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!
Spoiler alert! This is a rather long post…but please stay tuned for the surprise ending!
First up. A milestone reached… I’ve finally graduated from bezel setting stones in a classroom environment to my own home. This required the purchase of a couple of helpful tools…a bezel rocker( also known as a bezel pusher) and a burnisher. Both inexpensive, but necessary for this work. And both were available at a downtown jewelry supply store…San Diego has a historic eight story jewelry building with a couple of supply stores open to the public, watch repair, showrooms of diamond and pearls suppliers, wax casting services…so fun exploring each floor. Very sparkly.
This latest piece went together pretty easily. So excited for find an inexpensive strand of turquoise chunks at a local bead store that went perfectly with this pendant stone.
I was able to solder the three bails quickly with my new Sterno torch.
And here’s a little side story…I purchased a Sterno Candlelamp culinary torch about a year ago because I wanted something with a little more fire power for copper and larger pieces of metal. It worked great…loved its ease. Then one day it wouldn’t light. After searching the web for troubleshooting ideas, I contacted Sterno directly and was nicely referred to their company communications manager and executive chef Thad Smith. What a wonderful experience…not only did he offer to replace my torch, but when he found out I have a jewelry blog, Thad sent two additional torches for me to give away! Wow!
So, blogger friends, here’s the fun for you…I’m giving away two Sterno torches. A few things to consider before you throw your name into the hat…
And I am holding off until Monday, April 13, for the giveaway, so folks have time to do a little research and thinking about it. May or may not be what would fit your needs and desires in a torch. Sadly, due to unruly foreign postage, I am sorry to limit this to U.S. readers.
First this giveaway is just the torch. You will need to purchase a canister of Sterno butane that fits the torch. I’m not brave enough to send this through the mail. There happens to be a Costco in my city that caters to restaurants and cooking needs…amazing, I know…so I was able to purchase a 4 pack. Cheap. This will last me a loooong time. Also saw that it was available at my local Sam’s Club…4 pack for under six dollars.
You might also wish to watch this little video with Thad Smith demoing the torch.
Remember the giveaway of the torches will start with on a new post on Monday. I’ll leave it open for one week and then draw two names on Tuesday, April 21st, so be sure you leave an email contact with your comment. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to answer as best I can.
Thanks again to Thad Smith and the Sterno company
for this wonderful opportunity to share with you all!
This piece has been in process for many weeks…and today, it is finished. Last step was three hours in the tumbler…after oxidizing and hand polishing. My nails are a total mess, but I’m happy-hearted.
This is by far my most challenging piece of jewelry.
And on to the next project…another pendant necklace. This time I wanted to use an etched copper back plate. The ocean jasper will first be soldered to a sterling silver back plate. Trimmed to leave a bit of silver edge showing around the stone. I’m going for a layered look. The small green agate will hang below the pendant.
In my mind at least, this is how it will look. We shall see…
I am beginning the new year with some challenging work. And although there are some definite frustrations going on, it feels really good to try something hard. Before Christmas, I took a class on tinning pendants with a soldering iron…Always wanted to give this a try. It seemed pretty easy under the watchful eye of the instructor, so I sent in a last-minute request to Santa for a soldering iron and jewelry quality silver solder. And just in case Santa heard my plea, I mailed away for some glass slides.
Super excited to give this a try. However, neglected to read up on tinning the soldering tip before tinning a piece and think I ruined the tip. Luckily there was an extra couple of tips in the package and I realized I’d better do some internet investigating on how to do this. Better luck the second go round. Still learning and my efforts were a bit gloopy, but think I’ll get the hang of it with more practice. Adding the jump ring required several tries and a third hand tool.
Eiffel Tower ornament made in the class.
Love the touch of silk.
I also gave tinning a try one of my polymer clay hearts,
just to see if it would work.
Might make some cute Valentine necklaces.
This is my first and only attempt at home with my new Christmas present…pretty rough edges, so I decided to add some silver blobs at the top corners and make it look “organic”, “rustic”, and “artisan”. Covers a lot of imperfections, I hope.
Hard Work, part two…I enrolled in the adult school metals class again, mainly to work on bezel setting stones. I have been inspired by the work of Deborah at Cold Feet Studio. Love the flowing, organic look of her pieces. She paints, quilts, doodles, and writes, too. An amazing artist.
So, instead of just the bezel and stone, I am trying a little bit of detailed work. I mean a very little…just a few silver blobs and a vine-looking bail for a pendant. Here’s a peek at my progress. These were my choices for the stone. I chose the lapis agate. It took me three tries to successfully solder the bezel. Grrr…
The bezel is now soldered to the back plate, but these details are just sitting there for this photo. Next week, I’ll attempt to attach them. Then, there’s the finishing work of setting the stone and filing and sanding the back plate. Not sure if I’ll antique the silver yet, but I definitely want to hand make the chain, with perhaps some silver wrapped lapis beads. The best news so far was an easy-peasy sawing experience for the back plate.
Not one broken blade!
I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress. Wish me luck !
Earrings Everyday has a monthly earring challenge that I occasionally participate in…
love that it’s a quick turn around time, so if I decide to jump in on a particular month,
then I need to follow through quickly.
This month’s inspiration was just too cool and out there for me to pass up…
a student short film from Gobelins, l’ecole de l’Image,in Paris.
This 3 plus minute wonder struck the creative nerve of Erin Prais-Hintz who took charge of
November’s We’re All Ears Challenge.
Kudos, Erin, for sharing this with us. Loved it!
I was struck by the gorgeous imagery of mist and water…
the transformational power of the water in that other-worldly creature.
My earrings are made from 18 gauge sterling silver wire,
formed into beautiful swirls…dripping with opalite droplets.
And just to show how lovely these are on…
(Thank you, dear Tay, for being my model for this shot )
A side note: I looked up the meaning of the film’s title, Nebula…I kind of had an idea, but not really.
A nebula (from Latin: “cloud”; pl. nebulae or nebulæ, with ligature, or nebulas) is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Originally, nebula was a name for any diffuse astronomical object, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way.
So, I went back and watched this little wonder again with a new appreciation…
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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