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Glass Printer

Use classic printing techniques to make boring glassware beautiful.

What does a Glass Printer do?

Your perfume bottle, with the words “eau de cologne.” Your son’s favorite juice glass with superheroes on it. That mug your spouse picked up in Europe that bears the family crest. All of them are thanks to the hard work of a Glass Printer, a type of Printer who prints on glass and ceramics instead of paper.

Indeed, as a Glass Printer, you make glass grand by dressing it up with printed designs. Employed by a printing shop, or perhaps in your very own glass printing studio, you have a background in printing and design that you draw upon regularly to do your work, which is transposing words and images onto glass objects ranging from doors and windows to trophies and awards to stemware and souvenirs.

The process is fairly straightforward: The first thing you do as a Glass Printer is develop a design. Whether it’s a graphic pattern for a decorative window or the words “#1 Dad” for a Father’s Day gift, you make the design first on paper, then etch it onto glass using a printing plate and Artist ‘s hand tools.

You cut a plate in the shape of your design. That acts as a template. Next, you spread ink on the plate and position it on the glass to transfer the image. If the image is clear, you’re done. If it’s smudged or skewed, however, you’ve got to solve the problem—a misaligned printing plate, for instance—and start over.

When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, he couldn’t possibly have imagined a world where people print anything other than books. Every day, however, you prove that printing isn’t just for paper!