Friday, 9 August 2013

Come Up and See My Etchings....

I've been a poor blogger of late... the summer seems to be flying by at a rate of knots and at times I've felt like I haven't really achieved much since the studio conversion was finished. This last week though, that seems to have changed as the last of my 'stuff' has finally found its way into the new studio which is now looking far more like a workspace - yes, it's a mess!

You may remember that last October I went on an etching course and I've been itching to give it another try ever since. Well this week I finally managed to get all my kit together and set too...

I've been working with copper sheet and using 'Edinburgh Etch' which is a mix of Ferric Chloride and Citric Acid. As it's been a while since I did this I decided to just repeat some of the things I'd done on the course to refresh myself on the process, before trying anything always I have a myriad of ideas in my head!  

The first technique I used was PNP (press and peal) paper which you laser print your images onto and then use an iron to heat transfer them to the metal. As you can see here the printed element adheres to the metal and creates a resist.

Even the left over paper is pretty and I can't help thinking there must be way to use that rather than just consigning it to the rubbish bin...any ideas?

The second method I used was a simple craft sticker which the etchant can't penetrate...

I covered the backs of the pieces with tape to stop them being etched and then suspended them face down in the bath of etchant. There are number of ways of doing this but the way I use is to stick a piece of packing foam to the back with double sided tape which then makes the metal float on the surface of the etchant and also doubles up as a handle to easily lift the items from the bath to check progress or remove.

As I had a bit of a production line going I wrote the times on the foam so I could keep track of each piece. When they came out of the etchant I dropped them into a solution of Bicarbonate of Soda to neutralise the etchant and then removed the resist - the PNP comes off with Acetone and the stickers simply peel off. And after a good clean up this is what they look like...

These images are from french Art Deco book plates and becasue they are old they have a certain amount of staining around them which creates and interesting border and texture to the background which I really like. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these pieces yet but here I've given them a wash of alcohol ink so you can see the designs more clearly...

And this is the finished butterfly cuff made with the craft sticker which has been oxidised and polished... works really well  doesn't it?

This is another Deco design which I've made into a pendant with an integral bezel...

 And some more cuffs...

I had great fun doing this and it's always energising to do something different and get some variety into your routine. I have lots more images I want to work with and will be listing etched pieces in my shop very soon so I hope you like them as much as I do.

In the meantime it's Friday so I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll keep you posted on the new work.



  1. Your etching turned out really neat. Love how you used the alcohol inks on them although some of the new patina's would be fun to try too.. The leftover paper would make a great embellishment to a card perhaps to include with the metal piece. I haven't tried etching yet but it's on my TO DO list. LOL

  2. these pieces are lovely. I also really appreciate the way you have described the process which I find fascinating.

  3. Your title is exactly what I think every time I see anything etched! Glad to see you having fun in the new studio. I particulary like the deco flower pieces. I agree you might make a card with the "leftover" PnP, but I'm wondering what sort of "craft sticker" turned out so well, since it's so much cheaper than PnP. Gotta try that!

  4. Your clever foam supports is the missing piece of information I have been searching for, Lesley... now I have no more excuses LOL. Love your creations BTW.

  5. These are gorgeous! I've been collecting Art Nouveau pictures on a Pinterest board for some time now. I'm thinking of using some of the simpler shapes to saw out of metal for pendants, and/or for etching, as you have done.

  6. Wonderful to see your etching process -- such beautiful work!

  7. Gorgeous pieces of art! Love that tip with the craft foam!

  8. Love! Thank you for sharing. =)

  9. Love what you're doing with these and looking forward to seeing more!
    The idea of floating them is genius! Thanks for sharing :)

  10. I love the floating idea too. I always have trouble removing the pnp residue with acetone, it's takes a lot of elbow grease, do you have any tips Lesley?

  11. The etchings are so lovely! Thank you for the process-tutorial!

  12. Fabulous tutorial, been salt water etching for ages! but time to have a change after looking at this, i may have been converted.
    Beautiful work.
    Thank you for sharing

  13. I love these!! Etching is on my list of things to try and I love your idea of taping the pieces onto packing foam! Brilliant!


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