First, I have to tell you that I am a working jeweler for over 25
years and have been teaching over 20 years. It’s a pretty rare day
that I find something new that is cheap, easy and really makes my
life easier. I just had one of those discoveries a few days ago and
I thought I would share it with my Orchid friends.

A student came to me with a drawing that he wanted to attach to metal
to saw it out. I recommend a series of answers to transfer the
drawing to metal so the student can choose what works best for
him/her and have alternatives:

	rubber cement

	double sided tape

	cut the pattern out and trace around it

	draw directly on the metal with pencil or permanent pen

	carbon paper (if you can find any)

When I went digging through my tool box to find double sided tape or
rubber cement, I came up dry… I had masking tape, but that isn’t a
great answer… and I had a glue stick. Yes, one of those plain,
cheap, smear it on the paper and glue something on it. I gave him
the glue stick, told him that I had no idea whether or not it would
hold the paper in place on metal, but it was the best I had to offer
at the moment and sent him on his way. He came back a few minutes
later with the piece cut out and said it worked like a champ…
then, I have done some experimenting with it and have found that

It holds the paper very securely to the metal.

The paper comes off the metal fairly easily leaving little residue.

The residue that remains is water soluble (just rinse it off) and
the metal is perfectly clean.

Now I realize that this is not an earth shattering discovery, but it
was one of those forehead slapping moments for me and I hope some of
you can benefit from my “discovery” – then again, maybe everyone
else already knows and I just missed it all these years!! I am
grateful for all I have learned on Orchid and I hope this offering
is beneficial.

Deb Jemmott


I used to do lots of fairly intricate saw work (still do
occasionally) and found “UHU” gluesticks to work better than a
couple of others. There was a blue one which did not work at all I

If absolute accuracy is required though, care must be taken as the
glue dampens the paper somewhat and can distort while being pressed
down on the silver.

Cheers for now, Renate


There is a way of transferring a design onto metal without using any
adhesive materials.

The process uses a photocopy or laser printer image (black image)
and acetone. Photocopiers and laser printers use a black powdered
toner…this toner is dissolved by the acetone and transfers to the

This process can be used with simple or complex designs.

This is how to go about the process:

  1. Your design needs to be a reverse image. If you are saw piercing
    or engraving lettering a reverse image can be done with a word
    processing program, eg: Microsoft Word. Type the inscription and
    arrange it the way you want it to look, then click to reverse the
    image. Then print it out. If you only have an inkjet printer, print
    the image and then photocopy it. Inkjet printer ink will not

Another way of getting a reverse image is to photocopy onto clear
transparency film. Turn the film over so that the image is reversed
and photocopy it, the paper photocopy image is now reversed.

Images could also be scanned into a computer and then reversed. You
would need a good scanner to get a finely detailed line.

One benefit of modern photocopiers is that the same design can be
scaled up or down to gain various sizes of the image.

  1. The metal surface must be clean. I wipe with acetone on a cloth
    to remove any dust or grease film.

  2. Cut unwanted paper from around the design as you would if you
    were using the glue technique, but leave about a 20mm tab on one end.

  3. Lay the paper on the metal and fold the tab over the metal edge
    and sticky tape the tab on the back of the metal.

  4. Use a clean cloth and wet with acetone, hold the design down
    firmly and starting from the tab end press the cloth down firmly and
    wipe to the other end of the design. The toner is dissolved and
    transfers to the metal. The acetone evaporates in a few seconds, lift
    off the paper and you should have a nice black image on the metal.
    The transferred toner image is reasonably hard and will not wipe off
    when handling.

  5. This technique can be applied to polished or satin surfaces

A few points to consider:

  • Make several copies of the design to experiment with.

  • The photocopied image can only be used once.

  • A good black line original image will copy much better.

  • Have the acetone cloth damp and not saturated. The amount of
    acetone on the cloth is important to control dissolving the toner.

  • Paper towelling can be used as an alternative to cloth.

  • Try to achieve the transfer with one wipe. Repeated wipes can
    smudge the image or dissolve the toner off the metal.

  • When saw piercing use a brush to remove lemel from the surface.
    Wiping lemel away with your fingers can scratch the black toner.

  • Apply acetone in a well ventilated area.

I like the technique because when I am piercing or engraving I am
looking at the metal and not a piece of paper.

I hope that you find this technique helpful.

Graham Farr
Sydney, Australia.

Carbon type paper can be found at most fabric stores . . . people
who sew use “copy paper” to transfer patters. It comes in a variety
of colors, and sizes. (A recent discovery . . .)