Marker as a mask?

What thread had info on using marker as a mask?

I cannot for the life of me find it but I know I read it…that by
accident someone found out that permanent marker acts as a mask
leaving a design in the silver after torch is applied

I would greatly appreciate the info as I have searched archives til
I am blind.

An American Cameo Artist

Hello Teri,

  ... by accident someone found out that permanent marker acts as a
mask leaving a design in the silver after torch is applied

I’m not sure that this is what you’re looking for but I did mention
the following in the “Little trick for annealing” post on my “Working
with Argentium” blog:

  "... the ink leaves a mark on the metal even after it's long
  gone, almost like the faintest etch or roller printed
  impression. It's no big deal, sands or polishes off quite easy
  but it is there initially." 

That blog post is at

or you can access it via the post listing in the right hand column
of the blog at

Trevor F.
in The City of Light
Visit at

I cannot for the life of me find it but I know I read it...that by
accident someone found out that permanent marker acts as a mask
leaving a design in the silver after torch is applied 

You may be recalling that paint marker works pretty well as a
mask… for etching. I don’t believe that there is anything that
will leave a permanent design that would be activated with a torch.

For what it is worth, I did discover by accident, a while back
(though I don’t think it has come up here)-- If you draw a design on
silver with a paint marker, then soak the silver in Black Max
(probably this could be Silva Black or other similar chemical
patina-- haven’t tried LOS), you can then remove the paint marker
with lacquer thinner. OK, now you have a clean silver design on
black. If you etch the silver in nitric acid (again, haven’t tried
this in ferric nitrate), the blackened silver will not etch. Really!
I wouldn’t know this if I had not poured Black Max thinking it was
nitric-- the bottles are very similar, both clear liquids. I haven’t
used this enough to know all the parameters, but it is much easier
than asphaltum for getting delicate etched areas on large unetched
areas. The black areas may pit some. Might work equally well with
drawings done with Sharpie, which could be pretty cool. Pretty easy
way to invert black and white images.

You heard it here first!


Hi Teri,

That might have been mine but it was slightly different info… You
can use a Sharpie pen to draw a design on silver, dip it in LOS or
chemical blackner, then use any of the ink-removing orange household
cleaners to remove the ink.

The ink acts as a resist for the blackner. The orange cleaner only
removes the ink. The trick is to pattern your metal so your blackner
won’t rub off over time. I had hoped to experiment with this
technique using a tube wringer to pattern the metal, but I need to
purchase one first.

Let us know how your experiments go. I’ll post pics as soon as I can
get around to playing.

Tracy’s Treasures

Tracy that’s the one using marker as a mask for patinas like los ok
no torch involved Thanks will begin experimenting

An American Cameo Artist

I am away from home at the moment, in Plano, Tx. I do not have
access to stuff at home, but may add some to the thread.

While browsing Michael’s Art/Craft store Scrapbook section recently,
I saw a paper corrugator similar to those we use for corrugating
metal. On holidays such as the one coming up, Michaels traditionally
has a single 50% off coupon, this makes that corrugator something of
a bargain. Yes it is plastic, but got thin metals it serves the

While in that specific department, there is am “eyelet” finishing
tool that a friend has been using for perfectly closing rivets.

Fun to browse other hobby “tools” sections and finding great cross
utilization stuff there. Just takes a bit of time and a lot of

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all those observing this holiday. To
all others on list, what a great time to enjoy your family and


A company called MG chemicals, , makes something
they call an Etch Resist Pen. It looks a whole lot like a Sharpie. It
claims that it is to be used for drawing or touching up etch circuits
on PC boards and positive films.

I found it at Frye’s where they sell the copper circuit board etching
supplies. Haven’t used it yet so can’t tell you how well it works.

1319 W. Alabama
Houston, Texas 77006
voice 713 610 1162

According to the Web site mentioned by BK Brockman,
that pen works with Ferric Chloride on copper, and Sodium
Persulfate, also for copper.

But a regular Sharpie works like a dream as an etch resist on
copper, so unless Sodium Persulfate works with silver and gold, I
can’t see the need for buying this pen.

The listing for this pen also says that this resist can be removed
with their solvent, which may also work with Sharpie, but I don’t

Also on that Web site is a Professional Etching Process Kit, which

a… 7 liter heavy duty polyethylene etching tank
a… Sturdy mounting bracket
a… Clear acrylic lid
a… Heavy duty air pump
a… Three way adjustable airline manifold
a… Triple line sparging unit
a… 200 watt “Over the Side” immersion heater with quartz element,
preset / adjustable temp. control
a… Adhesive digital thermometer
a… Bag of vinyl gloves

Which could be of interest since it includes many of the items that
our discussions have mentioned as useful for etching. However, it
looks like the tank - whose dimensions are not included - is
vertically oriented to accomodate two 8 x 12 double-sided circuit
boards. Don’t know if that makes a difference, but I etch


Another good pen is made by Staedler. It is easy to obtain at any
art supply store. Use the red only. There is something in the red
that works better than the black. Another excellent resist is nail
polish. OPI is a high quality nail polish that goes on very smoothly.
Use a smaller brush, like an 0 or 00 sable. Rinse with acetone or
nail polish remover.

The inverse works well with acetone. If you need to remove a
section, a small amount of acetone on a brush can help.


Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio

When experimenting with etching on sterling/copper/brass with
ferrous nitrate and ferrous sulphate, I found permanent marker to be
an effective mask… very shallow etch, however, the resist was
there! Not sure how it would stand up to Nitric…

:slight_smile: Kimmyg


I tried a high quality nail polish that had teflon in it and found
it did not work well when I tried to scribe a line through it
(scraffitto etching). I found a cheaper quality nail polish worked

also - if you are interested in non-toxic etching, you should check
out Keith Howard, a printmaker who has done considerable research
into non-toxic etching. He recommends using liquid floor wax (which I
think is usually acrylic) and flooding it over the surface of the
metal and then scribing through it to create fine line designs. I
find it works well as a resist painted directly onto the metal. For
scribing, you should let the wax dry for about 20 minutes. Howard
suggests adding India ink to the wax to give it a hint of colour so
you can see the difference between the wax and the pattern you draw.
I also mixed acrylic paint with the floor wax, and it seems to work
just as well.

As to the Staedtler markers, I find any of the transparent colours
work well. The black ink does seem to peel off more readily - I
wonder if perhaps it has something added to it to make it opaque and
that may explain the difference.

Sandra Noble Goss
Owen Sound, ON, Canada