Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

From This to That… December 4, 2015

Yesterday morning was spent making a very nice stash of new copper etched components. I’ve had several people request a tutorial for this process. However, I do not feel nearly competent to a) explain it thoroughly enough or b) do an equal or better job that many already out there on the internet.  I searched many jewelry sites, like Rio Grande, for tutorials on the method I wanted to try. And did a search with “etching with ferric chloride tutorial”. You’ll get some for computer uses, but keep digging. And watch as many as you can before trying this…it does use a hazardous waste material…and one needs to be savvy about precautions. That said, it is addictive…No, not to the chemical, silly…the gorgeous things it does to copper.


I thought today I would give you a quick run down of the steps in the process. So you’ll know why my hands and nails are trashed, mostly from all the sanding and filing. Plus, I’ll admit I don’t usually use gloves for the LOS.  I’m too embarrassed to even go get a manicure.  Anyone else know what I’m talking about?? I’m not even going to show you a picture of my hands.

So how do I get from this…

Copper sheet metal I buy by the pound at an industrial metal supply. This is about half of what I purchased. It’s maybe 12×12 inches.




Punch out circles or hand cut shapes.

File, file, file, sand.

Punch and file holes for ear wires or attaching dangles.

Apply stamped design with StazOn ink.

Etch…this is where you might view/read tutorials.

After neutralizing in baking soda solution, clean off ink.

Sand lightly with 0000 steel wool.


Clean and buff with wet/dry sand paper and steel wool.

Use dapping block to create nice curves.

Tumble for two hours.

Apply two coats of Renaissance Wax.

Last buffing.

Then, here is what you get…


etched pendants


etched rounds


etched pieces


I also threw in a couple of pairs of hammered pendants.


Here’s a peek at a few earrings I made with some components

last week for the new shop in Hillcrest.


copper hearts


copper pendants


etched pendulums


So, that’s how I get from this to that.

If you haven’t already given etching metal a try,

I hope you are encouraged to at least add it to your jewelry bucket list!



6 Responses to “From This to That…”

  1. Kelly White Says:

    Thank you for sharing your process! I’ve admired your copper etching for sometime now – and – frequently wondered about your process. Your jewelry is absolutely lovely!!! I am about to give etching a shot – using Muriatic Acid as I wasn’t having luck with finding Ferric Chloride locally. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Gorgeous pieces! Been a while since I etched anything, and I’m always dithering on the finishing touches — should I oxidize before or after tumbling, etc..
    I’m there with the nails…! I figured some months ago that nail glue — that you use to stick on fake nails — can be put to good use repairing your own broken nails too! Can be a savior when you’ve thrashed them very badly. Then a layer of invisible varnish on top (happened to find a good one that isn’t clear, but a bit pinkish AND contains strengthening fibers! Must have been made for craftspeople.) But no, my nails don’t usually look perfect despite this knowledge — it would need to be applied too! But at least I know how to get them in decent shape for the upcoming party season. 🙂

    • Maybe I should investigate fake nails! I have a craft fair this Saturday and am considering wearing gloves to hide my hideous nails! Regarding the steps in etching…I oxidize, then tumble, minimum of two hours. Then, seal the finish with Renaissance Wax. Hope you get to do some etching soon!

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