Sandcarving and Paint-Filling Tile: A quick word of advice

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

When you etch a tile in the first place, you put a resist material down onto the tile. This material resists the impact of the abrasive on the tile. Either before or after you apply the resist to the tile, you produce a design on the resist, which allows you to blast exposed parts of the design while protecting the tile in other areas. 

After blasting to your desired depth, simply blow the dust off the tile (with an air nozzle) and spray paint, leaving the blasting resist on the tile as a paint resist. You can even use different colors by covering one part of the design while spraying another part, then covering the first color while spraying a second, and so forth.

—Ruth Dobbins, EtchMaster