In Sandcarving, a photomask is the durable, flexible stencil that is used to guide the etching. Where the surface is covered with the photomask, it is completely protected from the corrosive impact of the abrasive. In the open areas of the photomask stencil, the surface is etched in the pattern of your computer-generated artwork. Photomask is also called mask, stencil, premade pattern or template.
Advances made in photomask technology over the last twenty years have greatly improved the accessibility of Sandcarving. Before the introduction of photomask, sandcarvers would create stencils manually, by designing, tracing and hand-cutting vinyl or rubber. Now, with photomask, the process is far more automated.