I etch copper, brass, and nickel silver on a regular basis.
Fry’s has a gallon of circuit board etching chemical for $19.00.
This will last quite a while. Use rubber gloves, it stains.
The etching can be speeded up if its placed on a heating pad or hot
plate on warm. Key Word: WARM! Some of the resists will dissolve
under heat, so test first.
Some people use a fish tank air supply to bubble up and around the
metal while etching, keeps the chemical fresh on the metal and keeps
the chemical in motion. You can get an air supply for about $7 and a
bubbler fitting for the end of the hose for about $3. It also helps
remove the metal that is etched off.
I etch in a large pyrex bowl, put chop-sticks in the bottom to let
the chemical move around, and put the strips of metal on the
chop-sticks. Sometimes, if doing several at a time, I make a rack
and put the bracelets in vertical, long side up, and a bubbler under
I buy all three metals in 6 inch x 36 inch strips, and cut off 1=BD
x 6 inch strips for bracelets.
Stamp the back with your logo, then cover the back of the bracelets
with clear packing taps so it doesn’t get etched.
Shape the ends to make them round or tapered.
For patterns, I go to Hobby Lobby or Michaels and buy rubber stamps,
stamp pads, and patterns for clay with random patterns. Buy some
rubber cement, some thinner, and a roller.
You can use:
Permanent magic markers. Draw pictures and write love words,
Rubber stamp ink
Dribble on rubber cement in lines and swirls
Use a fork or toothpick to mess up the rubber cement.
Screen printing ink or silk screen patterns on the metal. I make
silk screens of patterns that really sell.
Thin rubber cement, put it on a sheet of glass, use the roller to
even it out and stamp it with the rubber stamp then stamp the metal
leaving a rubber cement pattern. This will not come off under heat
and will allow the deepest etching.
There is some release paper that you can copy to on a copier,
then iron on the metal, but I have tired this to the tune of about
$30 with no success. Some users swear by this, and get great
details. I’d love to learn the secret if you have one. I have access
to every copier made here at work, can get the image on the paper,
but it never irons on correctly.
After its etched, clean it with soap and water, buff the top, shape
it and sell it. I sell mine for $35.
For a really nice effect on copper, dampen it, sprinkle it with
salt, put it in a sealed freezer bag with a shot of ammonia in a
cup. In 4-12 hours, it will have formed a green-blue patina. Buff
off the top, shine it, form it, coat it with lacquer and sell it.
For another nice effect on copper, heat it before you buff the top,
red hot then dashed in water will leave a nice Red Oxide pattern.
I have the formulas for several other patinas for copper and brass
if anyone needs them.
Love and God Bless