What is the difference between etched and engraved glass?

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Etched or engraved glasses can make great gifts, but most people are unsure of what each one entails. While there is a distinct difference between them, both processes provide text or images on glass that manages to stand the test of time.

How do they work?

Laser engraving is a process in which high heat is used to vaporise the glass, leaving a small portion of it cut away, which is why you can feel the text or image after it is done.

Laser etching works differently in that it removes the top layer of the glass rather than cutting it out. It is often said that etching is a chemical process, with engraving being a more physical approach.

Benefits of engraving

Engraving is a quick process, so once you’ve decided what you want, it can be easy to get the design done. It also very affordable, with many types of material able to be engraved, although the most popular is glass.

Benefits of etching

Etching is also a very affordable and speedy process. It can be slightly more precise than engraving, which is why it is often used for smaller items like jewellery.

More benefits

Both processes are very precise and detailed, depending on the item you’re getting engraved. Engraved and etched glass are very robust, so you know you’ve got an item that will stand the test of time. The process of engraving and etching is also cleaner than other processes such as sandblasting, making it a relatively simple, easy techniques to produce.

Which one should you choose?

As discussed, both engraving and etching are great ways to personalise your glass, and they both produce a high-quality result. However, you might want to consider a few things before choosing one or the other, the main one being the size of your glass. Engraving is the perfect choice for larger designs and glasses, while etching is ideal for smaller projects and thinner glasses, as the actual process of etching requires less physical effort than engraving, meaning the laser itself is wielded more gently.

Engraving vs. Etching

Ultimately, both processes are used for the same purpose, albeit with different techniques. Both are popular, and some people might prefer one or the other. Some factors such as type of glass or item size will direct your choice, but the best idea is to first come up with your design, and then you can consider your options.

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