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Itching to Etch

This weekend I set up my etching station.  

I guess I am doing this old school because there is a lot of chatter about using copper sulfate instead of ferric chloride, which is what I used.  What I did not do was change out my etching solution (an attempt to not waste) and it has been there FOREVER!  

I used two different types of pens, fine Sharpie black paint pen (oil based) and black Sharpie (regular old black Sharpie) as a resist (the part that etching solution will not eat away) on brass. 
 I got great results with the paint pen Sharpie but not the regular old Sharpie.  The regular Sharpie washed off in the enchant solution.  However, the paint pen was too thick for me to draw with so I ran out and got an EXTRA FINE paint Sharpie.

I decided that the enchant solution was too old so I neutralized with baking soda and replaced with fresh enchant before proceeding.

Here we go:
1.  Stamp an image (I used StazOn ink) to the metal, i.e. brass, 
or draw something using a resist pen.  I used a paint Sharpie pen (oil based).  I drew an Om symbol, shown below the stamped image.

2.  Cover the back (side without the image) with packing or duck tape.  I also sealed the edges with paint Sharpie oil based to seal it off.  That way the etching solution will not eat away the back of your metal or the edges.

3.  Double up a piece of packing tape and place it on the back of the metal (side without the image) and tape it to a piece of Styrofoam.

4.  Place the Styrofoam face down with your piece, image facing the etching solution.  
Notice the air pump taped to the container.  It helps move the etching solution around and dislodges any residual metal from your piece.
5.  Check after 30 minutes, especially since this is fresh etching solution.

Close up of the etching.  A nice deep etch.
I like the way my drawing came out.

If you would like more details on etching you can go to this website Making Jewelry Now.  It has everything you need to know about etching and more!

I would like to use the E3 Etch system by Sherri Haab.  It seems to have many advantages and etching is only one of them.  I will have to see how much I etch before investing in one but it looks like a real cool tool to have!

What are you creating?



  1. aiiiighhh! i want to come over and etch!!! they came out great!!!

    1. You may come over any time. We definitely need to have an art pow wow soon just like Lorena Angulo did last week.

      The etching was meditative after I figured out what to etch. That is the hard part for me. I just finished making some of my components with this etch. Stay tuned!!! Merci Beaucoup!

  2. the etching came out fabulous - really... i had never thought of styrofoam to float them! i usually drape them across the solution... i have to admit - i use the toxic radio shack solution, but it works... i just try to make it last for a long time! (which you cannot always do)... love your results -

    1. Merci! I draped them across once and no more. I made such a mess. Ha! Have not tried this but I read that you can add ester c powder to prolong your etching solution. Thanks again!

  3. oh man, This is so awesome! We did etching like this at nocca, and it was soooo interesting and so much fun - you're makin me miss it! Your design is fantastic


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