How To Engrave Glass Using A Laser

How To Engrave Glass Using A Laser

Laser glass engraving is a technique that delivers beautiful, quality results for a wide variety of projects. Purely decorative pieces can add a luxurious touch to any setting or make a lovely, personalised gift to be treasured. 

Laser glass engraving can also be used to create portraits of loved ones as a lasting memory. Glass cutting can also be used in more practical ways, to advertise your business, as a name plate, for a prize or trophy, or for your house name or number. 

What Is Laser Glass Engraving? 

Glass engraving is the creation of an image, pattern, picture, logo or piece of text by cutting into the glass. 

Laser glass engraving is when the required parts of the glass are removed by burning with a laser. This happens at such a high temperature that the selected portions of glass are vaporised. 

What Is The Difference Between Engraving & Etching?

Both these methods remove portions of the material. However, engraving is when the glass, or other material, is removed to a depth of usually around 0.02 and 0.125mm. Etching, although often coming under the umbrella of engraving, is usually much shallower with a depth of around 0.0001mm. 

What Glass Can Be Laser Engraved?

Laser engraving involves exposing the glass to very high temperatures. For this reason, hand blown glass with its naturally occurring inconsistencies make it more sensitive to heat stress. 

Glass with a high lead content, such as crystal glass, is also more prone to breakages under the stress of such high temperatures. 

The best glass, or easiest and most durable, under the high temperatures involved in laser engraving are cheaper types of glass such as soda-ash glass. 

Benefits Of Laser Glass Engraving  

Engraving glass with a laser gives an amazing level of detail. Portraits and photographs can be engraved onto glass with a level of precision that is just not possible with other engraving methods. 

Laser engraving is also very fast which makes it ideal for when a number of items need to be engraved. 

5 Techniques For Glass Engraving 

Techniques for glass engraving, other than using a laser, include the following. 

Copper Wheel

By using a lathe fitted with a variety of sized copper wheels and an abrasive stone such as carborundum, a skilled engraver can create pieces with intricate detail. In times past, the wheel or lathe would be turned with a pedal, like a potter’s wheel, though in modern times they are more commonly turned with a motor. 


This method is commonly used for mass producing engraved glass. A stencil is used for the image or text and the rest of the glass is then masked often with vinyl or rubber before being exposed to high pressure grit or sand which literally blasts away the required layers.  

Handheld Drill Technique

Most commonly used by hobbyists and artisans, this method of glass engraving uses a rotary tool with a sharp point attached called a burr. A normal hand held drill will suffice with a burr attached, which are often tipped with carbide or diamond. This method works well for freehand designs and pictures. 


Using a diamond or carbide point the image is formed on the glass from tiny dots created by fast, repetitive tapping motions.

At Furnells, we use the best engraving technique for the job at hand. To speak to one of our expert team members about which engraving method best suits your needs and your project, get in touch with us today.

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