The Moment is Now

I spend so much time thinking about what next that I often don't notice what I am doing at the moment. I am working on relaxing my mind so I can be open to the flow. Seems like when I am creating something the hours in my studio fly by.

My creative process, great learning resources, and ways to help the planet by repurposing are the theme of this blog. You are about to enter "the world according to Jan." Hope you find it a-musing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Instructions for etching metal

Metal etching needs to be done outside so I like to wait for a nice sunny day.  I have this funky bench outside the Shiva shop so I gathered my supplies.

Etching recipe is two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part muriatic acid.  You need either a ceramic or plastic tube for this mixture.  Muriatic acid is used to clean concrete, but they didn't have it at the local Home Depot.  They did have it however at the local Fred Meyers.  Who knows what that was all about. Anyway obviously not too difficult to find the necessary ingredients for the etching solution. 

Next you need to get out some rubber stamps and some ink.  Statz on is the kind of ink to use because it needs to be a permanent type ink.  You can also draw images with a sharpie pen. Put masking tape on the back of the metal to prevent it from etching.  Place the metal in the plastic tub with the etching solution for about 15 minutes.  The longer you leave it in the more etched it will become.

The etching solution will turn an interesting green color.  Agitate the metal periodically.  Wear plastic gloves because you are dealing with an acid here.  When it is finished in the acid, take it out with tweezers and place in another container of water and baking soda.  No special recipe here but there should be enough soda that some minor bubbling action happens when you put the metal in it.

It won't look all that great when you take it out of this solution.  The ink will still be on the metal, so I use rubbing alcohol and a green kitchen scrubber to get it off.  I clean the front and the back with the scrubber.  You can use scotchbrite but I just use the ones from the dollar stores for this clean up.   The picture shows what the metal looks like after some initial clean up.

 When I cut this up to use for jewelry, I will tumble with stainless steel shot in my rock tumbler and then put a patina on it.  I may either torch patina it or use liver of sulfur.  I'll post a piece using some of the etched metal when I get it made.

 Here's another piece that I drew the Om symbol on just to see how it would come out.  I didn't really leave it in long enough so I wasn't too happy with the results.  I put it back in the acid bath for a while, but still not too happy with it.

When you are finished etching, pour the acid bath into the baking soda rinse.  There will be a lot of bubbling action as the acid neutralizes.  It is now safe to disposed of.  I just pour it out in the woods but you might not all have that option.  I am pretty certain the sink is fine since it can't be any worse than a drain cleaner. 

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I look forward to reading your comments so thanks for taking the time to write a little something. Wishing you the best of all possible good. Jan E O