Thoughts on Signs & Graphics

Etched Glass without the Etching

What does that mean, etching glass without etching? It means you use a look-alike alternative to glass that's been etched the old fashioned way--with a blast-etching technique. This alternative uses what is called etch or frosted vinyl, and it's a surface application that gives the look of etched glass without the cost.

Pretty neat, right? It's not only neat but very sophisticated and upscale. While more costly than standard opaque vinyl lettering, frosted vinyl evokes an image of style.

Take the lettering we did recently for Above the Fold, a marketing firm in Burlington, VT. They originally wanted their logo reproduced in their corporate colors of purple and teal. We thought that would be very hard to read. While windows are see-through, a window's surface is dark and dark colors on a dark background make the lettering invisible.

Stark white opaque vinyl would have also worked well, but according to owner Barbara Dozetos, "We took your recommendation. I would have gone with full color, but SignARama recommended the frosted and I’m delighted. We have all the color we need in the office."

As you can see in the photo, the lettering is more subtle than a bright-white alternative, but certainly not invisible.

"It looks like it’s very high end, but was incredibly affordable," Barbara said.

How do you keep the etch vinyl looking good for years to come? Basically leave it alone. You can clean the window, even spray the vinyl with an alcohol-based glass cleaner, but don't use a squeegee over the lettering--rubbing the edges can chip the vinyl. The vinyl should last for several years; it won't fade from UV-radiation or extremes in weather temperatures, and shouldn't shrink.

The beauty of a relatively temporary product is that you can change your business name, or remove wording from your business name, or add some, and vinyl allows you to modify it. Real blast-etched glass doesn't.

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