Learn Hand Engraving Vs. Sandcarving Calligraphy

Calligraphy is a beautiful art form that can be used to create many different types of designs on a variety of materials.

When it comes to engraving glass and metal gift items, one of the most often questions we get is about the distinction between freehand engraving and sand carving, which is also known as sandblasting. A description of each approach, along with its potential applications, may be found below.

Hand Engraving

Carving into glass or metal surfaces using a high-speed rotary tool is what’s meant by the term “freehand engraving.” It is also possible to engrave other materials, such as wood or the shells of ostrich eggs, using this tool.

Hand engraving can be done when:

  • the surface is glass, crystal, pewter, or silver-plated
  • the message to be engraved is short (up to 2 dozen words or so)
  • the client has single items that they want to be engraved with script lettering or simple linework drawings
  • the client wants the engraving on a part of the item that can’t be engraved by traditional machine engraving, such as the base of toasting glasses
  • engraving fragrances, candles, and compacts during engraving events at department stores.


Sandcarving is a technique that may be used to decorate or personalize glass, crystal, marble, and stone. Sandcarving is also known as sandblasting. It is accomplished by utilizing pressurized air to force abrasive onto the surface, while simultaneously using a stencil (resist) to form the desired pattern. The area of the surface that is carved or etched is determined by where the abrasive is allowed to strike it via the stencil.

Sandcarving can be done when:

  • the surface is glass or crystal
  • when a client requests logos or intricate artwork to be engraved
  • when a client requests a large amount of text to be engraved (which would be more expensive to do with hand engraving)
  • when there are a large number of items to be engraved, such as wine bottles or decanters
  • when a client requests a particular font style.

Ideas for Calligraphy Hand Engraved Gifts

The following is a list of glass and metal products that are suitable candidates for hand engraving. Due to the nature of their forms or sizes, many of these artifacts cannot be engraved with a machine.

Items that can be hand engraved:

  • Baby cups &  rattles
  • Bells
  • Bowls
  • Bridles
  • Buckles
  • Business card holders
  • Cake covers
  • Cake serving sets
  • Compacts
  • Decanters
  • Flasks
  • Fragrance bottles
  • Glass stones
  • Golf clubs
  • Knives
  • Ice buckets
  • Jewelry and trinket boxes
  • Makeup brushes
  • Medical instruments
  • Mint julep cups
  • Mirrors
  • Ornaments
  • Pens – metal finish
  • Spurs
  • Stemware
  • Tools
  • Trays
  • Watches
  • Wine bottles
  • Vases

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