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.
Then, here is what you get…
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.
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!
This weekend is one of my favorite holiday markets. Even better that it is at our church and helps support several non profits. Friendly, festive, fabulous “church lady made” baked goods, and fantastic artisan wares…including my dessert pedestals and jewelry.
Yesterday, I decided I needed a few more etched pieces…
hand cut from copper sheet metal.
Some with recycled glass.
And one hit with a texture hammer.
(oops…my camera caught some dents in these…
I need to put these back on the dapping block
and give them a few whacks with the rubber mallet again.
Gotta love that ‘third eye’.)
And just because I’m in love with these glass drops…
I’m in awe that there are 330 subscribers to this blog…and very grateful.
Not sure where you all live, but if anyone is near downtown San Diego
on Friday or Saturday, it would be a real pleasure to meet you.
Not doing much in the way of jewelry making these days, but definitely need to pick it up again…another crafty affair on March 28th. Since I live in a very large urban-suburban area, I am trying out a couple of different locations to see who’s buying. This one is about 20 miles away on the coast and will benefit a high school’s athletic program.
We shall see…
The one project I did follow through on was finally finished up today. I knew it would involve some leather. Pretty happy that I didn’t scrap the project, even though I came close a couple of times. It’s all about the learning. And sometimes things just don’t end up how you thought they would, but they are still fine and dandy.
Here’s a look…
I like the fact that the beading and leather slide strap compliment a rather large (for me) bezel setting. Enough details to keep it interesting, but not a distraction.
And that it is adjustable! Full length is 32 inches, but can be almost any length you wish.
So on to the next one… here’s a peek. It may involve copper or sterling leaves.
I’m still getting components and finished jewelry ready for the February 7th event…
With over 60 crafters, really feeling like I really need to bring my A game.
Just finished up this butterfly necklace with some lovely pearls.
Next are just a few earrings…
I hope that what sets my jewelry apart is that most all the components,
ear wires and headpins are hand made with lots of love and care.
And finally, a little progress report on my bezel setting work with this lapis agate. I used a the sweat soldering technique to attach the ball details and bail. Which means melting tiny pieces of solder on the back of each piece first. Then hitting the setting from underneath with the flame to ‘remelt’ the solder to attach these pieces to the backing. Last steps were to set the stone and then a good polish and tumble. My plan is to make a wire wrapped beaded chain with these beautiful little lapis lazuli stones I purchased at Lost Cities.
Spent this morning hammering away on some sterling silver and copper textured pendants. The copper was recycled thick wire, probably 12 gauge, from the garage. Makes great earring pendants to hang pretty beads and stones from. Really tried to keep my thumb out of the way, but it’s still sore from the reverberation of the pounding on the bench block. Because the pieces start out as only one inch in length, I need to hold them pretty close to the edge of the block. And, get this…the copper seemed to heat up as I worked the metal! Anyone else ever notice this? Not super hot, where I wanted to let go…but a definite heat sensation. Probably something to do with creating energy from the hammering that travels down the wire?
Anyway the end of my thumb and hands need a rest after the pounding, filing, hole punching, more filing, oxidizing, and polishing. Everything is in the tumbler for several hours. Cannot wait to open up the tumbler tonight…one of my favorite things about metal work is seeing the final, super shiny pieces that result.
Here’s a peek at some other things I’ve made this week…
Vibrant green faceted glass rounds on thick knotted Irish waxed linen cord, with a suede leather strap closure.
And a remake of a necklace I made for the Pearls challenge.
Not fully happy with my pearl stringing, perhaps too much space between each pearl?
I think the visual impact of the close spacing
of these gorgeous freshwater coin pearls is much better.
The necklace also sits up much higher on the neck which I like for this one.
Lastly, there’s still time if you wanted to throw your name into the hat
for the etched copper earrings. Entries close on this Tuesday night.
There’s a couple of big craft events looming on the horizon and I’ve been in a bit of a funk about getting things done. Perhaps it was the long hiatus getting ready for our travel and blaming jet lag (two weeks, really??). Went into my workroom a few times, looked around a few minutes, shrugged, walked out and shut the door. Pretty sure you all know what I’m talking about.
I decided one way to get going was to just make components. Spent one day just on punching out, etching, oxidizing, scrubbing, tumbling, and waxing copper pieces. Luckily, I had a good stash of head pins and ear wires already made.
Finally just started putting somethings together. It also helped that a cousin contacted me with an order for several pieces of jewelry that I needed to work on, too. Thank you for that!
Here’s a peek at what’s going on, focusing on copper for now. Need to add more sterling, leather, and brass to my inventory later.
These gorgeous jasper stones were purchased from one of my favorite local shops…Lost Cities. Their staff is so knowledgeable and helpful. And while I cannot afford their collection of ethnic beads and ancient stones, I can and do love to look!
Also, trying out something new, since I put my Etsy shop on hold. I’m setting up a website through Square Up…I’ve been thrilled to be able to use the Square for face to face credit card sales at events. They also offer a free market place and the ability to set up a simple to run website. It’s certainly not finished, just added four items, but take a peek…
Looking back at my posts of the last couple of months,
I see that there’s not much jewelry shown.
Time to correct this, I think!
Since returning from Africa, I have renewed my mania for etching copper…If I’m honest, obsession is probably the more accurate term. If anyone is thinking about starting to learn this method using ferric chloride, I’d highly recommend seeking tutorials, both text/photo and video on-line.
Beaducation has a free detailed video series here. This supplier also has a huge variety of inexpensive pre-cut shapes in base metals that would work very well with this etching method. I have only working with copper sheet metal…cutting my own copper discs with a die cut tool and shapes by hand with heavy kitchen sheers (actually very easy).
I do have one difference in method than shown in their series. They recommend covering the edges of the pieces in a heavy coat of permanent black marker ink, so that the etchant does not eat this part of the metal. I do not do this and there is a good reason. They are working with smooth, pre-finished blanks. I’m using hand cut pieces that are still a bit rough around the edges. Happily, I discovered that by leaving the edges exposed to the acid, these were naturally smoothed and finished by the treatment. Much less work filing and sanding for me! And you’ll notice in these earring components the very cool rounded ridge and striation marks all along the edge…love this!
Still learning to “read” the process…this pair needed to stay in the acid a little longer.
These last three photos were taken a sunset on my porch.
Love the touch of gold added to the gorgeous patina!
Just listed a few of these pieces in my Etsy shop !
Hi, My name is Lynda.
Exploring the wide world of jewelry making in my retirement from teaching. I'm grateful to be a part of this worldwide community of jewelry bloggers, where I receive encouragement, inspiration, and sometimes...a kick in the pants to take a risk!
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