Celtic Knot Borders

I wonder if Pauline has had any luck with hints on creating
Celtic Knot borders? I’m interested in making a Celtic Knot
bracelet and wonder if anyone can refer me to a good book or
resource on how to weave them. I’ve tried to engrave the weave
on to sheet silver with some success, but wondered how it is
done traditionally.

Any help would be much appreciated.


Joanne Diver

How about etching the border into the silver. The new photocopy
method of putting the resist right on the metal might be the way
to go for a uniform pattern.

Here are some links for Celtic Knots.

Celtic Knots and other resources

Celtic Knot Applet
The Tragic Tale Of DEC, The Computing Giant That Died Too Soon - Digital.com ork/

The Celtic Doodler http://staff.hotwired.com/thau/celtic/index.html

Tim Hansen


I use a etching process, and get my basic knot work and use a
computer to change them how I want them, it works great and I
can get tons of different peices from one design just by
tweaking it many different ways. A good book store will have
books on the art your looking for. Good Luck!

Could you explain the photocopy method of resist? How do you
get the photocopy to transfer to the metal?

Could you explain the photocopy method of resist?  How do you
get the photocopy to transfer to the metal?

There is a method used in printmaking called “xerox transfer” in
which a photocopy is taken of the design. The copy is then
innundated with acetone (careful, dangerous stuff) and ran
through a press with the metal…the acetone releases the toner
from the paper and is attatched to the metal. Then a weak etching
solution is spread over the metal and the toner acts as an acid
resist. I did some very cool map prints with this method in art
school. It’s fun and easy.

Good luck,
Terry Swift
Swiftkita Design Studios

Re: Photocopy methods of resist. I have been using asphaltum
resist with good luck on silver, and have been using nitric acid
for the etch. I notice that all the articles describing the
"xerox transfer" method refer to its use on copper or brass
with a copper etching mordant. Will the xerox transfer
method work with nitric acid and silver? I understand that it
is the carbon in the photocopy that actually privides the
"resist." Will it hold up on silver and Nitric Acid? thanks
for any help. Alma

When I learned it, we used xerox copies of whatever we wanted to
transfer . . . we rubbed the metal with turpentine, and then
burnished the copy onto the metal. (fresh xerox toner would
remain on the metal.)

The photocopy resist, at least in conjunction with the acetates,
will not work for silver and nitric acid. However, you can make a
master from the copper or brass, then transfer the design from the
master to the precious metal (gold or silver) by rollerprinting
or casting. Delft casting works great for this.

Katherine Palochak

The process of etching sounds interesting. Having never done any
I have no preconceived notions about it (ie am entirely
ignorant). But it occurs to me that the silver could be printed
in another way. Recently I bought a rolling mill and the
manufacturer sent about a process of etching plus

Basically, an etching is prepared using a hard brass or steel.
When it is done the design (intanglio) is transferred to the
silver by rolling the two together in the mill. The manufacturer
(Durston) recommended only rolling through one pass and
recommended having a backing of soft metal on the steel to reduce
the risk of the rollers being marred. Conceivably one could etch
both sides of their steel plate and then use them to roll two
different designs on two pieces of silver.

Has anyone out there ever done this? It looks like a pretty
straightforward extension of the technique one uses to roll found
objects such as screen wire and string to mark metal. It would
seem cheaper to do than direct silver etching as there would not
be the loss of silver into the solution. Plus one could make more
than one copy once the plate is set up.


Search the orchid archives for PNP blue.There was a lot of
discussion last year. This is a Xerox type film that allows a
denser pattern than standard overhead film. Reactive Metals
Studio: http://www.reactivemetals.com carries it. You can
etch with nitric acid with it. There was an article in
“Metalsmith” about this well. Jesse


Neither the Xerox on transparency nor the PnP Blue will hold up
to nitric - we tried it and it just gets eaten away. However,
they should hold up to the salt version that works on silver
(can’t remember the name-the bottle is in the studio, will check
what it is tomorrow)and is available in crystaline form from
photography supply houses.

Donna in WY

The Etching article in Metalsmith was on pages 32-37 vol 17
number 3 summer 1997. The article is very good and describes the
use of transfer etching to prepare bases for champleve enamel. I
have used pnp blue for this purpose since then and it works for
me up to my limited ability. I have a feeling it isn’t the right
technique for celtic knots. The enameling base consists of two
levels- the etched pockets and the unetched base surface. You
could make other levels if you wanted by stoping off part of the
etch process part way, but you would not generate the gradual 3
dimensional surface I think you want. I would think you would
either want to make a wax model and cast the parts or EDM a metal
die and coin the parts (expensive) Maybe I’m missing something??

Just for genral info I’m not doing my etching the standard way.
I’ve discovered a process using a plastic and it’s cut using a
laser. It works quite well, and for knot work it’s great!

    Just for genral info I'm not doing my etching the standard
way. I've discovered a process using a plastic and it's cut
using a laser. It works quite well, and for knot work it's

Sounds very interesting. Could you not fill us in a little more
about this process?

Niels Loevschal
Jyllinge, Denmark (where we have just excellent summer weather now, not
too hot and not too rainy).