Pssst. Ask and I’ll tell you how I did it.
O.K. I got your questions. Here’s the backstory: Each year this country club brings me a 3 liter Champagne bottle. They are just one of several who need this kind of work and country clubs are just one area of many businesses and organizations that would LOVE to have such for gifts and presentations. Fact it, most have no idea it’s even possible.
The customer provides their logo in line art format. No color. No dot pattern. No grayscale. Solid black image on solid white background. I take their image and get it into a page layout program on my iMac 27. I then select the font they want, or the one matching their previous bottles, etc., and make a composite layout of the logo and type.
From that I create a pdf and email it to my sandblasting firm across town that does the heavy lifting. When the art is in the hands/computer of the blaster, I load up the item(s) to be etched and drive them over to his place.
This kind of precise work cannot be done with the drill. It is a multi-step process involving shooting the art and exposing it to light-sensitive film that becomes a stencil for the image to appear on the bottle. When that stencil is applied, and the rest of the bottle is masked to protect it from the high-pressure blasting process, the bottle goes into a large, enclosed cabinet. The operator stands in front of the cabinet, peering inside through a glass window.
The operator then puts his/her hands inside heavy rubber gloves inside the cabinet, through the openings of the gloves below the window. The image is then sprayed with an etching material; a hose and nozzle, inside the cabinet, are used to spray the etching material under high pressure. When the etching is finished, the bottle is removed and the residue of the etching medium is blown away with compressed air.
While the clean etched image is exposed, stencil still in place, the bottle is put into a spray booth and gold paint from an aerosol can is sprayed all over the image and stencil. That is left to dry a few minutes, then the stencil, tape, and masking paper are torn away from the bottle. That’s it.
It’s the same way cemetery headstones are etched on a far larger scale. In that case, it’s usually granite and the etching medium is extremely abrasive under the high pressure spraying of much larger, thicker, more durable stencils.
So, when you have a request to put a logo, special type, or any line art too complicated or time-consuming to do with a drill, find a sandblasting firm that can do the work for you. I earn nice fees for being a ‘delivery boy,’ taking my customer’s work to a blasting firm and picking it up when done. My customers have no idea that I didn’t do it in the back room of my Studio where they see lots of samples of the work when they bring theirs to be done.
Sometimes my ‘delivery boy’ jobs are most profitable of all the work I do.