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Copper Etching: Do It Yourself Tutorial

E076Last week I posted about my first experience with copper etching and I promised to share more about the process and show a finished piece of jewelry. Here are the first pair of earrings I ever made from some of the handmade copper etched jewelry components I made. They feature dyed mother of pearl flat beads, handmade ceramic rondelles which I also made, rootbeer and champagne seed beads and the rectangular etched copper components which include a swirl, polka dot and dash design.

Here’s a link to the earrings in my Amazon Handmade shop. These are a part of my high end copper jewelry line called Copper Ridge and I will be offering these not only retail but wholesale to qualifiying retailers.

Exactly, how did I make these etched copper components?  Here’s the process in a nut shell. I plan to come back by the end of the month and provide photos and /or a video but haven’t had time yet to do so.



  • Ferric Chloride or your own mixture of Hydrochloric Acid (Muriatic Acid) and Peroxide. (2 parts  hydrogen peroxide to 1 part hydrochloric acid also known as muriatic acid).  You can find the Muriatic Acid in your local home improvement store. It is used for etching concrete. It might be in the paint section. (I used the Muriatic Acid mixture.)
  • A flat plastic container for placing your etching solution in
  • Duct tape
  • Masking tape


  • Wet dry sand paper or medium to fine steel wool


Ferric Chloride is considered toxic waste. When done using it you cannot just dump it down the drain. Muriatic Acid and Peroxide mixture is okay to dump.

Wear a protective mask whenever you work with chemicals. Wear safety glasses. Wear thick rubber gloves (not the thin disposable kind). Use good ventilation, especially when your solution is new.  (Open a window or door.)

You can use this technique on copper, brass and bronze though I haven’t tried it.

You cannot use this technique on silver. For that you must use Nitric Acid and it is another process.

  1.  Sand all edges and front surface of your cut out copper pieces. You can use steel wool or wet/dry sand paper to shine it up and smooth out all nicks and scratches.
  2. Clean all grease off metal. Can use acetone, dish detergent with a little degreaser or Bark Keeper’s Friend (a metal polish).
  3. You now will create a “resist” which will mask the areas you want to etch. There are several ways you can do this. You can draw your design onto your metal by hand using any of the following methods a) a black Sharpie marker which is what I used. I haven’t tried any other resist methods except the acrylic paint method. b) Paint Pen dipped in red etching varnish 3) acrylic paint painted on 3) a pattern stamped on with Staz-On Ink and a stamp 5) For intricate patterns use a laser printer or copier.  Use recycled magazine paper (shiny) to print on. Heavy magazine paper works best. Regular copier paper will not work. The magazine print will not print but the laser print you printed on the printed page will. Once you have printed onto your magazine paper, use a heated iron with the steam option turned off to press the toner design onto your metal on the highest setting.  Let the metal cool for 2 minutes. When the metal is cool put the metal your transferred the ink onto into a water bath to soak off the magazine paper. You can rub off the paper with your hand. Don’t worry if some of the paper is still adhered to the metal. It will dissolve in an acid bath.
  • NOTE:  If you don’t want your edges etched then you can use a Sharpie on them

    4.  Use duct tape on the back of your copper to prevent etching. Press your metal pieces with the desigh up and the blank side down onto the tape. You don’t want the metal to fall off the duct tape into the solution which will eat away at the back side of your metal.

    5.   Tape your pieces that are fixed to the duct tape to a small Styrofoam block (you want them to float and not touch the container bottom so the etching solution gets under it.)

    6.  Fill your flat plastic container  with either the Ferric Chloride or the Peroxide and Muriatic Acid mixture to etch the copper. Open the containers carefully to avoid breathing the fumes.

    You can reuse the solution multiple times.(Can store in a non-metal container with lid such as a Mason jar, mayo jar, etc.)

    7.  Place your prepared “floats” face down in the etch bath.

    Note:  Brand new solution etches super fast. The older and more used the solution the longer it will take to etch. It can take anywhere from 5 minutes with new high power solution to 30 minutes or up to an hour or more for older solution. Also, the colder your room temperature the longer your etch time. When it starts taking an hour or more to etch then it’s time to replace your solution. You solution will turn green and that is normal as it is the copper residue that is left in the etch bath.

    How do you know when it is etched enough?  If your resist design looks distinctively raised then you have etched enough. If you leave the metal in a new, strong solution for too long, it can eat away you metal completely. I know, I learned the hard way.

    8.   Once you are done etching, rinse off your etched pieces with water. Despite rinsing, etching may still be taking place. To stop the process , depending on what you use to etch with, you may want to rinse with a solution of 50 percent ammonia and 50 percent water .  let sit for 15 mins

    9. Remove your resist from your metal by using either rubbing alcohol or acetone.  Shine up your metal using Bar Keeper’s Friend.

    10.  If you wish to colorize etched metal, that is the next step.



Playing with Copper Etching Revisted

coppercomponentsI posted about my first experience with making copper etched  jewelry components last week but my laptop was in the shop so I had difficulty posting a decent photo with my android.

Here’s a photo and a link to the original article which tells a bit about the copper etching process.  Next week I will share a finished piece of jewelry and go into more detail about how I made the etched components.


thread-931889_960_720In celebration of National Hobby Month guest blogger Amiee Lyons from diydarlin.com is sharing an article filled with an assortment of DIY ideas.

6 Easy Starter Projects for Wannabe Artisans

Wanna be an artisan? It doesn’t matter if you feel that you don’t have a knack for the creative or an eye for fine art. All that matters is that you have a passion for the creative and a drive to keep working at your craft, and anyone can be a successful artisan in time. If you’re looking for an easy starter project to try your hand at a particular skill, this list of simple craft projects is for you.

Knit a Seventeen Scarf

Worsted weight yarn in a few different colors and some basic knitting skills are all you need to create this beautiful scarf. Scarves are one of the easiest projects for beginning knitters to complete, and as this particular scarf is extra-long, you’ll get ample practice honing your knitting skills.

Give a Mirror New Life

If you’re into home décor projects, this super-simple mirror craft is designed just for beginners. All you need is an old or plain mirror, some twine or rope, and a glue gun. That’s it! By wrapping the rope carefully around the border of the mirror, you’ll breathe new life into an otherwise dull and boring wall decoration.

Make the Perfect Gift with Chalkboard Letters

Looking for a unique baby shower gift? If you’ve thought about making a gift for a baby shower but are fearful that it won’t turn out right, this chalkboard letters craft is the perfect, can’t-go-wrong solution. Simply paint some chalkboard paint over pre-cut letters (or make your own wooden letters if you’re feeling ambitious) and tie a few pieces of chalk with some twine to accent the piece. This craft is also the perfect addition to a child’s bedroom or playroom.

Vintage Leather Bracelets are Easy and Chic

Maybe you’d like to treat yourself with something classic that you made yourself, or you’re looking for a special gift for a close friend with more meaning than something you’d buy at the store. These vintage leather bracelets are super easy for beginners to create, and they’re super chic accessories to compliment practically any ensemble.

Make Your Own Costume

Pulling together a D-I-Y costume for a party or upcoming holiday event can be great for crafting newbies. It gets the creative juices flowing, but most costumes allow enough wiggle room so that you don’t have to bite off more than you can chew. For example, if you’re making a costume for a friend’s Mardi Gras party, you might buy a fun cape or dress from a costume store and then go online to learn how to make your own mask. And heck, once your friends see your awesome mask, they just might ask you to make them one, too.

Add a Splash of Color with Decoupage Stools

Decoupage is a trendy technique for brightening up old wooden objects, such as stools, storage bins, end tables, and the like with bright, bold colors and creative painting techniques. This doily design on a stool is simple enough for beginners to accomplish with ease, and when you’re done, you’ll have the perfect accent for a child’s bedroom, bathroom, or even dining room.

Repurpose an Old Picture Frame

Many people have old picture frames lying around or stored away. Put them to use with one of these simple ways to repurpose old picture frames. These projects are all straightforward and suitable for the beginning crafter, requiring few skilled techniques such as faux painting or knitting. All you need is a bit of creativity.

Artisans all have their own unique style and flair. There’s no one single talent or skill that makes an artisan an artisan; your own creativity and your custom approach to whatever projects you take on are precisely what makes your work unique. Anyone who wants to be an artisan will find success trying one of these six projects.

Aimee Lyons loves to craft, paint, and build. She loves tackling craft projects, big and small. She decided to share her love of DIY crafting on her website, DIYDarlin.com, in order to help other crafty wannabes feel less intimidated as they explore their creativity and crafting ability on their way to becoming a DIY darlin! When she isn’t crafting, Aimee loves spending time with friends and family and going vintage shopping.

**PHOTO CREDIT to Tookapic via Pixabay**








Inspirational Quote of the Week


Sfrancisofassisi121023tart doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

Francis of Assisi




Playing with Copper Etching

coppercomponentsWhen I first published this post my computer was in the shop and the photo I edited on my Android didn’t show up at all. So, I am reposting this with a somewhat improved edited photo though it’s still not the best.

I love working with copper and have wanted to learn copper etching for a while because of the added depth and beauty that it gives to copper. Pictured are some handmade jewelry components I plan to assemble.

These include copper components and some handmade clay pottery earrings that just came out of the kiln. I have a new appreciation and understanding of why some handmade jewelry is so expensive.

Etching takes time especially when you’re new to the process. I’m sure it will become streamlined later but trying to figure out how to get a deep enough etch, done by using an acid bath, took a while. I will be sure to show you some of my completed work with these components once I get them assembled and will share about the etching process at a later date.

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New Dog Means Drastic Lifestyle Change

20160121_091446I am rerunning this post because my computer was in the shop when I first posted it and I had to do my editing on my Android phone. The photo of Aggie didn’t show correctly. So here’s my second try at posting.

This is Aggie, our new dog that we rescued from the animal shelter. Her name is short for Agatha Christie, because she’s a hound mix (we think maybe Beagle and Golden Retriever). She is a super sleuth when it comes to tracking down clues.

She has drastically changed my lifestyle. For the past several years we have been cat owners. We owned Scottish Terriers before,

and  I really missed having a dog, but I had forgotten how much care they take when they are so young and not housebroken. It is like having a toddler in the house.

We have to keep her in confined areas until she learns where she supposed to go potty. Plus we do not yet have a fence, so we are working on getting a wireless fence. We  are undergoing mutual training. The dog is training us and we are training the dog. Presently I cannot bring her down to my studio area because she gets into everything from packing peanuts to nibbling on anything she finds on the floor.  Our best friends are rawhide chewies and I will write more on that at a later time. In the meantime I am adjusting my work methods by only working downstairs when my husband is home, and bringing items upstairs that are portable that I can do while I’m in the kitchen  where she’s enclosed. There’s a lot to keep up with, a lot of going outside to let her go to the bathroom. We are a week into it and things are getting better. She is very sweet dog, and very smart and I think pretty easy to train. I just have to figure out how to get my work done.

If you are pet lover, be sure to check out my gifts for pet lovers in Etsy.


Inspirational Quote of the Week


Never allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come. James Whitcomb Riley


SharingArtisanProcessYesterday I gallery sat at Arrowhead Gallery in Old Fort, NC where I consign some of my artisan works. Two ladies came through the gallery and stopped at one artisan booth of a photographer who sells textiles with digitally manipuated images printed onto pillows, coverlets and more. One of the women asked if I knew the printing process of how the images were transferred onto the fabric, etc. I told her my limited knowledge about printing from a desktop printer onto textiles but said I wasn’t sure how she got the images onto the larger fabric. They suggested that the artist might want to make a printed sign that explained the process and post it in her booth. I thought it was a great idea.

One of these same women came to the front desk to check out and saw me with a recycled glass bib necklace which I planned to rework to better secure the wire to the glass and asked  whether it was beach glass. I explained that I do sometimes use beach glass which I still have on hand, but that since I now reside in North Carolina and Ocean Isle the East Coast beach I visit and others in the vicinity are not good locations for such glass. I told her the aqua necklace was actually made from shards of a vintage, broken Mason jar and that I now use a rock tumbler to recycle glass. She was fascinated to know the process. She told me she would check the gallery later to see how I reworked the necklace and that she might be interested in it.

All of this served as a lesson to me. First, if the artist is on hand to explain their work, they have a better chance of selling it because people love hearing the story of how something is made. It adds value to the piece. If the artist can’t be present to explain the work, then he/she should have some way of indicating a bit of the process if possible.

A sign might be a good idea if its feasible and much of your work is made through the same process. If not, then perhaps a card or note on a tag. The more info you can give a prospective buyer, the more chance you have of selling your work.  Of course, if you have a lot of small items like earrings you won’t have room on the tiny tags to document this. In my booth at Arrowhead gallery I have  a small business-size card near my earring rack that says “most of my beads are handmade.” This was done on the advice of one of the gallery managers when she learned that fact about my work.

It’s better err on the side of too much information than not have enough and can make the difference between a sale or no sale.

If you are a handmade artist, I invite you share what you do to explain your work. If you love to buy handmade, I welcome your suggestions and feedback on this subject.

(Note: Pictured above is the handmade aqua glass necklace I plan to rework. I will share more about the alteration and availability once I rework the piece.)


Tortilla Soup Recipe

Tortillia soupBoth my husband and I have had killer colds and nothing tastes better when you are sick than a hot bowl of soup.  Here is a recipe for our own version of Tortilla Soup.


2 cups of cooked, shredded or cubed chicken breasts

2 16 oz cans of black beans

1 jar of medium salsa

1 T lime juice

1 T of cumin

3 cup of dried chicken boullion

1 – 2 chopped chili peppers or dried chili peppers

3 cups of water

1 cup of corn (optional)

salt and pepper to taste


Toss all the ingredients except sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and tortillias  into a crock pot and cook on low for approximately 6 hours.

Top each bowl with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and corn tortilla chips or strips






SCT001BThese recycled wine bottles make great cheese platters and party dishes which can be used for nuts, candy, cheese, peanuts and more. They are made by slumping them into a prepared glass mold. But I was having difficulty with the bottle not coming out of the mold easily, despite preparing the mold with  Primo Primer.

Below is a quick video tutorial on a solution I came up with for preventing the problem.

This particular recycled wine bottle party dish can be purchased in my Amazon Handmade shop.




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