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PenDance Calligraphy & Engraving

Hand Engraving vs. Sandcarving

by Maureen Vickery
2012 All Rights Reserved.



We are frequently asked the difference between freehand engraving and sandcarving (also called sandblasting) for engraving glass and metal gift items. Below is a description of each method and their applications.


Freehand engraving on a glass base

Freehand engraving on
small glass stones

Hand Engraving

Freehand engraving involves using a high-speed rotary tool to carve glass or metal surfaces. It can also be used to engrave other surfaces such as wood or ostrich eggshells.

PenDance offers hand engraving when:

  • the surface is glass, crystal, pewter, or silver-plated

  • the message to be engraved is short (up to 10 words or so)

  • the client has single items that they want engraved with script lettering or simple linework drawings

  • the client wants the engraving on a part of the item that can't be engraved by traditional machine engraving, such as the base of toasting glasses

  • engraving fragrances, candles, and compacts during engraving events at department stores.



Wine bottle sandcarved with a
floral font below the label


Sandcarving (also called sandblasting) is a method of decorating or personalizing glass, crystal, marble, and stone. It is achieved by propelling abrasive onto the surface under compressed air, using a stencil (resist) to create the design.  Wherever the abrasive hits the surface through the stencil, the surfaced is carved or etched.

PenDance offers sandcarving when:

  • the surface is glass or crystal

  • when a client requests logos or intricate artwork to be engraved

  • when a client requests a large amount of text to be engraved (which would be more expensive to do with hand engraving)

  • when there are a large number of items to be engraved, such as wine bottles or decanters, all with the same design or text

  • when a client requests a particular font style.

Please see our other articles and resources.

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VISA Mastercard DiscoverCard PayPal     © 2012 Maureen Vickery. All rights reserved. This page last updated 02/21/2012.

PenDance Calligraphy & Engraving retains all rights to the content of this web site, as well as all calligraphy and engraving artwork we produce on behalf of our clients. Our artwork and designs may only be used for each specific job we created them for. The client, stationer, and printer agree that our artwork will not be copied, re-engineered, re-purposed, edited to create derivative works, resold, reprinted, given away, or re-used in any way that would violate our copyright.


PenDance Calligraphy & Engraving, L.L.C.

14027 Memorial Drive #198 (this is our UPS store address, NOT our home studio address)

Houston, TX  77079

(281) 558-7856  toll free (866) 476-6788