Etching on Metal Complex Blanks

This week I will be showing you a very old technique known as etching.  I absolutely love the results that can be achieved on metal this way but I will say working with Etchant, the chemical you need to make the process work may not be your cup of tea.

Etchant is sold at places like Radio Shack.  It is mainly purchased by computer repair people who need to remove copper from computer parts.  I work very carefully around this chemical.  I wear gloves and I dispose of the left over etchant at my local Recycling Depot.  I also only work in the garage.

The only other product you need is baking soda which stops Etchant from continuing to etch.

You need to decide what you want want to etch.  I like to use rubber stamps for the imagery.  Others like to draw their own images on metal.

You need to draw with a permanent black ink.  You can use a solvent based black ink pad or a black sharpie market.  All you need to remember is that whatever is black….will not be etched.

I am using copper blanks from the Metal Complex line.  You need to clean your metal thoroughly and then I use a little steel wool to do a final clean.

I stamped this famous face on several copper square blanks.

Then with a strip of masking tape I have hung the copper (artwork in the etchant) facedown so that the metal is touching the surface of the etchant.

Now we wait a few hours.  In one hour, the metal will be etched.  For a deeper etching, you need to leave the metal hanging longer.  Some people agitate the bowl every 15 minutes to move the etchant a little.

Tomorrow, I will start to show you results!

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4 Responses to Etching on Metal Complex Blanks

  1. sidney says:

    Glad i sailed into your blog again. your information is very good. i have used the enchant you are writing about also. your pieces are lovely. it is a bit scary. i still an ample supply if i choose to go back to that one.
    i have done quite a bit of etching with Muriatic Acid (pool additive) and Hydrogen Peroxide (house hold supply). you use a 1 to 1 ratio. i think it takes a bit longer, but it’s less intimidating. there is virtually no smell and diluting it is the antidote…remember you add it to you pool. it can be used over and over again with out ever throwing it away, by just regenerating it with equal amounts of the 2 chemicals. it is very inexpensive and you’ll have muriatic acid for a long time. i don’t seem to get the tiny lines that pull from the edges of the copper (which i like) as much with the muriatic and hydro. i have painted the back side of the copper with nail polish and there is no bleed under of the chemicals as with the tape. i also neutralize my copper when done with backing soda and water mix. check out youtube there is lots of good info there also. happy etching. sidney

  2. Aight says:

    Om, it says ‘ All you need to remember is that whatever is black….will be etched.’
    Actually it is the opposite because the black is the ‘ resist. ‘ Whatever is black will not be etched. I cannot wait to see the ‘famous face’ one. The 1 thing I do not like of stamps though, is that they produce relief etchings and look too impressionistic as opposed to say a (inverted image) like that of a toner transferred image manipulated in an image editing program (or in some cases printing programs) before actually being transferred. Please hurry with results, Aight

  3. Hi Aight! Thanks for catching my missed word!

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