Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Hand writing on silver

Dear Kind and Generous Experts,

I am a designer and not a metalsmith, but am very fortunate to have
very talented metal smiths in Bali to create my designs.

Presently we have been working on some interesting techniques where i
draw out some images (mostly nature --dragonflies, birds, etc) and
then we cut them out from flat sheets of silver-- much like cookie
cutters… The results are great.

… Except, some of the designs are to include some handwriting and
we just do not have the knowledge of the technique of creating
writing or handwriting on the silver. (using stamps is all together a
different look and we are keeping with the natural essence of the
design.). We have developed a process where the writing is printed on
paper, reduced in size and then with a sharp tool the writing is cut
into thin sheets of silver. The written sheets are then soldered onto
the piece of jewelry (a medal, cuff, or whatever). The same technique
is used for the other artwork.

My goal for example would be: to have a frog cutwork soldered to
oxidized background with writing as part of the frog work. At
present we can make the frog, we can somewhat make the writing… but
the quality of the writing does not come out as well as what I have
seen on other people’s designs (bangles with writing, rings, medals,

I have tried to find the technique of how this is accomplished and
have not succeeded. I know it is not precious clay, not photo
etching, possibly it could be with an electric hand tool, but before
I look into any tools, etc to send to Bali, it is of course best to
know the true solution.

Can you please steer me in the right direction???. I have designed a
line of children cuff bracelets but the present technique that we
are using will not give the correct end result.

If you are recommending certain tools, will you also advise the best
place to purchase? And also instructions or videos so I may send to
Bali. Thank you so much.

I really appreciate any and all help, and thanks again.


ps, I hope you all had a really wonderful Thanksgiving and in
these hard financial times, life continues to be good and full of


I don’t know how much writing you are looking for, but the first
stamp I had made for imprinting my name into my silver pices, was
handwritten by me. The stamp maker then reduced it in size and made
the metal stamp. It probably isn’t cost effective if you are doing a
lot of writing. Just a thought.


Dear Bianca

I am a bit baffled about the frog part of the piece: are you using a
flat cutout? if so- PNP blue would give you an easy way to photoetch
handwriting on the cutouts.If you run the PNP blue (after laser
printing a copy of the handwriting you want to apply to the piece)
through a laminating machine in four or five passes (to insure a
good heat transfer of the image) you will then have a reproducable
image that can be applied to your sheet metal and go right into a
simple photoetching bath (ferric chloride as for PCB board etching
available at most Radio Shack stores or at, in a
4-5 inch deep plastic bin- much like a cat litter box) applied with a
bulb type baster.After 5-15 minutes in the bath or repeatedly
"basting" the PNP blue with the etchant you’ll have a copy of the
image on the cutout as deep or slight as you desire by varying the
timing of the solution application. It seems as if you have a
working knowledge of processes, etc and.other than photo-engraving,
or using a pricey GRS gravermach with its specialised graver blades/
gravers, and traditional hand engraving you might consider PNP blue
with an electric laminator for printing the image onto your silver
sheet, then cutting the etched image out.PNP blue is a heat activated
etching resist material. I can’t imagine how you would apply writing
to a 3D frog other than using gravers or PNP blue cut precisely and
heated with an irons tip to apply the blue material to the frog, then
bathing it in ferric chloride. It is truly an easy process, and the
material is readily available at a number of international sources
and online.The handwriting can be timed so that it looks as though it
is just on the surface- if that is, as I understand it, what you are
after. then once you have one made exactly to your specifications you
could mould and cast the item to production standards.

I know you were against photoetching but it seems easiest. Sorry I
have no brilliant ideas beyond PNP blue,or photoetching.

If you look at youtube there is a quick demonstration video that will
show you the potential the product has to offer and it’s
possibilities for your jewelry work. rer


I bought an electric engraver at Sears. I write on the silver - or
other metal - holding it like a pen. It basically has a tip that
vibrates and “cuts” the metal mildly as it is being scribed. My
students marvel that I get such precise handwriting on the metal.
The engraver was probably priced at $30.00. It does take a bit of

Rose Marie Christison