Friday, 21 September 2012

Experiments in Copper Etching

I'm always interested in discovering new crafts, especially when I can incorporate them into my books in some way.  Recently I've been experimenting with copper etching, with the help of some wonderful tutorials on the Internet.  Basically, a design is applied to the surface of a copper blank, and this acts as a resist (meaning that areas left untouched will be etched, leaving your design as a raised surface).



A number of suggestions were put forward as to the best resist to use, ranging from a Sharpie permanent marker, to acrylic paint to nail varnish.  I experimented with the Sharpie and nail varnish, and got satisfactory results with both.

After covering the back of the copper blank with resist, the etching process begins by suspending the piece in a tub of ferric chloride.  I purchased my ferric chlorid from Maplin, but I would imagine this would be available at art shops.  Opinion varies as to how long to leave the copper in the solution, but keep checking, and after 30 minutes or so, the solution should have worked its magic.

This is my first attempt, and admittedly, it looks a little 'rough', but I quite like that.  I added it to my most recent book creation, and I love the effect of the etched copper against the luxurious velvet effect covering.

Burgundy velvet postbinding journal by GlassRoofBooks

As always, searching around on Etsy, I found some amazing examples of 'proper' copper etching, which brought home to me how much of a beginner I am when it comes to etching, and also how many talented people there are out there.

I love these dragonfly earrings by KismetStudiosOnEtsy
Such a simple design, by highly effective

MarieOfSweden has some truly beautiful items in her shop.  I was spoilt for choice, but this etching is typical of her style.  Simply stunning.

These Shooting stars copper etched earrings are another of my favourites, by CabariBeads.  I love the patina effect, which adds depth to the imagery.

So there we have it.  Any tips by those in the know regarding copper etching, I'd love to hear from you.  And anyone who fancies having a go, I found the Internet tutorials below very helpful.

Happy etching!

Copperheart - Tutorial: How to etch copper

Hodgepodgerie: Etching Copper

Autumn Equinox: Copper Etching Tutorial

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sara! I'm glad that you've found a new craft to experiment with. I still find the etching procedure both exciting and fascinating, even after 2,5 years of doing it. Your first attempt looks good, and it's a really clever idea to use the metal on your hand bound books too. Should you want to make more intricate designs in the future, try the Press 'n' Peel film, it gives more control over the designs. (Google Press 'n' Peel or contact me if you're interested in the how-to.) Also, thanks for the link to my Etsy shop and your kind words about the etched calligraphy jewellery I make!

    /Marie Fredriksson, Sweden