Have you been seeing a lot of calligraphers put up stunning pictures of personalized hand engraved products and are super intrigued to try your hand at it? Do you want to know the in’s and out’s of calligraphy engraving? Let me start by telling you, it’s one of the most fun applications of calligraphy. As calligraphers, we love working on different surfaces such as paper, wood, glass, acrylic, leather, and I’ve also worked on leaves haha! And before I got an engraver I would use markers for glass but that would not make my work absolutely permanent. Engraving made my work not only much neater, more precise, and elegant but it etches into the glass making it permanent. The most common products we’ve engraved on are perfume bottles, wine glasses, champagne flutes, alcohol bottles, whiskey tumblers and decanters, photo frames, and of course our best selling Fiona
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES USED Engraver: A hand engraver is like a dentist drill, there’s a motor and handpiece. And we used something known as the burr, which is basically the tip that we actually use to engrave into the glass. And they come in different sizes so based on how intricate your work is - you can choose the size. Rub & Buff: This is the color we fill our engraved surface with and is available in various colors. Most commonly used are gold and silver. (Read on for a step by step tutorial) 1.Start with a Sketch: You want to make a sketch of your content for the layout and alignment on the glass surface. This also serves as a draft to show your client. For this, I use a marker that can be easily wiped and I place a washi tape to maintain a straight line.
2. Let’s engrave: Once the sketch is ready, we can start engraving. Here are two things you wanna keep in mind before starting
You want to keep your glass on a cushioned surface, a lot of engravers use a sandbag, a towel works just fine for me - this is done so that even if you apply pressure there’s no chance of the glass cracking against your table.
Another thing you want to do is ensure that you’re wearing protective eye gear because tiny shards of glass may fly around and you definitely don’t want that going in your eyes. When you begin engraving you want to maintain a very steady hand because once you switch on your motor, it’s shaky. And of course, you get used to it with practice. Go very slow while you’re engraving over your already created sketch and make sure you’re applying just the right amount of pressure. We now have monoline lettering.
3. Faux Calligraphy: It’s time to come back in to add thickness to our downstrokes. We use faux calligraphy to do the same because the engraving burr doesn’t have the concept of a thin up and thick down like that of a nib/brush. So I come back again with my engraver, create the second line and fill it up to show that contrast between thin and thick.
4. Rub & Buff: You can either leave the engraving just like that or fill it up with rub and buff. All you have to do is take out a little from the tube using a brush and clean it off with a tissue immediately. The color seeps into the etched part and we erase the excess. For this glass jar, I'll be using a silver shade of rub and buff.