This site has moved! Old posts will remain here but new posts will be at Please go there to keep up with new content and re-subscribe!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


I've been itching to learn some new techniques to expand my jewelry designs so, with Christmas out of the way and more time on my hands I got started!  I really wanted to pick up torch enameling and I was thinking of using my copper clay (that's still untouched) to create pieces with raised designs on to enamel cloisonne style.

However some quick research into enameling revealed the need for a mask, good ventilation etc. so I decided, since my studio is still in my bedroom, I'd have to put that idea on hold. One day I'll have a house with a nice, ground floor studio with proper ventilation and a kiln... or I'll rent out studio space somewhere.

During my research I discovered this awesome blog and there, alongside a tutorial for enameling, was a tutorial explaining how to etch copper. The more I read, the more I thought it sounded like the perfect way to create texture on my pieces and not too difficult to get started.

Painting the resist through a handmade stencil
Not long after I went a bought some Ferric Chloride (from Blick), cheap, white Acrylic paint and a small plastic container with a lid so I could use it to etch in and then also keep the Ferric Chloride in it when I'm done. While I was in Blick I also spotted some plastic stencilling sheets and added them to the basket!

Once I got all the exciting new stuff home I couldn't bring myself to use it. What should I etch on first? What design should I do? What if it doesn't work and I waste my copper sheet. Eventually the fear was replaced by inspiration and I finally got started.

Copper ready for etching

I settled on a simple, barcode-style design after realising the cute pattern of tiny flowers I'd first thought of would take me forever to cut out the stencil. I cut a strip off the stencil sheet and cut out the pattern, then stenciled it onto a simple copper disc.

Copper in the etching solution

I loved the masking tape suggestion for suspending the copper in the Ferric Chloride and it was so simple to setup. I wasn't really sure how long to leave it for. The solution around the copper went green straight away so I was worried it would be super fast process and I kept checking it every few minutes. However it took much longer, I think I left it about half an hour before I got impatient and took it out! Nail polish remover took off the acrylic paint easily.

Etched copper disc

This is the finished result. You can see the lines aren't straight but the lines of paint weren't straight either and I like the more organic feel of it. It comes out beautifully shiny but the blog recommended torch annealing the piece to be sure all the Ferric Chloride has been removed. Of course that turned my shiny piece black but my flame did glow green for a good few seconds under the torch.

I finished the disc off with another new product and technique which I'm excited to show you in a future post!

1 comment:

  1. It's so cool! I can't wait to see how you finish the piece....