Etched window with wood blinds

Project of the month

This months project is a bathroom window. The view looking out was of the neighbors wall and kitchen window. The customer wanted etched glass but did not want to cast a shadow on the bath room window. She did not want to use regular blinds and have it be dark. She wanted the light to shine in. The solution was to build a wooden blind in between the window and the etched glass. This would let the light in without letting anyone see in the bathroom. This type of installation makes the etched glass very soft. The light coming through the window is diffused. The picture makes it seam hard to see, but it is clear in person. We tried both white blinds and black blinds to see which one made the glass look the best. To my surprise it was the white.

veiw out window
wooden blinds
Finished window

The first thing when designing a window is the artwork. The home owner wanted a simple design in the middle with a contemporary border. I met with her to find a starting point for the artwork. She liked my sample so we used that. I designed several possible pieces for her to choose from. The pictures below show the art as I changed and created different designs. This is called vector art. I use a program called Adobe Illustrator. This allows me to create patterns from lines and shapes. They remain the same at any size. Once her artwork was ready it was time for the glass. First I cut a Piece of 1/4″ glass to fit the window. Then I cut a stencil. Apply it to the glass. Start sandblasting.

Sample art1
Sample art 2
art choice

This design is a stage blast. That means that the lines of the design are carved into the glass. Then the stencil is removed from the glass and the rest of the glass is blasted solid. The glass must be safety tempered after blasting. That creates some limitations. The main one being depth. In order for the glass to go through he tempering oven, it can not be carved more than half way through the glass. This is a worse case scenario because I never want to push my luck that far. There is nothing worse than spending six hours blasting something only to have it blow up in the oven. Then you get to start all over again. On a 1/4″ piece of glass I like to go about 1/8″ to 3/32″ deep.

First stage
Second stage

The next step is the tempering oven. Tempering heats the glass up to as high as 1200 degrees for as much as nine minutes. This all depends on the thickness of the glass. it is then cooled down quickly by blowing cool air over it. This is called the quench. If I have gone to deeply or to close to the edge, This is the point that is becomes a pile of broken glass.

Ready furnace
Tempering furnace
In the Quench

If I have one piece of tempered glass at this point it is ready to install. I built the blinds out of popular wood because it paints very well for a hard wood. The slats are 2 1/2″ by 1/2″ thick. The frame is 5/8″ thick. I then painted the blinds white. The frame is nailed in the window frame. The etched glass is installed smooth side out using 1/4 round trim to hold it in. A little touch up painting and our project is complete.

On the truck
Finished window
Close up

The view from the outside shows the blinds and provides complete privacy. While I was at it we etched the sidelite of her front door. I allow my work to speak for itself. I do not use the names or adresses of my client to protect their privacy.

Outside close up
Front door

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