Sandblasting and Painting on Glass – Technical

Sandblasting

I am using a scaled-down (1:5) image of the designs that I produced for making samples and maquettes. I traced the design onto a sheet of sticky-backed plastic and then stuck it onto a sheet of greenhouse glass, ensuring there was no bubbles. Using a sharp scalpel I cut out the traced design and removed the sections that I want to sandblast.

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Painting Colour Swatches on Glass

For this test I have been using Degussa transparent enamels as these were available to hand.

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Although I have been using greenhouse glass, the final piece will be rendered on 6mm toughened float glass. As there will probably be a different result for these different types of window glass I thought it would be necessary to apply paint onto float glass. The reason I use greenhouse glass is that it does not have a “tinned” side, unlike float glass, so it is ideal for painting. The tinned side of a piece of float glass can cause problems when applying paint, so you need to determine which is the tinned side so you can use the other non-tinned side. The best way to determine this is to used a tinned-side detector, which is a UV light that you shine through the pane. If the light is very dim, then that is the tinned side facing you, if the light is more visible and has more of a glow then the non-tinned side is facing you.

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To mix up the enamels I sandblasted a spare sheet of glass to make a mixing palette.

I masked off the offcut of float glass and then I mixed the enamel with some water and gum arabic.

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I blended the wet paint using a badger brush, sweeping gently holding the brush perpendicular to the glass, so that the tips of the hairs are just in contact with the enamel on the glass.

However I was not happy with the result as the masking tape prevented the badger brush from sweeping cleanly. So I removed the masking tape.

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This is my first attempt and the results are much better without the masking tape. However you do need to do this when the paint is still wet. If you continue to “badger” the enamel as it drys, it will scratch into the surface leaving it streaky.

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