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1  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / So easy I am cheating- copper etching on: April 19, 2006 10:59:02 AM
I have been trying to etch metal with varying results over the years.  I live in Alaska and it is very expensive to get the "real" stuff here because of shipping.  I first read about copper etching here http://www.makersgallery.com/goss/etch.html but had a hard time at resists.  Please read her page for the etching process, I have added a quote here, but she tells it so much better than I.  
"This method of etching uses a prepared ferric chloride solution which also contains hydrochloric acid. This "etchant" is not a pure acid, but etches copper and copper alloys (like brass and bronze). It will not work on silver. It is available from electronics supply shops, such as Radio Shack or from chemical suppliers. It is generally used to clean or etch copper circuit boards. It can also be found at some printmakers' supply stores.

Advantages over Acid etching:
not a pure acid; does not require dilution; is not as dangerous or tricky to use
resists are readily available and easy to use:
permanent markers that are made for writing on plastic can be used as a resist, which allows for drawing and writing directly on the metal. Photocopies, liquid floor wax and packing tape can also be used as resist:
fast working, clean bite "

I found that using a pen did not hold up well and showed all of the lines as the pen passed over itself.  I also have terrible handwriting and don't like my drawing skills much.  So, about a month ago I have been diddling with trying to make my earcards nicer and all this stuff, I went to the stamp store and bought some stamps and etching powder.   They did not help my earcard in any way, but my mind was thinking... So, after trial and error I have found a way to stamp and etch copper.

First, the copper must be sanded with a fine/medium grit paper.  I actually use nail files from the beauty supply, regular sand paper was a pain.  Making sanding sticks was worse.  The whole surface should be sanded clean and have a matte finish.  If it isn't, the liquid moves and the results are spotty.  Use the etching pad, stamp, apply powder, shake off and clean up the design.  Now is the tricky part, use the heat gun, it takes longer because the metal is a conductor and is cold, needs to heat up, then stays hot for a while.  I overheat it to get the powder to flow.  Make sure you have your piece on a heat resistant surface.  I use a 6" anvil.  It is metal, but is too big to get hot and cools my piece off faster because I am impatient.

I use nail polish to cover the back and any areas I don't want etched.  I tried to paint with polish as the resist, which would work, but I did not get the results (mostly because of the ugly design).  You could also use contact paper, packing tape and make a stencil, but I am impatient.  

Pop the creation in the ferric chloride, and wait...  I usually check it after about 15 minutes, which isn't long enough.  I use a toothpick to see if it is etching, a hemostat for tweezers.  The acid gets black and it is hard to see what is going on so rinse and check, then chuck it back in the solution.  It can stain clothes and your skin so be careful when chucking.  I should wear gloves, you should wear gloves.  

When it is done, I brass brush it, pick off the etching (with the side of a dull pocketknife) use nail polish remover on the back and there it is!  I soldered it to this bracelet and used a rivet, mostly for decorative purposes.  Oh, I hammered the edges as well.  I used 20g for the copper and etched it for a while so it was deep as I was making a cuff that would have to withstand some wear and tear.  I don't much like the thinner metal I've used, not as dramatic.  Anyway, here is the finished product.  Easy peasey!

2  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / knit wire bracelet on: March 23, 2006 12:28:11 PM
Knit this wire bracelet from the book "Great Wire Jewelry" by Irene From Peterson.  I didn't use her step by step too much, just looked at the knit and went to town, it was really easy, I mean I feel like I am cheating.  She doesn't use any solder on hers, but I soldered the ends on and used a commercial clasp.  I haven't been very successful in having my clasps look professional.  This one is made from 22 gauge sterling silver, sterling tubing, sterling beads and clasp.  It is a pretty heafty size.

the ends are a cut piece of tube with a flying saucer shaped bead on the end.

a close up.
I made a tiny chain using 28 g pure silver wire, which looks fine far away, but I have some learning to do on that size wire.  The bead is one I wove from the 28g wire over 18g half round and made a tube, cut it apart, put jump rings on the end and there it is.

I love working with wire, hence, barbwire.


3  COOKING / Dessert / Old Rusty Horse Shoe-basic tut on: March 23, 2006 11:59:02 AM
When we were in Italy, there were these chocolate shops that had all kinds of very real looking rusty tools molded in chocolate.  I bought a horse shoe for my daughter.  I had to come up with something for a fund raiser for a horse club she is in, so I copied the horse shoe.  I didn't think it would be too hard.

Here is the original shoe (from my horse Spiffy) and the mold I made.  To prepare the shoe I scrubbed it with a brush, put it in the dishwasher and sealed it with clear acrylic spray.  I brushed it with flour before I pushed it in the clay.  The mold was made from the Sculpy clay that stays bendy when it is done.  I pushed the shoe into the clay, the white clay I added in because the bottom wasn't quite right, next time I wouldn't add any because it made a ridge, but wasn't bad in the final result so I left it alone, not knowing how many times I could use the mold anyway.  The mold was too thick & stiff at first so I took the trusty exacto knife and whittled it away so it was softer than the chocolate.  Th first shoe broke coming out, so the mold needs to be thin.  

All the stuff I used, melted chips, the dark looks better but the milk will get sold.  It takes 1/3 cup chips in the microwave 1:20 to melt.  Brush some cocoa (unsweetened) in the mold so the chocolate releases.  Drop melted chips in the mold then refridgerate until the chocolate is completely dull.  I use the tip of a dull knife to push all the way around the mold to release it from the shoe, peel it out, brush again with cocoa and you have a rusty shoe!

real rusty shoe

So far the mold has made about 10 shoes and is starting to crack a little, it doesn't affect the look and has made it easier to remove, but I am sure it won't last a heck of a lot longer.

4  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / New Rings on: March 03, 2006 12:34:36 PM
Here are a few rings I made.  3 were for commission and the one I have left is on the far right.  The metal is "mukume gane" which at this time I purchase in sheet form and fabricate from there.  I am hoping to make more of my own, but the first few attempts have not worked too well.  The top left one I hammered to give it a faceted look and don't like it much, but my friend did, so I guess that's what matters.

5  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Help! Earcard for display just ugly... on: February 24, 2006 11:08:36 AM
I am new to these forums and just love them!  However, they are really taking me far away from what I do.  Oh well...

Anyway, I hate my earcards and hate the way my display looks when all of the cards are together.  I have spent so much money on these things, then to get them together and look dull.  I have some photos of some of my stuff along with the hated earcard.  I make sterling silver jewelry mainly, some beading but not much, more set stones.  I have been fairly successful at the two shows I have done, but still don't have that professional edge on the display.  Help!  

Thanks for your help.

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