Saturday, March 31, 2012

Etching Metal Tutorial

Hi all
Kristin Hubick from Retrocafeart has asked me to do a tutorial for you all on how I etch metal after she saw my etched metal suitcase necklace from my previous post made using her small brass suitcases from her shop. Those of you who etch metal and adore doing so as I do, would know its very hard to actually etch a 3D object like a working small brass suitcase as the item being etched is floated on the etchant surface not sitting on the bottom of the tray covered in solution... so how to etch just one side and not affect other parts. I digress though...first how to etch at all.
I've never made a secret of the fact that the one and only artistic gorgeous Jen Crossley taught me hands on etching...I say "hands on" as I had read how to do it and watched YouTube how too's but learning hands on was the only way I truly KNEW how to do hands are my real teacher in a class situation. Jen has given me the green light to write this too. I know I didn't necessarily have to ask her as its a technique freely available over the web but I wouldn't have done it without her consent....that's just me :o). Besides Jen has become my friend, inspiration and mentor in more ways then I can think of.

                                     ETCHING METAL the Basics

• Metal to etch. Works with Copper, Nickel/Silver and Brass. Use .5mm (24gauge) thick sheets
• Black sharpie marker.
• Straight edged tin snips.
• Jewellers saw OR metal bench block and chasing hammer. Cover hammer flat end with leather to prevent it marking the metal.
• Hand held metal files. Also called Bastards.
• Fine Wet/Dry sandpaper.
• Stamps of choice.
• Stazon ink black. Ensure the pad is very well inked.
• Rubbing Alcohol. I use Isocol available from super markets.
• Heat gun.
• Masking tape or double sided tape and thin foam sheet.
• Disposable plastic flat bottomed containers. One small and one larger.
• Ferric Chloride Etchant solution- available at Altronics on line in Oz
• Sodium Bicarbonate powder.
• Disposable gloves, eye protecting glasses and Apron.

1) a-Draw shape to cut from the metal of choice with black Sharpie. Don eye wear protectors. b-Cut metal out with straight edged tin snips or use a jewellers saw. Be careful as the cut metal edges are VERY sharp. c-Hammer the cut piece flat on a metal bench block, using a chasing hammer. The metal block is also known as a chasing block. You wont have to do this if you used the jewellers saw.




2) Keep eye protectors on. d-Using the hand file, file the cut metal edges. Push the file down the metal edge away from you. This makes the edges less sharp. Do both sides. Remove eye wear. e-Wet the wet/dry sand paper and sand the metal in a circular motion or go up and down and then left and right. This creates a tooth for stamping. f-Don gloves and spray some rubbing alcohol on the metal and wipe over with a soft cloth to remove sanded metal shavings and finger prints as they can interfere with the etching process.




3) g-Ink stamp with a wet black Stazon ink pad and stamp image onto the sanded side of the metal. If it isn’t a good image you can wipe it back off with rubbing alcohol and redo it. Of course you can draw a design of your choice with a Sharpie and not stamp if you wish. The Sharpie and Stazon ink resist the etchant solution. Heat set the image with a heat gun. Be careful as the metal gets very hot. Leave till metal is cool again.


4) h-You can then attach the metal to foam with double sided tape image side up or attach strips of masking tape to the back of the stamped metal. Don eye wear, gloves and Apron. Work in a well ventilated place like outside if able. Pour approx 1cm deep etchant solution into a small flat bottomed plastic container. i-Place the stamped metal attached to masking tape or the foam in the container with the image side down so that the metal is suspended by the tape or floating on top with the foam but in full contact of the etchant solution. It needs to float on the surface so the small metal particles that come off during etching can sink to the bottom away from the etched surface.

               foam with double sided tape on bottom


               Etchant solution


Etching time can vary depending on if you are in a colder climate. Usually it takes 40-60minutes. You can speed it up by placing the container holding the poured etchant solution in a larger container of warm water. It works quicker if you are outside on a sunny day too. To check if the etched process is done lift up a small section of the metal from the etchant bath and run a pinky on a small section. It will feel raised if ready. WASH your pinky well under running water.

5) When done wear eye wear again and remove the metal from the etchant solution. Partly fill a larger disposable container with warm water that has a j-sodium bicarbonate in it. k-Wash the metal in the bi carb solution and also rub the surface with some dry bi carb powder as this neutralizes the etchant solution and stops the metal continuing to etch. Rinse off under tap and leave till dry. lPour used etchant solution into the bi carb solution. It will bubble and then settle and can now be m-disposed off safely at a dump in secure fitting glass or plastic bottles. Do not pour it down the sink.





6) You can do a few things here as can add inks to the etched metal, patina it by dunking it in a Liver Of Sulphate solution or use Black Patina For Solder, paint over it etc or leave it as is. Regardless of what you decide to do the next step after that is to n-sand it again so the etched metal looks shiny again and the stamped image will become more defined. You can use a fine wet/dry sand paper first and then a slightly dry coarser one. If you leave it raw lastly wipe over the metal again with Isocol. Seal with metal spray or Crystal kote or other suitable metal sealant.


Well that's the how too so how did I etch a 3D item like these little brass perfume bottles and the brass suitcases?

It took me several days to work this out...I'd play with this or that and then leave it on my messy desk. The trick was to make a template in cardstock of the shape, draw that on a thin piece of foam(but wider then the item is) by tracing around the template with a sharpie marker. Then cut out the drawn shape making it deep enough for the item to sit in so only one surface is exposed! As a precaution I also wrapped the edges of the suitcases and perfume bottles with tape before embedding them in the foam as well.

 Usually I would only use one piece of foam with double sided tape attached that I then attached the stamped metal to etch onto but this time I used three pieces...the one I embedded the 3D brass items (above) in, the backing foam in the middle to make sure the brass wasn't too heavy and the foam still floated on the surface and the smaller piece as handle.

So here they are after etching. The second suitcase I already used to make the necklace below and  in the previous post. The little perfume bottles remind me of small doll shapes so I am hunting for small doll heads to hack off to use on evil sounding LOL...I have tried two dolls but they are not hollow. May make a mould and try resin yet :o)

Under the door of the suitcase is an Ice Resin filled washer with a vintage image in the base.

In the base of the suitcase is a tin type image of a child, a tiny frozen charlotte and a tiny real pencil. Both
the frozen charlotte and the pencil are from Retro Cafe Art Gallery. Ice Resin was then poured on top.

So there you have it folks etching with metal and how to do so using 3D metal objects. Have fun.
Annette In Oz

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Ring and Necklaces

Telstra fixed my phone at last wahoo. My arm is still painful a little but each week is better then the last and I am able to create without too much poain at last. I finally got to try my new riveting/eyelet setting system for metal and metal Pepe punches that I got from Jen Crossley's shop Amarkintime. I have allot of small pieces of metal left over and had put them aside to make some hand made ring blanks. Here is the first I made. It has an adjustable brass band which is riveted to a punched brass circle. On top I have attached a bottle cap with a bird image, gauze and tiny eggs inside that is then filled with glorious Ice Resin.

While I waited for the Resin to set I cut a heart shape with my jewellers saw in some scrap nickel silver. I etched it and used a brass washer as a bezel. Inside is a vintage image covered in Ice Resin. On top was something I found on the ground...a little silver ring with a nobbly edge...I have no idea what it is LOL. Around the edge is some diamante trim. A vintage chandelier charm hangs at the base.

Lastly I had some small brass suitcases that I got from Kristin at Retroartcafe. I knew I wanted to etch these but it took me a few days to work out just how to do this only on one side and not damage the parts I didn't wish to etch. I finally worked it out and it came up a treat. I love how you can put things inside these.

 I've also etched another one plus some small brass perfume bottles that I am trying to make heads for as they look like small bodies LOL. Last weekend I went to Sydney for an amazing but quick visit with Trizzy(Teresa Crouch) where I also attended an art retreat that Trizzy and her friend Vickie Deans organized. I'll post some pictures and what we made soon re that. :o)
Annette In Oz

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Seven Deadly Sins

My phone and internet only worked for 1 day and we have now waited another 6 days till this am when a Telstra man and fixed the line again. Hopefuly this time it will stay fixed!! I Totally forgot to put up the images of the last Collaborative book swap I was in. It arrived just prior to me going to New Zealand last September. There were only 8 of us in the swap and the theme was The Seven Deadly Sins. I was the last person to sign up so I did the the contents page. Each page had a colour chosen as well. Here is the lovely tactile cover using all the colours for the book pages.

The front and back of the contents page by me.

Red-Wrath page by Gail Smith

Yellow-Pride page by Micky Choo.

Brown-Sloth page by Teresa Abajo.

Green-Envy page by Michelle Brown

Aqua-Greed page by Greta Young

Pink-Lust page by Evelyn Watt

Purple-Glutony page by Jo hughes.

My shoulder is much better though still a bit sore when I raise my arm above my head or if I inadvertantly put too much pressure thru it. So I have finally been able to create a few more pieces of jewellery. I'm waiting for the Ice Resin to set on them and then I shall load them into here as well. I've made a handmade adjustable bottle cap ring, an etched nickle/silver heart necklace and I also etched some tiny brass suitcases and purfume bottles that I got from Retrocafeart. It took me several days to work out how to etch just one side and protect the rest on the brass suitcases and perfume bottles, while protecting what I didn't want to etch but work it out I did :o)
Annette In Oz

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Steampunk bracelets-"He Is Hot For Her" and "First Love" .

I had fun sifting thru my stash to make two bracelets. I used plain bezel blank bracelets. Ive had them for ages and don't recall where I got them originaly from but I think it may have been from Bsue Boutique. This first one has a male and lady vintage image at each end with an old washer over each image, seperated by watch parts and a porceline Hot tap top in the middle. I used ice resin over the images and under the watch and tap parts. "He Is Hot For Her" or "She Is Hot For Him" is vintage brass toned.

"First Love" has vintage children images covered in Ice Resin and  "XOX" spelt using old type writter letters from Retrocafeart. This one is vintage silver toned.

Both were no strain to my sore arm but where fun to make. I can't wait till I am allowed to drive again so I can wear them and my rings out and about. I love making things to wear that nobody else has :o). Next I want to try and make an adjustable ring froms some scraps using my new rivet system tool set and Pepe punches I got from Jen Crossley's shop A Mark In Time

Annette In Oz

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ring Ring Ring

Oh wow we have not had a full Internet coverage for a week and a half after lightning struck a tree on our block knocking out the bore(water supply to the town water here) and the phone line/Internet access to our computer. The bore was fixed last Monday and Telstra finaly came and fixed the phone line an hour ago yeah so here I am. Its now week five post rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder. Its still painful with use/on movement but defiantly not as bad as a few weeks ago...slow steps indeed *sigh*. I see the specialist next Monday and am hopping I am allowed to drive and be able to move the arm more after that. I've so missed doing my art. I gave in a few days ago and made some simple resin filled rings...nothing too strenuous just some punched out vintage images and vintage findings in bezel rings that I got from Retrocafeart and then ice resin filled them. Here they are...

This copper one has a tiny vintage plastic toy (also from Retrocafeart) over vintage paper in it...worn boobs and all.

 This is one of my favs. Its silver toned and has an old kinetic watch face with a vintage glass dolls eye from Retrocafeart.

 A small silver toned square one with a tin type photo.

 A larger rectangular ring with Vintage papers, old tin type photo and a brass pen nib.

 Another copper ring with a cs watch face, TH spinner and metal rose charm.

 I like this one too LOL...has cs watch face, vintage male image and an old fuse embedded in the resin.

I also made some bracelets that I shall load up later. Pre surgery I had prepared and cut lots of brass and nickel/silver metal ready to make cuffs, necklaces and etched metal houses. On Sunday I got some etching done and thought I had been very kind to my left arm but woke up Monday with my arm quite sore again just from holding the metal to clean it after finishing the etching process. So actually making the etched pieces will have to wait a bit again...slow arty steps indeed :o).
Annette In Oz


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