Hi friends! If you have been following me along on Instagram, I shared back in August that The Pigeon Letter’s was going to feature me on her blog. She is one of my favorite educators in the creative space! I have learned everything from botanical line drawing to painting with gouache from her and when she asked if I’d be interested, I was THRILLED.
I had the choice of picking my own topic and since I had been receiving a few DM’s about engraving, I figured why not do a tutorial on this. Check out HERE for the full feature on The Pigeon Letters!
Tools & Materials
Old brush for applying Rub-n-Buff
Old brush for dusting off any glass residue
Cloth - This will be to rub off the rub-n-buff from the glass
Pick your surface (I will be using a wine bottle)
We are in the year of COVID so any mask will do! It’s important that you are not inhaling any residue as you engrave.
STEP 1: SKETCH YOUR LETTERING
Before you make any permanent marks, I recommend sketching out your lettering beforehand. This will allow you to see what your lettering looks like and make sure alignment looks good! You will use your White Stabilo Pencil for this. It is erasable so if you are unhappy, you can simply start again!
Since this is a wine bottle, I normally will see where I have the most space to letter. For this one, I had more space at the bottom so I layed out my letters below. This will vary on the size of your piece (wine bottle, wine glass, etc) but sketching it first is always so helpful.
STEP 2: ENGRAVE
Once you’re happy with how your lettering looks, you are ready to engrave! Depending on your engraver, you can start with a slow speed and increase it based on your comfort level. If you are starting with the Lowe’s Rotary Tool suggested above, that one has one speed. If you have a more professional level engraver, you are able to adjust the speed! With me Inkmethis engraver, I go anywhere from 13-16 RPM.
Since you have the sketch all laid out, you can start applying the engraver onto the glass. You would start with engraving the first word, completing the full word then move onto the next. In this case,“Happy Birthday” was written so I did the first outline of both words.
It’s important to go slowly if it is your first time engraving and adjusting to each surface. NOT ALL SURFACES ARE SMOOTH!
STEP 3: FAUX CALLIGRAPHY
To create those thick and thin lines, you’ll have to use the faux calligraphy technique. Apply more “strokes” on the downward lines of each letter. Make sure you go downward with your engraver for the down strokes to get a more clean cut into the glass. Once you do that you’ll start to notice it becomes more like calligraphy.
STEP 4: CLEAN UP & EXAMINE
This is a step based off how much glass and/or residue your engraver creates on your glass. Feel free to brush off any residue you see after each word that is engraved. In this step, you’ll use your brush to dust off any pieces - these will look like particles and unnoticeable but they are there!
Once you do that, examine your work and see where you need to do any touch-ups. If everything looks good, you are ready to apply some color!
STEP 5: APPLYING RUB-N-BUFF
Pick your color and get your supplies ready! You’ll need your brush (non-glass one) & cloth for this one.
Place small amount of rub-n-buff on lettering (a little goes a long way!)
Get your brush ready and start applying the color onto the first word. You will want to do this part quickly as rub-n-buff does dry fast. Once you have the color on your letter, grab your cloth and start wiping it off. The rub-n-buff will stay onto the letters.
Repeat same steps for the next word
TIP* If you have any rub-n-buff that won’t come off, re-apply more of the same color and wipe off again! This usually allows it to be removed.
STEP 6: Admire your work!
You are all done! You are ready to continue practicing on other surfaces and sharing your work! If you want to go over anything again, you can - you’ll just have to re-apply rub-n-buff if anything comes off. The only thing you won’t be able to erase will be the lettering! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and introduction into engraving! Always remember to be safe and have fun!
Disclaimers: Do not engrave on champagne or any type of bottles with pressure.