Create Depth with Freehand Sandcarving

With over 35 years in the glass business, Ruth Dobbins offers experience in fused and cast glass, as well as in glass-etching techniques. Ruth holds a Master's Degree in Printmaking and Art History and has been a partner in a stained and fused glass wholesale supply company in Europe, which also placed great emphasis on a training program. For the past 20 years, she collaborated with her husband Norm Dobbins in commission work, writing books and creating videotapes on how-to techniques for glass etching. Ruth taught these techniques for 30 years in the U.S. and other countries. Ruth continues these venues by offering a complete training program at Aliento School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and by teaching at various trade shows, including The Awards & Engraving Show. One-on-one training and consulting services are also offered. You can reach Ruth by email at, by phone at 505-473-9203 and by fax at 505-473-9218. Check out the website at

You may want to carve an image in multiple stages and create some depth within an area that was already blasted to a certain depth and no longer has any resist to define a shape within this shape. This is what we call freehand carving, where we use the blaster as a sculpting tool without the aid of resist. This requires not only great hand-eye coordination, but complete attention, since you must know exactly where you want to point your nozzle, how close you need to go, how fast or slow you need to move, and at what angle you must hold the nozzle to achieve the effect you are after. Last not but least, you must also adjust your pressure to fit the size and depth of the intended blast. 

—Ruth Dobbins, Professional Glass Consultants 

Learn about recommended abrasive pressures for sandcarving.