Glass etching is a beautiful and elegant method of creating a graphic design on the surface of an otherwise smooth piece of glass. Just as important, it is permanent and will never come off. Etched and carved glass has become extremely popular these days, and you see it everywhere in upscale restaurants, hotels, banks, theaters and homes.
The current booming interest in etched glass only started about 20 years ago, first with architectural applications (for example, etched doors and windows), but has now spread into etched glass awards, corporate and personal gifts, elements for interior design and decoration (table tops, room dividers, cabinet doors, etc.), signs and much more.
All of the possible visual effects you can achieve by abrasive blasting on glass can be broken down into 3 major techniques: surface etching, carving and shading.
So named because you are only etching the surface of the glass. In addition, this type of etching is all done in one stage of blasting, which means that the designs produced are all 2 element designs. That is, all the designs are positive and negative, or black and white.
The etched portions of the design almost always look white, and the clear, unetched portions of the design look black or dark. All etched elements have to be separated by spaces of unetched glass, or the etched elements blend together as a single silhouette, with no detail inside the border.
Called carving because you actually blast, or carve, deep into the glass, giving a three dimensional etching. Single stage carving is simply blasting a surface etching design deeply into the glass, separating elements with clear spaces, as in surface etching.