View Full Version : Color filling glass

Liesl Dexheimer
12-20-2010, 9:09 AM
I have a potential job that requires color filling glass. Has anyone had any luck with glass filling? These are speedometers and instrument gauges for 1960's cars. There would be 40 of them and they are approx 3-5/8" in diameter (customer has the glass). Any ideas on what to charge? I was thinking about $8.00 each but am concerned if that will cover my labor (I would have to mask all of them, engrave & then paint). Also, what kind of paint would you recommend for color filliing? Customer would like it to be white. Would Rub N Buff work or should I use something else?

Ross Moshinsky
12-20-2010, 9:50 AM
You should probably charge double. Glass is not a "cheap" material to engrave. On top of that, color filling adds time to the engraving process and post engraving. I'd say you have to charge $15 ea to stand a chance of making money on the deal. I also think you'll struggle to color fill laser engraved glass. Laser engraved glass is hard to get a decent deep etch. The chance of fracturing really increases if you go deep. You might have to make 4-5 passes at lower power to achieve success. Sandblasting really is what you want to do.

If I had to make a real suggestion, I'd probably suggest vinyl. There are several vinyls that give the appearance of frosted glass. They offer different tints to give a red or blue or green.

Larry Bratton
12-20-2010, 11:38 AM
Too bad they couldn't be acrylic. Does the glass make them more authentic or something?

Dan Hintz
12-20-2010, 12:19 PM
Glass doesn't really etch deep. Yes, you can etch several times, but you're not really going deeper, per se, you're just refracturing over and over again (though you will get a little bit of depth from shards fracturing off and flying out).

David Fairfield
12-20-2010, 12:24 PM
You don't really engrave the glass with the laser alone, its more of a microscopic shatter effect. In any case, not much material is removed, so there's not really a recess for a pigment to fill. You can engrave through a mask, then acid or sandblast etch.

But I'm wondering how authentic these dials would be, engraved color filled glass just doesn't sound like an original factory process to me. So maybe you can make a case for acrylic, which would be simple.


Liesl Dexheimer
12-20-2010, 1:21 PM
Thank you for the suggestions & responses. I actually had a feeling that glass filling prob wouldn't work out well. I've tried it on glass xmas ornaments, not much fun to do & doesn't come out very well. I was thinking of acrylic as well. I might suggest that to my customer. Maybe he needs screenprinting or sublimation or sandblasting??...

Bill Cunningham
12-23-2010, 8:28 PM
Rub n Buff works fine on glass, and I think they have white... I have also wiped in white acrylic paint, and white enamel paint.. If your using paint, don't try to fill it, just rub some on with your finger, or a soft cloth.. Let it set for a few seconds, then wipe it off.. The rough surface of the etch will grip the paint as you wipe the excess off.. A little practice will get it looking good..

leslie blackburn
12-31-2010, 11:48 PM
Rub n' Buff is the only thing I've ever found that has worked well.

Hilton Lister
01-01-2011, 1:05 AM
Rub "n" Buff works well for me too

Vicki Rivrud
01-03-2011, 1:48 PM
I am very new at using my laser and have scoured the internet for every article, lesson or tutorial so I found this one to be very helpful.


Works like a charm for me. I use rub n buff on small projects like sun catchers but it has limited colors as they have discontinued most of the colors and can be expensive.

Clean glass, mask & spray - be sure to allow to dry between applications. I've used spray paint from Wal-Mart or Home Depot.

Hope this helps,
JR Laser Solutions