How to etch metal for jewelry

how to etch metal for jewelry

Metal Etching 101

Jun 24, In Making Etched Metal Jewelry, youll learn two techniques for etching metal that use the safest and most readily available suppliesand then youll learn how to show off your etched metal in 17 beautiful, complete jewelry tutorials. Plus, reading through the projects, I spotted several bonus techniques, like how to make a tiny book with real paper, how to dye or age lace, how to make backless bezel resin components, how to make ribbon links and etched . Aug 24, First, select the metal you want to etch. You can either cut sheet metal or use prefabricated blanks. Copper, brass, and nickel silver are perfect metal choices for this process. For the best results, select metal that is 20 gauge or thicker.

The last time we covered metal etching, a few folks commented that it was too dangerous and asked if there was a safer way to etch metal. Oh my, did they educate me! I asked if anyone had experience with a safe or at least less dangerous, nontoxic way to etch metal, maybe using household items that seemed like they might work, such as lemon juice, nail polish remover, or a mixture of vinegar plus something that always seems to be a handy household combo that can work wonders, so I thought it might be worth a try.

One reader suggested using the brown soft drink you know which one ; I hear scary stories about them cleaning toilets and dissolving nails, so they probably would work. Silliness aside, I learned two important points about metal etching from all those wise metalsmiths. Not an edible salt, of course. Use it in a well-ventilated room. But you can use it without being fearful. Ferric chloride is dangerous if you ingest it or get it in your eyes.

In that sense, it can be toxic. But if you use it properly, and store it properly, you should be able to do so without fear.

If you get it on your skin, wash it off immediately and well. So it should be treated similar to tidal wave dreams what do they mean other mineral acid. You must dispose of the spent metal etching solutions at a hazardous waste site. This is the big reminder I got from our discussion that I often forget: Etching removes small particles of metal, just like sawing and filing do.

So where does that metal go? The solution you usetoxic or notis ultimately going to end up full of tiny particles of whatever metal you etched.

You can strain the particles from the liquid with a coffee filter, or allow the neutralized liquid to evaporate from the solution, leaving just the dry metal dust remains. Update: Allowing the liquid to evaporate is the better of the two solutions, because not every tiny particle of metal can be removed with a coffee filter.

Better safe than sorry. But what do you do with them then? As it turns out, the etching process makes the metal particles more harmful environmentally speaking than they were when they were mined from the earth. So pouring them into the ground poisons the area. Once you dissolve them, however, you typically have converted the metal into a water-soluble compound. These are more often than not, toxic. Imagine having metal texture on demand! Having any design you can dream up and draw, any image you can print, on metal in any shape or size you want.

Etching allows you that kind of limitless creativity. Thanks to James Binnion for sharing his knowledge! See his work at Mokume-Gane. You must Register or Login to post a comment. Remember me Log how to put themes on sidekick 4g. Lost your password? Quick View. Share 2. Pin Options for Finishing Your Kumihimo Braids. Have a technical question? Contact Us. Join the conversation!

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In the center of the electric skillet, layer the design paper (right side up), then metal, and on top of the metal, place a brick to press the metal onto the paper design. Heat your electric skillet to degrees for minutes. Turn it off and let everything cool gradually before you remove the metal. The iron (or skillet) remains in contact with the silver until the dry toner melts on the metal. Note: The time may vary depending on the thickness of the silver, depth of toner and heat of the iron (or skillet). You can hear the iron and the skillet thermostats clicking on and off to maintain the temperature. Jun 14, Imagine having metal texture on demand! Having any design you can dream up and draw, any image you can print, on metal in any shape or size you want. Etching allows you that kind of limitless creativity. Master etching with Lexis expert how-to metal etching video, Metalsmithing Essentials: Jewelry Etching on Copper.

If drawing multiple designs by hand would take hours, here is speedy way to transfer complex designs to metal for acid etching. You can do this on your computer, or you can go to any photocopy store to reduce or increase the image size.

Make sure you have a flat design with strong black and white contrast areas. The design must be black and white:. Above is an example of a design that can be used as a positive or negative image. While you are in the Copy Store, make a few copies of your designs on a copy machine that uses dry toner. Make each copy as dark bold as you can. In acid etching, the black design areas act as a resist to the acid, the white design areas will be etched deeper than the black design areas.

You should test other dry toner copiers before you buy one to make sure the toner transfers well. You can also use Sunday newspaper magazine section, but if the sheets are too thin they may get stuck in the copier.

I know this sounds strange, but trust me, only the dry toner from your paper copy will transfer to the metal. The metal needs to be spotlessly clean. It also roughens the surface enough to help grab the dry toner.

The most important step is to make sure your metal is meticulously clean and the water sheets off evenly, without any spots. Next, find a flat work area near an electric outlet where you can plug in an iron and press the dry toner paper onto the metal. Leaving it for 5 minutes will work as well, if not better. When the metal is cool enough to touch, put it in a bowl of water to soak off the magazine paper.

After the paper is softened, you can rub it off with your thumb and the toner will remain intact. It will dissolve in the acid etch bath. In the center of the electric skillet, layer the design paper right side up , then metal, and on top of the metal, place a brick to press the metal onto the paper design.

Heat your electric skillet to degrees for minutes. Turn it off and let everything cool gradually before you remove the metal. In some cases you can touch up any missing spots with a special type of felt pen, but the entire design etches best if the resist is uniform. You do great work! Well I am completely hooked and wondering when the second half of the article will be coming. How are you able to get the transfer to stick on those curved pieces? If you use an iron to transfer toner ink to a piece of metal, the metal must be flat.

When the etching process is complete, the piece can be shaped, domed, pierced, etc. I have read that some folks transfer designs using heat of an oven. I believe it was set to degrees, but I have never tried this. Make sure you have transferred copied your design on a copy machine using dry toner on a sheet of glossy magazine paper before you attempt to transfer it. If it is printed using injet ink, which is liquid, it will not transfer.

After you copy the design on glossy magazine paper, hold the page up to a good light source and you can see the layer of toner with your design slightly raised. Some folks have also used a laminator to transfer designs on metal. Sounds like a good idea. I think you would have to experiment with heat settings to get it just right. Virginia Vivier www. Start over with a perfectly flat piece of metal.

The metal must be squeeky clean. If the design is smudging, the iron is too hot or has been moved just as the dry toner is melting. Lift it straight up and then move it to make sure flat portion of iron is in contact with transfer. Try using overhead projector transparencies instead of magazine paper. Then you can see through it as the dry toner melts.

It might give you a better idea of how long it takes for toner to melt. Stop when you see the toner melt. The copy machine toner you are using may not be good enough for transfer. Try another copy machine and set it for as dark as possible to achieve a thick layer of toner deposited on the paper.

Tried the cleaning and glove suggestions. And transparencies are too expensive for me to get, right now. The problem is the edges that are not adhering. Got any suggestions on how to fix that? Do you have an electric skillet that can heat the metal from the bottom? If you take the pointy end of the iron and carefully press it on the outer edges without smudging the toner, it may work.

Or, you could use a spoon or some other kind of burnisher to press the transfer into the metal if it is heated from the bottom. One last thing you could try is to use a permanent marking pen, waterproof, CD marker Sharpie makes them, also Staedtler. You could touch up the missing outer edges with marking pen by using the original design as a guide. Also, nail polish works if it is a flat area you are trying to fill in.

It must be some tiny detail that is missing because I just finished etching pendants. The brand of marking pen is very critical. Most permanent markers will NOT work. Anything else will be consumed by the acid. How long are you leaving the metal in the acid? A good etch can be achieved in 30 minutes. What kind of acid are you using?

Ferric Chloride or Ferric Nitrate? Are you etching on silver, brass or copper? I wish I could see the step-by-step process to help you more! Feel free to email photos to me so I can help further. I know how frustrating it is to be eluded by a jewelry technique after several tries! I sometimes find that if I step away from a project for a few weeks or more, and then return to it, I can start over with a clean slate and get better results. My husband uses this method all the time to etch electronic boards.

I got an antique electric iron with no steam holes and it works better than newer irons with steam holes. I use the red color. The paint pen works so well I think you could etch the metal to lace before the paint etchs away. It outlasts StazOn ink, which I use a lot. I am fortunate to have a heat press and use that is place of an iron.

I have used old photo paper glossy and a commercial copy machine. The finest detail etches out beautifully. Now that I am this far i need plenty of help to know how to finish the piece.

I noticed you know Pauline Warg who is my guru as a newby in making jewelry. She will save me. You are MORE than a little generous to give information to us so freely. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments.

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