Saturday, 30 March 2013

Antiquing Sandblasted Glass

Sometimes a sandblasted area appears too white when finished. One method that can be used to tone down the whiteness is to use low temperature glass stainers' enamel.

The low temperature enamels cure at temperatures between 530C and 580C depending on the type and manufacturer. At this temperature the glass is unlikely to change its shape. The jewellers and ceramics enamels fire at higher temperatures and are not suitable.

Rub the dry powder into the sandblasted area with a cloth or your fingers. The advantage of using the powder dry is that it will not stick to the smooth areas, although you may need to brush it out of any depressions in fused glass.

Fire the glass to the minimum temperature for the enamel, but for S96 or Bullseye try to stay below 540C. This temperature will fix the paint to the glass, but not change the shape of the sandblasting. Float glass will not change if you go to 580C. If you go to higher temperatures, you will go toward a satin effect and finally a smooth surface.
This technique has the advantage of being able to introduce a subtle colour tone to the sandblasted area. This enables you to match older glass that may have a slight colour cast from the glass or materials it has become encrusted with, such as nicotine.

This method requires testing to get the right levels of colour, and the temperature to balance the fixing of the enamel without changing the sandblasted surface beyond your choice. So you need to prepare several samples noting the amounts of enamel and temperatures used.

This has been successful for me when replacing broken sandblasted door panels that need to match the side lights. It removes the excessive whiteness of the new panel and can blend to match the colour of the originals.