such as glass, crystal, wood or metal. For large projects, the size, depth and location of the pattern is typically programmed into a computer that controls the laser. The strength of the laser is based on the material used and the level of heat required.

This type of etching is typically found in a manufacturing setting. There are two types of lasers, hand-held and machine-operated. The hand-held units are used by a production technician to correct minor errors or quality issues with the product at the end of the work flow. Artisans or engravers who need to create a very precise work product can also use laser etching as a tool.

The machine-operated unit is programmed to mass-produce a specific pattern, by etching it into the final material. Common uses of laser etching include circuit boards, engraving metal or carving hard plastic. Lasers are rarely used for wood, as they tend to leave burn marks on the surface of the wood.

3D Laser Crystal Etching Process


Buy software needed for 3D laser etching

  1. Point-cloud converting software
    used for converting BMP, ASC, DXF etc image file format to another image file format which consist of abundant small points.
  2. Engraving control software
    used for controlling the laser beam output interval and the directory of laser beam or X/Y/Z axis. LF-200 only need Z axis works, and the software control the worktable, laser and scanning mirror all.

Be familiar with 3D laser etching workflow:

  1. 3D Camera Head Image > 3D Camera > Laser3D Software Generate Point Cloud > Machine Machining > 3D Laser Crystal Final Product
  2. Digital Camera Photo > Adobe Photoshop Software Design > Laser3D Software Generate Point Cloud > Machine Machining > 3D Laser Crystal Final Product

Design portrait with point-cloudy image:

All designs for 3D laser crystal etching are made entirely of points because the process offers no way to draw continuous lines or surfaces. However, with small enough points it’s possible to arrange them into convincing curves, surfaces and volumes. Point-cloud image consists of abundant small points which are created by the special point-cloud converting software from a common two dimension or three dimension image. These points shall be engraved by laser machine according to the array order one by one. Each point will be burnt inside the transparent material, all the burnt points form the engraved image inside the crystal cube.

Laser etch crystal to draw points:

The points are tiny (.1mm) fractures created by a focused laser beam from 3d laser engraving machine. The conical beam, with a focal length of about 3″, shines into the crystal (glass) without damaging it except at the focal point. At that one point, concentrated energy heats the crystal (glass) to the cracking point, causing a microfracture.
To draw more points, the laser is pulsed on and off. To make the beam move between points, it’s reflected from a mirror that is repositioned between pulses. The mirror is moved by computer-controlled motors, so many points can be drawn with great speed and accuracy. A typical design might use several hundred thousand points, or half a million isn’t unusual in a large block, each placed with .001″ accuracy.

How to select a laser etching machine ?

When selecting a laser etching machine, it is important to consider three things:

1. The laser etching machine will have to generate significant heat and draw a large amount of power to operate the laser. The risk of components burning out or failing is higher with this type of machine. A good warranty will protect you from repair costs for a specific period of time and allow you to get the value of the unit before needing to invest in repairs.

2. The price of a laser etching machine ranges from $7,800 to $25,000 US Dollars (USD). Take the time to make a list of the features that you require and those that are nice to have but not necessary. Make your selection based on the useful life of the unit. If your business requires a significant amount of etching, the investment in a quality etching machine is worth it. If not, look for a unit that simply meets your current needs.

3. The daily operation of the unit is a very important consideration. Look for a model that is easy to use, with a simple interface, built-in help function and is programmable. Allow the staff who will be using the machine to assist in the product review process. This will reduce the complaints about the machine after it is purchased and will result in a selection that meets the practical needs.

Etching Process

Crystal Sandblasting Etching Process


Crystal Sandblasting is a general term used to describe the act of propelling very fine bits of material at high-velocity to etch the surface of crystal glass.

Sand used to be the most commonly used material, but since silicosis (a lung disease) is caused by extended inhalation of the dust created by sand, other materials are now used in its place. Any small, relatively uniform particles will work, such as steel grit, copper slag, walnut shells, powdered abrasives. Due to the dangers of inhaling dust during the process, sandblasting needs to be carefully controlled, using an alternate air supply, protective wear, and proper ventilation.

In decorative glass, award and recognition industries, crystal sandblasting is frequently referred to as “deep-etch engraving“. It is a wonderfully popular technique, with few substitutes. While hand-carving is possible, it is incredibly time consuming and skill demanding; acid-etching is extremely dangerous & noxious; and laser-etching has a range of flaws which make it a questionable choice.

To etch the crystal glass, the abrasive is blasted onto the crystal surface lightly to turn the glass semi-opaque. This ‘whiting’ or ‘snowing’ of the glass can be used to create various effects on words, images and/or logos. By applying different etching techniques like adjusting the speed/time of the sandblasting, or the angle from which the abrasive being launched, or using a variety of sand coarseness, the glass artists can create limitless designs. The finished crystal glass has a richer texture and differing shades, allowing for some true works of art.


Crystal Awards; Crystal Gifts, monuments, etc.


Stencil exposureDevelop imageTransfer stencilSandblast

  • Artwork Design

    1. A good design always comes first. Have a procedure in mind before attempting the task.
    2. Measure the exact size of the drawing surface and draw the dimension using a design program such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. The benefit of creating a vector file layout is that you may apply the artwork later to a different size crystal plaque without the need to re-generate the artwork.
    3. Prepare the artwork. The design layout should contain a detailed description of all patterns, texts and/or logos.
  • Prepare the Stencil

    1. Create the photo resist stencil. Place your printed artwork against the photo resist film to expose the artwork. A vacuum should be used to ensure solid contact b/w the artwork and the film during the exposure.
    2. Develop the film. To reveal the image, the film needs to be sprayed with water to develop. Once the image is fully development, use a blow dryer or pressurized air to remove the excess water from the film.
    3. Transfer film to the crystal surface. Place the film in the correct position on your crystal for sandblasting.
    4. Cover the object. Cover the area not to be etched carefully and expose only the areas to be etched.
  • Sandblasting Etching

    1. Place the object into the sandblasting unit. Hold your sandblasting guy about 6 inches away from the object perpendicular to the crystal surface. Adjust the distance of your sandblasting guy and spraying time based on the fine details of the image you are spraying.
    2. Once completed, double check to make sure you have the desired result.
    3. Remove the stencil by soaking the crystal object for 15-30 minutes. Remove the stencil to review the final product.


Sandblasting Equipments:

A complete sandblasting unit usually consists of the following parts:

  1. A sandblasting unit
  2. An air compressor and air tank to ensure consistent air pressure
  3. Abrasive media: Aluminum Oxide / Silicon Carbide
  4. Photo resist films
  5. High-pressure water sprayer

Sandblasting unit air compressor Abrasive media Water sprayer
The cost of sandblasting equipment depends greatly on the scope of the projects intended. A small home glass carving setup can be acquired for less than US$800, while a system with a cabinet capable of handling larger pieces of glass and more nuanced sandblasting can cost between US$1000 and US$3000. A professional level artistic sandblasting setup will definitely cost in the thousands. Industry level sandblasting equipment also ranges in cost from the mid-hundreds to the high-thousands, again depending on the scale and scope of the projects to be completed.