Free Metal Etching Tutorial – Happy New Year!

Remember I said there would be a catch when it came to this freebie tutorial? Here it is – If you are not already a subscriber of my blog, now’s the time to take the plunge! I ask that you subscribe yourself and share this blog with as many friends as you think appropriate. That may be just one person, it may be a group of people such as in one of your favorite frequented jewelry forums. Share it on facebook, or twitter, or myspace. Share it with as many people as you like! Please, just SHARE it! If you like it then please subscribe to my blog. I promise not to flood you with nonsense. Just lots of short show and tells, tips for other artist, the occasional guest author and maybe once in a blue moon you’ll find an interview of another artist whom I admire. It won’t hurt. I promise. 🙂 Of course I cannot force you to subscribe, and I’ll share the free tutorial with you anyway, but I hope that you will seriously consider becoming a subscriber.
I also request that those of you who experiment with the metal etching technique share some of your results via pictures. I would love to see what you’re doing with it. Now of course I cannot force you to share your pictures with me either, but I am hoping to have a good response to this request. I hope to get enough pics in to share a few of YOUR experiments as a follow up to this free tutorial. Now, on to the tutorial!

After all the great feedback on my etched metal projects and many exclamations of ‘I want to do that too!’ from my friends and students I decided to make a simple tutorial to share. It’s not going to be heavily involved by any means. My usual style in tutorial writing is to show a picture of every stage. In this case I have skipped a few pictures to make this short and concise. Nothing that’s really necessary, mind you. For example, I don’t really think you need a picture of me scrubbing a copper sheet with a green scrubby pad to know how to do it yourself. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions after reading the tutorial. I am always happy to help and don’t mind being bugged at all. Getting questions and comments helps to reassure me that people are actually making use of that which I have labored (however lightly) to bring to you. Feel free to ask questions and make comments here on the blog as you might ask a question or offer an insight that my other readers will appreciate as well.

For this project you will need:
22 ga or 24 gauge copper sheet metal
Sharpie markers (I use a fine point and a fat point)
Rubber Gloves for protection
Safety goggles
Clear packing tape
A glass or Tupperware container large enough to fit your project in (NO METAL BOWLS!)
Liver of Sulfur
Green scrubby pad
0000 grade steel wool (hardware store)
PCB Etching Solution from Radio Shack (or mix your own)
A fine file and fine grade sandpaper (hardware store)
A pair of metal snips
Steel bench block
Hammer and anvil

I recommend that you read through the tutorial fully before attempting the project.

If you cannot get the PCB etch at a local Radio Shack you can make your own etching solution. Go to your local hardware store and pick up some Muratic Acid. You’ll find it in the pool care section for under five bucks. Pick up a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from your local drug store and you’re ready to mix! The recipe is two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part Muratic Acid. (Please note: If you mix your own solution it’s best to do it outside or in a well ventilated area. This etchant will release some fumes that you don’t want to breathe in.) Add the hydrogen peroxide to your container first, then slowly pour in the muratic acid. Do not pour it in too fast or it might bubble and spit – not a good thing when working with acids. This is one of the reasons that I recommend safety goggles. It is also a good idea not to wear any garments you’re overly fond of as a tiny little splash of acid will eat holes in your clothing. Please read the precautions on your containers and use common sense when working with chemicals.

Let’s get started:Okay, so now we have all the necessary supplies and we’re ready to play with metal etching! The first thing you’ll need to do is use your sharpie markers to draw a design on the copper sheet. It can be anything you’d like. Here is a picture of my design drawn on the copper sheet.

Now you will use the clear packing tape to suspend your project face down in your etching bath. You’ll do this by putting the tape across the back of your design. You need to either be sure that there are no bubble or runs in the tape or cover the back of your piece thoroughly with resist. You can either color the back with your sharpie markers or paint it with some old red nail polish (if you use nail polish you will need acetone to remove it after the fact). It’s hard to see the tape in this picture, but it’s face up with the copper sheet placed on top of it. The tape needs to be about 4 inches longer than your bath container is wide.

Pour approximately ¼ to a ½ inch of etchant into your bath container. If you’re using PCB etchant from Radio Shack like me, it will look like the picture. If you mixed your own, it will be a clear liquid that will turn green as it begins to etch the copper sheet. Tape your project acoss the container so that the copper plate touches the acid bath enough to fully cover the face of the design. It’s okay if the tape dips below the surface of the etchant as long as you have taken precautions to add a resist to the back of your copper sheet.

I put a lid on my container and leave it to etch for 40 minutes. I will check it every 20 minutes. If you’re using the home mixed version with muratic acid, it is likely to etch faster so check it about every five to ten minutes. It helps if you agitate the mixture by swishing it around occasionally as well. When I stop to check the depth of etch on my metal sheet, if I can feel it by rubbing my gloved finger across it I deem it ready. Extract your metal sheet from the acid bath and rinse it. DO NOT RINSE IT IN A STAINLESS STEEL SINK! IT WILL RUIN THE FINISH ON THE SINK! Rinse it outside with your garden hose if you can. Rinse it thoroughly and inspect it. This etching is ready for the next step.

Once it has been fully rinsed and all of the etchant is removed you can take it back inside to a sink and use your green scrubby pad to scrub off any and all traces of the sharpie resist to prepare it for the LOS bath.

Using a different container, heat some water in your microwave ( one to two minutes on high), add a pea sized chunk of liver of sulfur and add your copper plate to the LOS bath.

Remove the plate from the bath once it is fully oxidized. This one sat a little long and now it’s good and black. This is fine.

Now use your 0000 grade steel wool to buff off the LOS patina and highlight the raised portion of the design.

Now you will use your tin snips to cut out the different pieces. Alternately you can use a jewelers saw but I find that for small projects the snips work fine. The snips tend to curl the edges somewhat, in which case I use a steel bench block and a rawhide hammer to whack my pieces enough to flatten the curled edges.

Use the file and sand paper to soften the edges so that there are no rough or sharp spots left.

Drill or Euro Punch pliers to pierce for adding bails, jump rings, dangles, ear wires, etc. depending on your specific project. Here are some of my completed projects from my metal etching experiments.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I appreciate any comments or feedback on this tutorial that you may have to offer.
Check out my website for more great jewelry making tutorials:
Images and text copyright 2011 Delia Stone.


160 thoughts on “Free Metal Etching Tutorial – Happy New Year!

  1. Delia, Thank you so much for taking the time to write and post this tutorial. I will send hubby out to find the chemicals then give it a try. What a wonderful gift you have given; sharing your creativity and knowledge.

    • Christine. You’re welcome! 🙂 Have fun with it and be sure to share a pic with me when you’ve completed a project. I think the best thing about making any tut is seeing what people do with it. It totally makes it all worth while! 🙂

  2. Delia,

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing the knowledge with such concise instructions. You’re right…I didn’t need to see a photo of you scrubbing the copper sheet with a green scrubby 🙂 Now, if only I could draw anything more than a stick man!

  3. Adrienne,
    You are so welcome. It does’t take much drawing talent as I have clearly shown, lol. Seriously, I just put a robe on my stick man. 😛 I wish I had drawing talent too … I can only imagine what someone with real drawing talent could do with this technique.

    There’s also an iron on transfer method that I have yet to experiment with. Can’t wait to figure that out… it will open yet another world of possibilities with this techniqe! 🙂 Stay tuned… I’ll share it eventually!

  4. Delia what can I say? I’m really excited. Can’t wait to go out and get necessary supplies. Of course I’ll share. It’s really very special to go to all this trouble and then offer as a free tutorial. WOW!!!

    • Doreen, I know you will have fun with this technique! Especially with your love of working with metals. There’s no limit to what you can do with it. I’m glad to know that I can count on you to share your results with me. 🙂

      About that scrubby … sorry for being so vague there. LOL I just assume that the rest of you can read my mind somtimes. 🙂 What I was referring to is those little green scrub pads that we keep on hand at the kitchen sink for the tough cleaning jobs. It’s like a sythetic steel wool pad of sorts. Most sponges have a thin layer of this material on the back of them now days. It’s soft enough that it doesn’t scratch the metal but rough enough to scrub off the sharpie marker.

      Can’t wait to see what you do with this Doreen! 🙂

  5. I so want to try this!
    I’m having trouble finding the etching solution (or even the ingredients for the etching solution) here, but I’ll keep looking for sure.
    Love the results! You’re finished jewellery pieces are beautiful!

    • If you are having trouble finding muratic acid at the hardware store just ask for someone to assist you who is familiar with pool chemicals. And if you don’t find the PCB Etchant at Radio Shack (assuming you have one there) ask them to order it for you. They can even have it shipped direct to your house. The Radio Shack that I went to said they couldn’t keep it on the shelf because of local jewelry makers. 🙂 In fact I had to go back the next day when some was scheduled to come in but they advised me to come early because another jeweler who had already bougth two bottles was coming back for more. Good luck!

    • Rach, I dunno where to get it in Ireland, but perhaps Radio Shack online offeres international shipping …. however, I don’t know if there are any restrictions on shipping for chemicals like this in your country.

      I sure hope you can get ahold of some!

  6. Great job on the tutorial Delia! You are so nice to do this! The Radio Shacks I visited near my home did not carry the Etchant anymore but Lowe’s sells it by the gallon in the Paint Section! Can’t wait to try this tomorrow!..Thanks again….

  7. Is there a way to make a deeper etching if you want? If you left it in for longer would it etch deeper? You might have to use heavier-gauge sheet though, in that case, right?
    Also, does it work the same with other metals, or just copper?

    Forgive the ignorance 🙂 I just want to learn.

    • Leo, sorry I am so behind in my response. To etch deeper, yes – more time in the etchant and a 22 gauge to 20 gauge metal would be better. To etch silver you will need nitrate crystal mordant which you can purchase from Rio Grande Jewelery supply online – however, be prepared. The cost of hazardous shipping is greater than the cost of the mordant!

  8. Is there a way to etch deeper? For instance, by leaving it in longer? Though you might need to use a heavier-gauge sheet in that case, I guess.
    Also, does this work the same for other metals, or just copper?

    Thanks, and forgive the ignorance 🙂 I just want to learn.

    • Hi Leo,
      Yes you can leave it in longer and it will etch deeper and you are correct that it is best to use a heavier gauge sheet if you want to do that. This kind of etchant will work on brass as well, but to etch silver is a whole different ball game. You cannot etch silver with this etchant. It requires a different, more toxic type of etchant.

  9. Hi Delia, thank you so much for sharing this! Just found a link on Pinterest. Looking forward to trying it. Especially appreciate that you share the recipe to make etchant.

  10. Delia, I have started doing this and love it! However, one thing I have notices is that my pieces develop scratches on the exposed copper. Almost like whiskering. If I do a dark patina they are somewhat hidden, but I don’t always want to do a dark patina. Any idea what may be causing this?

    • Hi Susan,
      Sorry for the late reply. I have had similar results when using stamps. I find that if the ink isn’t solid black that the surface of my images are sometimes pitted and have what looks to me like scarring. The remedy for me to this problem was to use a sharpie to fill in the sheer ink so that my images are a solidly blacked out. However, if you’re using a sharpie and getting this result that may not be the case for you. Hope that is helpful. Thanks for checking out my blog.

      • Delia, it’s whiskering where there is no ink–the part that actually etches. Using a patina hides it. I’d really like to do some things in bright copper, but it shows up.

    • Susan, I had to actually look at one of my etchings to be sure what you were talking about … and when I looked I realized immediately what you were referring to. Unfortunately I do not know how to fix that. Perhaps agitating the vessel you’re etching in while it’s etching would help the copper particles there fall away better? I dunno, will have to experiment. lemme know if you figure it out!

    • I’m not sure what you mean by archival ink, however I know that you can use stayzon ink pads for stamps. It must be the black ink I think, not colored. Also, use a sharpie to fill in any areas where the ink doesn’t transfer solidly to get a nice clean etch. I’ll be posting some pics of some pieces I’ve done recently with stamps on metal. I try to customize them all a bit by adding hand drawn elements in. Keep an eye out.

  11. THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU! I cannot tell you how excited to find out just how easy and doable this is. I’ve been wanting to make charms with some stamps from my sisters scrappy stash for years, but didn’t know how to do the etching. I DO know you can use the scrappy stayzon brand ink pads to stamp a design on for etching. can’t wait to get the chemicals and start.

    • There are several patinas on the market. Go to and do a search for patinas. There’s also methods for using common household products from eggs to ammonia, salt and cedar shavings. You can find a wealth of info by googling a few strategic key words.

  12. Hi! I found your tutorial through pinterest, and I love it! Great to hear you use common ingredients that I can get in the Netherlands too. Will have to try this some time! Do you have any suggestions for keeping the back of a (future) bracelet from staining my wrist?


  13. Found you on Pinterest. Love the tutorial. I have never subscribed to anything before. How do I subscribe? I would live to learn more from you.

    • In the upper right hand corner of my blog page you will see some text that says ’email subscription’ enter your email and you are officially subscribed! 🙂 Thanks for your interest. Hope to see more comments from you in the future.

  14. That was a very nice tutorial, thanks. And your design looks great. I’ll see if I can easily find the necessary stuff in Brazil, and when i finally get around to trying it I can send you pics.

  15. I live this tutorial. Thank you very much for posting it. I just have a couple of questions.
    Can you reuse the etching solution?
    And you mentioned other metals this works on, but how about aluminum?
    Thanks again!

    • Hi Jeannette,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Everything goes nuts come November and it’s hard to keep up with everything. I THINK it works on aluminum but can’t say I’m certain. I bet you could google that. I’d love to know for sure too! And the etching solution can be reused, but as it gets heavy with copper particles it will begin to slow, taking longer to etch. If it’s left to sit for a while between etchings you might want to attempt an etch on a scrap piece first as I’ve had old batches ruin a perfectly good design before.

      • I have tried this with aluminum. Don’t do it! The first time I had it in with copper, and the aluminum completely dissolved. I tried it again with just aluminum. It didn’t etch after about 30 minutes, so I left it in longer. Pretty much dissolved again. And both times it made the solution very hot.

  16. I used to do a lot of metalsmithing. One thing we did that worked well was to put the tape on the back of each piece prior to the etching bath, then use some double stick foam tape to stick them to small pieces of styrofoam, then float the styrofoam with the metal upside down like little pontoon boats in the etchant. It made it very easy to piek them up with tongs to check progress if need be, and not so much danger of splashing to release the tape from the edge of the bowl.

  17. To etch silver you will need nitrate crystal mordant which you can purchase from Rio Grande Jewelery supply online – however, be prepared. The cost of hazardous shipping is greater than the cost of the mordant! I’m not even sure if you can get hazardous materials shipped internationally or not though.

  18. I can’t wait to try this technique. Now that I’m retired I’ve been taking all kinds of classes in everything from gourd techniques to metal working. This will force me to work on my drawing skills.

  19. Hello! I found your tutorial yesterday and am already super excited to try it. My biggest concern though, is what happen to the etching solution when you are done? How do you dispose of the chemicals? How many times can the same mixture be used, or can it?

  20. You might want to run the etched items through a stop bath, neutralizer, of baking soda dissolved in water. Also tell them about proper disposal of spent acid. Plus you can etch brass too, but not aluminum in this ferric chloride etchant
    Otherwise you have great photos/directions!

  21. That is SO COOL!! I’m a printmaker- do you think the acid etches deep enough to hold ink and print off of?

  22. I love this so much, absolutely beautiful pieces… Very talented 🙂 can you tell me if this process can work with brass as well? Or if you know another method to acquire the same results in brass? Thank you so much, I appreciate your time!

  23. Just found your tutorial and can’t wait to try it. Just wondering how to dispose of the etchant after you are finished working with it. Thank you !

  24. I just finished my first batch for my high school jewelry students! Thank you for the tutorial–couldn’t have done it without! I can’t wait to show them!

  25. Nice tutorial. I have noticed that whenever I use PCB etch, my pieces have squiggly lines all along the edges. I’m not sure what causes this. It has annoyed me so that I am now experimenting with electro etching techniques.

  26. I love this tutorial!!! And for people that can’t draw, you could always try to find a stencil. Depending on the size of your emblem.

    • Since I wrote this little tut I’ve done a good deal more experimentation and guess what? It gets even easier! You can actually use STAMPS! Just use black Stazon Ink as a resist. Ink it, stamp it and etch it. It’s that easy … for real.

  27. THANK YOU for this. I cannot wait to start trying this out. I love the way copper jewelry looks and this will be amazing to make. You are awesome.

  28. I can’t thank you enough for this wonderful article. I just tried one piece & I am quite happy about it. But I wanted a light patina & so got Gilder’s paste & applied. Let it dry for 24 hours & then applied Rennaisance wax which gave a good sheen but removed the entire patina. Is there a way to seal the patina?

    • Hi Sue,
      Glad you’re having fun with it. I have not used gilders paste before, so having no direct experience with it I can’t be sure. I used to use Ren wax to seal my work but found it unreliable in the end – AND experienced losing lovely patinas after sealing a piece just as you mentioned. I have since abandoned the Ren wax and taken to using Vintaj Glaze and Protect-a-clear sealant for my jewelry. So far I have not lost a patina due to either of these but again, I can’t be sure how either would react with the gilder’s paste. However, I can say that both of these products are superior to the Ren wax in my humble opinion.

  29. Recently came across a YouTube video about etching aluminum using white vinegar. Noticed that some of the responders were asking about etching aluminum so I hope this helps – just put aluminum etching in YouTube’s search box (PS the guy in the vid used it for his printing)

  30. Wow, thanks so much for sharing, that is such a nice trait to have and we are all blessed by your generosity. I am a newbie to this though, and I have ask. Does the black marker actually protect the copper, or how does the copper etch the design? Wouldn’t the enchant just eat through the black pen and you would have on big mess? Did I miss something? thanks

    • Gail,
      The marker ‘resists’ the etchant – at least for a good while but it will eventually eat through the marker. This is why I check my pieces periodically to be sure that the resist is still resisting! 🙂 It should last sufficiently long enough to get a good etch on your copper however. There are other products on the market that you can use that resist longer (Blue Press and Peel paper, paint pens, etc.) but as long as you are etching copper or brass Sharpie will do. Hope that answers your question. 🙂

    • It helped me out of a rut too, Lisa. It was really inspirational to play in a technique that was new to me. It felt like I opened a door into a whole new world when I started etching. I hope you have as much fun with it as I have had. 🙂

  31. You can use baking soda to neutralize the etch. So have another container of backing soda and water to put the etched piece in. Then you can rinse it in your sink.

  32. Dear Delia,
    Thank you so much for this awesome tutorial! I would like to ask for how long can the solution be used (a “homemade” one) and how can I neutralize it and then dispose it! Thank you in advance and many greetings from Greece!

    • Maria,
      I have only ever been able to use the homemade etchant once. I’ve never tried to use it beyond a single day. I have read that there are ways to refresh the homemade etchant using a fish bubbler and a dose of hydrogen peroxide to reactivate the bath. I haven’t tried this so can offer no real practical advice for this method. As for how to neutralize your old etchant for disposal try this: After neutralizing your old etchant drop it off at your local hazardous waste facility.

    • I actually use fiskars floral snips. Don’t let the ‘floral’ fool you. These babies are tough enough to cut through up to 22 gauge metal like butter. I’ve even cut through 20 gauge with them. I love that the fine points allow me to get into corners so well and keep great control when I’m cutting. I love them!

  33. detailed and so very helpful..I love working with any kind of metal,and I’m super excited to give this a try..thank you.

  34. I have not read all the other posts before me so please forgive me if this has been answered. I was wondering if you’ve tried any other type of metal ? Copper is very expensive and was hoping this could be used on something cheaper and what was it ?

    • Hi Donna,
      It works on copper an brass. You can get copper or brass from, or by the sheet or half (s)heet. I usually order from monsterslayer and order the metal cut in one, two or three inch increments depending on the projects I have planned for it. It’s about $9-$10 for a half sheet (6×18) Becareful about experimenting with cheaper metals as one student related a story to me about trying to etch on aluminum dog tags in her studio which promptly caught on fire thanks to a chemical reaction gone wrong. Thank goodness she was standing right there!

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I will look into this and won’t try it on aluminum. I might try to make charms for my living locket using your method.

    • Donna, I tried aluminum by mistake, too. Didn’t catch on fire, but it got super hot! You can also buy copper sheets at your hardware store. It’s in the ac/heating area I believe.

      • That’s a good idea. Has anyone tried this on galvanized sheet metal ? I will go look to see what types of metals they have at Fleet Farm if you’d ever heard of that store.

      • If you try the galvanized, let me know. I’d be interested. I have heard of Farm and Fleet, but not Fleet Farm. I have done the etching multiple times on copper. The big key is to make sure you have enough in your container that the item being etched really floats. The copper that is sloughing off has to have somewhere to go, so if it’s not deep enough, it doesn’t really etch as nicely. And that means it gets saturated, too, and will not etch anymore. So as painful as it is not to be able to reuse the solution, you are better off with fresh each time you do a new piece.

  35. Pingback: Free Metal Etching Tutorial – Happy New Year! | Evarel's Creations

  36. That’s amazing! Your tutorials are perfect! Is that Lehi’s vision of the tree of life in onefof the pics on the Pinterest pin? Your work is beautiful!

    • I’m not familiar with Lehi. The figure under the tree is inspired by my solitude series. The figure represents me, spending time in nature – whether the beach or the forest. Solitude is quality time with the self – which I love and have far too little of with three kiddos under foot. lol

    • I’m new to pinterest and trying to read as many tutorials as possible, which I pin on appropriate boards. I found your refreshingly explanatory and thank you for it.

  37. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb
    blog! I guess for nnow i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed
    to my Googgle account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this
    webnsite with my Facebok group. Talk soon!

    • Hi Ronald, thanks so much for the kind words. Sorry so late in replying. I had no idea I had so many comments waiting for me here. Show season can be very distracting. Your comment reminds me of the need to put a new post up. coming soon! 🙂

  38. hi, I’ve been interested in this for years, have purchased all the products many years ago but wanted to do a photo of my dog. I have a Xerox copy of the dog, is this possible to achieve with this method? Please tell me how, thank you.

    • What you’re referring to is photo etching. I haven’t experimented with that technique so I can’t be of much help there. I’m not sure of the process to photo etch. Wish I could be of more help!

  39. This is a great, tutorial, thank you! By the way, if you leave the sharpie on it when you do the LoS, it will resist the LoS as well. Then you can just use denatured alcohol to rub off the sharpie and it will leave the LoS behind.

  40. Thank you for the clear tutorial!
    I bought some moscow mule mugs (which claim to be copper) and they’re completely blank, so I thought I’d try etching on them (haven’t etched copper before but have worked in printmaking), but I am unsure if they are completely copper…they’re super shiny and polished looking on the outside and the inside just looks like tin, I’m hoping they’re not just painted a copper color. Any advice on how to tell what kind of metal they are? The box they came in is no help!

    • If they’re tin on silver/grey inside I imagine they must be plated. I can’t give you any advice on this except to be careful. I once had a student whom I talked about making custom dog tags with buy some dog tag blanks at the hobby store to make some cute tags for her dogs. She didn’t pay attention to what type of metal they were and as she turned her back to work on other things she began to hear a bubbling sound. She turned to find the little container her etchings were in beginning to gyrate and then it caught on fire. The only metals I recommend working with are brass, copper and nickel. Be careful and do your research before branching out into unknown metals!

  41. Hi there! I noticed that the most recent post here is from 2014…so hopefully I can still reach you. I LOVE that this looks so easy. All of the etching vid’s I’ve seen all involve electrical enodes and other nodes…lol… and scary chemicals…(PCB? Probably one of them..but wondering…)
    I read everything you posted, but since I’m new to etching, I want to make sure I’m not missing something. With the PCB if I am able o get it, is it that simple? pour in container and put prepared metal on top of solution (as in your image?)…or is there way more to it? I look forward to hearing from you. Love the site, and signed up for your emails. 🙂 God bless
    PS: my “website” below is very outdated as I took a year off to start writing my book. But I’m happy to promote your website and any others you’d like.

    • Two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part muriatic acid. Onky use this outdoors with ample ventilation as it will initially create noxious fumrs that you don’t want to breathe. Add the hydrogen peroxide very SLOWLY to the muriatic acid. This usually etches in about half the time of the PCB etchant unless it’s a cold day, then it takes longer.

    • Hi Delia, I posted a comment in your blog, but as it seems I posted one before and don’t recall hearing back, so I thought I’d try this route also. 🙂 (below is what I posted)

      Thank you for sharing your tutorial. I was wondering…do you use the same process with Sterling? I too use PCB but have not been successful with silver. Only copper.Love your work btw!Regards, Barbara (aka Seaglass Barbara) 🙂

      • Hi Barabara, pretty sure I responded to your post before but sometimes I miss things so just in case I’ll give you some info here. You need an entirely different etchant to etch into sterling silver known as ferric nitrate. You can find it here: It’s also considerably more caustic, so extra caution is required. Here’s a great video on etching silver that you will enjoy: Have fun with it!

      • Hi there, I’m so sorry its taken me so long to get back to you. Sheesh. I’m usually pretty good about that stuff. And thanks for re-sending. I probably missed it with this one. ::sigh:: None the less, thank you for taking the time to respond, and re-respond. Much appreciated. 🙂

  42. Thank you for sharing your tutorial. I was wondering…do you use the same process with Sterling? I too use PCB but have not been successful with silver. Only copper.
    Love your work btw!
    Regards, Barbara (aka Seaglass Barbara) 🙂

  43. Hi Delia! Your work is gorgeous and I learned so much from your tutorial re: etching. I’d like to join your blog but see no place to do so… Could you add me to your list? I’d appreciate it.
    Regards, Pam

    • Pam, thank you for the kind words. Unfortunately I don’t know if it’s even possible to add someone to my blog, however, if you look in the upper right hand corner you’ll see a place where you can enter your email address and follow me. You’ll get email notifications every time I add a new post. Wish I could help you subscribe, but I have no idea how!

  44. Delia, I am looking forward to trying your etching process. One quick note and it is only a safety point. My background is in chemistry and material processing. When I saw your etch solution you suggested pouring your hydrogen peroxide into the container first then add the muriatic acid. Typically you would add the acid to the aqueous solution ( in this case the peroxide). This will decrease but not eliminate splattering. When the acid is added to the aqueous solution first the acid will react vigorously causing more splatter. Just a recommendation for your consideration.

  45. I just realized that my previous comment was exactly how you had described it in your description. Getting old and must have had a brain cramp. You are absolutely correct in pouring the hydrogen peroxide into the container first. My apology but for some reason I was thinking you were adding peroxide to acid which could be hazardous.

  46. Great tutorial, Delia!!! In My head, I’ve been making etching WAY harder than it truly is … Except for the artistry part of it. I CANNOT DRAW!! I’ll have to find some stencils; or sadly it will be curly circles, triangles, squares, or mixtures of basic shapes. LOL

  47. Thank you SO much! I’ve been wanting to try and stamp, chase or etch metal and now I definitely know which way I’m going to go! Have a great day! Beautiful work!!!

    • You have to mix the muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide. One part muriatic acid to two parts hydrogen peroxide. Add the muriatic acid to the hydrogen peroxide SLOWLY… I stress slowly! Also, this must be done outside ONLY! It will create a noxious fuming reaction initially and needs ample ventilation. Do NOT breathe the fumes.

  48. Thanks for the tutorial… I’m thinking of using this for a teacher appreciation for our congregation and letting the kids create their own designs to give to the teachers. I love the feel of the final product. (Of course, I’ll have to also let the kids create some of their own because they’ll want one, too). I’ll try to post a link to it from my blog on the comments here if we decide to go forth with it.

    Quick question – can you use other metals? I’m wondering about aluminum or something that won’t discolor skin. I imagine you’d have to use different chemicals, eh?

    • I do not recommend aluminium. Had a friend who tried to etch aluminum dog tags only fot it to catch on fire. She put it in a sealed container instead of leaving it to vent, which might have been the root of the problem too, but based on her experience I would just stay away from that all together. Metals that I know are safe; copper, brass, nickel (so I’ve heard, but have not tried). Love what you are doing! Such a great idea. Would love it if you shared some pics of the projects! Have fun!

      • OMG… I know some of my kids would try to sneak in a piece of aluminum if they knew it could catch on fire… 😉

        I’m finally doing a run-thru today to see how it works out. I’ll try to post some of my results. I also had the idea of platemaking metal (engraving). I think they use a similar such solution. But that’s not really a jewelry metal.

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