In addition to what I learned in the class, I peruse the internet,especially YouTube, which is just a trove of information and tips and tricks. Several days ago I was looking at copper jewelry videos and came upon something ASTOUNDING!—well, to me at least. People are out there making etched copper jewelry, using etching masks that they cut on their Silhouette cutting machines. Worlds collide! My two, current, most favorite things working together. I had to try this. The stuff I was seeing online was wonderful. But I knew nothing about etching copper, so onto YouTube I went and learned all about it and I got scared. It involves acid. Bad acid. I am not acquainted with acid, except for horrible stories about people being disfigured by having acid thrown on them, or gruesome stories about body parts dissolved in acid. And I never studied chemistry where I might have learned something about it. Somehow I managed to get through both high school and college without a chemistry class. So yesterday I screwed up my courage and went shopping for acid and chemical gloves from the hardware store and Pyrex containers from the thrift store and hydrogen peroxide from the drugstore and today I was ready to etch.
I had cut a small snowflake, from adhesive backed vinyl, with my cutter and stuck it to a piece of copper sheet that I had prepared. I covered the back and edges with packing tape and made a tab of packing tape that I could use to lift my copper piece into and out of the acid bath. The snowflake sticker and tape would protect the copper where they were placed. The uncovered areas would be etched by the acid. A bucket of water and baking soda were standing by to neutralize the acid when it was done. Since I was going to need good ventilation, and it was raining outside, I worked in the greenhouse, with window and both doors open and fan on.
I prepared the mixture of hydrogen peroxide and Muriatic acid in my glass bowl, then carefully lowered the copper piece into the acid mixture.
Soon I could see bubbles forming on the surface and the acid mixture began to turn green. After about 25 minutes I pulled it out and dunked it into the soda and water to neutralize and stop the action.
I dried it off, cleaned up all the etching stuff, and went to the studio where I painted it with ammonia and salt to give the etched area a little patina. When that dried I removed the tape and the snowflake vinyl, which did not come off easily. I used a pin to pick it off a chunk at a time. It is interesting. I expected the etched area to be a little rough, but it’s smooth and lower than the unetched places.
Then I polished it with fine steel wool and I’m pretty pleased!
I’m looking forward to more! I’m excited and not so scared of acid anymore. I am an old dog, but I can still learn something new. And my little copper snowflake? I think I’ll put a pin back on it and pin it to my coat.
That is astonishingly beautiful! JOB WELL DONE....Brave new world! I expect to see that in person someday.ReplyDelete
That turned out gorgeous! A friend and I were talking at the dog park the other day about how getting older doesn't mean you stop having new experiences. Ours this year were in the new hip and knee category, so yours is a lot more fun!ReplyDelete
Fantastic! I became a huge fan of Mary's many years ago and have 2 or 3 of her videos as well as her books. I played with it a lot, but didn't really want to delve into jewelry - just incorporated it into my mixed media fiber art. Wish I could take a workshop with her, but I've had to cut back on my stash a lot and considering letting all the copper stash loose, since I haven't used any of it in at least 3 years. I'd love to get at it again, but space dictates getting off a lot my "stuff".... sigh.ReplyDelete
wowsers!! I love, love, love your snowflake and it will make a wonderful pin! Hip hip hooray for new tricks!ReplyDelete
Very pretty and I'm sure you are having fun with the new toys.ReplyDelete
i was trying to come up with a phrase that would raise you head and shoulders above Martha Stewart, only in the art sphere, but I think I’ll just say wow! and leave it at that. 👍😘ReplyDelete
Beautiful...and let us know if you decide to sell any of those earrings!ReplyDelete