A Step by Step Guide to Sandcarving

Whether, you are just beginning or an experienced sandcarver, you should know that a good quality film print is key to processing a superior PhotoMask. Although other factors may be involved, it all begins with a dark, opaque film print.

You can produce your custom photomasks in four simple steps. To begin, you will need a computer, printer, a UV light source, PhotoMask resist film and water. 

  1. Create and print your design. You’ll start by creating your artwork (using your preferred design software), and then printing out that artwork onto a film print . You need to produce your artwork in black and white, No colours or shades of grey. Just black and white.
  2. Expose your design. The next step is to expose the artwork design on the artwork print to a photoresist film using a UV light source such as our Letralite exposure unit. The artwork print will block the UV light from the photoresist in the exact outline of your artwork, but the areas that are exposed to the UV light will harden.
  3. Wash with pressurized water. You then simply wash out the photoresist film with pressurised water. The non-exposed areas will wash away, and you will be left with a PhotoMask stencil of your custom design. Use our Washout hose to produce the best results.
  4. Apply the PhotoMask. Once your photomask is dry, you can apply it to your surface of the item to be etched. The resist has a sticky surface and adheres to the substate.
  5. Etch the PhotoMask. Once your PhotoMask has been applied to your surface, you are ready to begin sand carving.

Using this method, you can create finely detailed, complex designs that can then be sandcarved onto glass, crystal, marble, stone and other surfaces. You would follow the same process to create PhotoMask for multi-dimensional carvings as well. (To create different levels of dimension on your sand carved product, you would simply remove different portions of the PhotoMask, one after another, at different stages of your engraving. The result will be an intricate, multi-dimensional carving.)