Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Etching Copper And Brass

This was an experiment I tried not long ago. The idea being to make sheets of copper or brass with decorative designs etched into the metal.

I decided to try rubber stamps, ink and heat gun set embossing powder and stamp directly on the metal. Using the ink and melted powder as a resist. I knew it would have to be a positive negative stamp. Meaning there could be no shaded areas at all in the design. Then I used Ferric Chloride to etch the metal. I bought the Ferric Chloride at Radio Shack. Apparently there is some use for that chemical for working on computers. This is not like using some dangerous etching solution like Nitric Acid which has to be used on sterling silver to do the same thing.

It took about 30 minutes to get the etch as deep as I wanted it to be. Then I wanted to know how far I could stretch the etched sheets before the design started to distort. So I decided to die form the etched sheets. This one into a shield shape reflecting the medieval theme of the rubber stamps. This was not intended to be a serious piece, it was just a test.

I can see lots of possibilities for miniature use but I will have to have the rubber stamps made so the designs are in scale.


  1. Wow, Catherine! The results are beautiful! It's a wonderful way to get lots of detail on a piece. I bet your creative mind is just ticking away, there :)

  2. Absolutely fab! Hope you will find the rubber stamps small enough for miniatures!

  3. Wonderful! What did you do to remove the embossing powder used for a resist?

  4. The patina is incredible looking!

  5. Amazing!!! This is truly amazing! Can't wait to see more!

  6. Wow,I'm always stunning how talented you are.Is there anything what is infeasible for you? I think not!Hope you find the right rubber stamp,to see that in miniature.Jeannette

  7. Catherine, They turned out amazing!! I agree with Karin.....the patina is spot on!!

  8. Karin

    I just burned it off with my torch. The metal had to be annealed several times when I was die forming it anyway.

    Those are all brass rivets I made. I didn't solder the two halves together. I did have to solder the the lip on. that was made out of two round wires that were twisted together, then I pulled them through a square draw plate.

    Now I want to design some images for miniature use and have rubber stamps made of them.

  9. oh wow Catherine!!
    I am beginning to think there is nothing that you cannot do, you have such a wonderful talent for.....well, everything!!

    Linda x

  10. "Wow" is the only word that comes to mind!
    In your comparison, I feel a peracottara (person who sells cooked pears, that's not to make a pipe!) But I am happy to learn something from you :-)

  11. The detail is fantastic. Thanks for sharing your work!

  12. I have just discovered your blog!!!!!!, lovely creations!!!!!!


  13. Catherine, you are a mega talent!!!!!!
    All you do is fantastic. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get the stamp in the correct scale, I have also sought which, unfortunately without success.

  14. Hi Catherine, that´s incredible great work !!!Although you explain it so well, i don´t understand anything, LOL but it is a pleasuer to see this !!! Wonderful !

    Hugs, Silke