The Making of Translucent Glass

Translucent glass can be found all around the house. Glass doors and windows, lighting glass, drinkware, glass shelves and bathroom accessories are all common examples of glass products which can be translucent.

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The purpose of making some glass products translucent is that the glass will still transmit light while it causes sufficient diffusion to prevent perception of distinct images. In other words you still have the light but you can’t see through it. Bathroom windows and doors are good examples. GlassPaint H2O Pre-Mixed

Translucent glass is also found as the result of some glass decoration techniques. Some glass doors can have beautiful translucent decorations and many glassware is etched to make translucent logo’s or any other form of personalization.

The two most well-known methods for making translucent glass are sandblasting and acid etching. Another method for etching of glassware is glass laser etching and a relatively new method for making etched glassware is the use of a frosting glass paint which gives an etched effect.

What happens during the process of etching is that the smooth glass surface is roughened. This roughened glass surface scatters the light upon entering the glass. When entering clear glass the light finds no obstruction.


With sandblasting the glass surface is bombarded with small particles made out of carborundum (the “sand”). This powder is propelled with high pressure air to the glass in high-speed and during the collision of the particles with the glass surface tiny pieces of glass are blasted away. It is also called “abbrasive sandblasting”. The result is that the smooth surface roughens up and from transparent it becomes translucent.

For sandblasting you need a compressor to create a high-speed air stream and the blasting itself has to be done in a closed area. Either the operator has to ware a closed suite with air supply and do the work in a closed room or the sandblasting is done in a so called glovebox, where the operator stands outside a sealed container and where he/she can do the work by putting the hands in gloves which are so arranged that the “sand” can’t come outside the container.

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