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Sandblasting Essentials Part 2

Glass and crystal are thought of first as materials appropriate for sandblasting, but almost any hard material is suitable.

Sandblasting Essentials Part 2


(Originally published in the November 2012 issue of Recognition Review.)

Glass and crystal are thought of first as materials appropriate for sandblasting, but almost any hard material is suitable.

Materials that can be sandblasted include brick, crystal, ceramic, glass, marble, metals, rock, stone, and wood. There also are composite materials, typically available from sign-supply companies, created specifically for sandblasting signs and other architectural markers.

Softer materials, such as acrylics, also can be sandblasted, though some of the abrasive material may lodge in the surface, discoloring it. You can use a white abrasive to sandblast acrylics, though we choose to laser engrave or mechanically engrave acrylic products.

The products you can produce with sandblasting are as varied as the materials. Some of the sandblasted products we have produced over the years include:


This category has probably been the most active for us. We’ve produced gifts in glass and crystal including wedding and anniversary flutes, wine bottles, oil lamps, glass picture frames for all occasions, and glass clock holders for anniversaries. Even rocks and stones can be turned into wedding gifts, as with a small boulder with the couple’s name sandblasted into it for placement by the front door of their new home. We’ve sandblasted stainless steel flasks for groomsmen gifts, Christmas gifts, and other special occasions. We’ve also sandblasted ceramic mugs for school districts as teachers’ birthday gifts.


Sandblasting is popular in the awards industry. We’ve used crystal and marble items for high-end awards; glass picture frames and beverage mugs for coach’s gifts; and glass construction blocks as awards for the building industry.


Among the sandblasted items we’ve produced were specially decorated wine bottles that were given in thanks for a construction project that the owners thought was especially well done.


In the promotional products category, we’ve sandblasted crystal clocks; glass and ceramic coffee mugs; beer mugs for micro-breweries; and wine glasses and bottles for wineries and golf courses. For many years, we produced beer mugs and wine glasses for a local chamber of commerce to give away at their annual Christmas party.


Judy found several items, such as glass flower vases and glass oil lamps, to sandblast for store decorations. Invariably, visitors would come in and ask the price of the decorations. (We soon learned that everything in the store should have a price on it.) We consistently sold a number of decorated items simply because people liked the images she used. It became routine for her to find items to decorate, decorate them via sandblasting, place them on display in the store, and sell them to visitors.

Wedding flutes are sandblasted with the couple’s name and wedding date, flipping the bride and groom’s names in the hearts.


We have sandblasted a number of rocks and boulders that were used in various building projects.

This 50th anniversary package uses sandblasting, gold fill, and two photos to bring the couple’s marriage full circle.


We produced sandblasted bricks municipalities sold to raise funds for street lighting, various souvenir items a chamber used for fundraising, and crystal Christmas ornaments that were sold to raise funds for families of children with cancer.


The sandblasting applications in this category include edge-lit glass signs; wooden signs; man-made composite signs; and cornerstones for buildings. We also sandblasted a large granite slab attached to a wall commemorating graduating honor students at a local high school.

Wine bottles can be sandblasted for use as ad specialties, wedding items, or thank-you gifts—and even turned into oil lamps (middle bottle).

Unlike CO2 lasers, sandblasting can be used to mark untreated stainless steel, as with this flask gift that is marked with the recipient’s initials.

High-end crystal and glass awards really stand out when sandblasted.


When we had a store in the resort community of Sisters, OR, we produced glass and ceramic souvenirs that were popular with visitors.

Decorative sandblasting is a creative tool we use extensively for many different applications. It has allowed us to produce a wide variety of products to meet our customers’ needs. If you already have sandblasting equipment, use this list to open up new opportunities. If you’re thinking about getting into sandblasting, think about how many of those categories could increase your sales and read next month to learn what equipment you’ll need.

John and Judy McDaniel own CorelDRAW Help, Inc., and John’s background is in computers, Judy’s in art and retail. They started in the personalization business in 1989 with CorelDRAW version 1.0. They use CorelDRAW with mechanical and laser engravers to produce awards, gifts, and industrial products. They’ve also used it with all types of printers and vinyl cutters to create sublimation and other image transfers, sandblast masks, screen-print screens, pad-printing plates, signs and banners, and sales literature and flyers. Now, they are adding website design to their use of CorelDRAW. They have written hundreds of articles and tips, lectured across the country, and taught CorelDRAW since 1991. Attend their hands-on introduction to sandblasting class at the ARA International Awards Market in January.

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