Monday, May 12, 2014

Metal Etching

Who knew there were so many things you could do with your Silhouette?  When I first purchased this machine, I didn't have a clue.  Now, just about any project I do, I look to my Cameo for help.

This month's Silhouette Challenge is April Showers Bring MAY Flowers.  I thought pretty deeply about this one. I was going to do a paper flower wreath (which I did and is probably the blog under this one), but I'd seen it before. I was going to do paper flowers in paper terra cotta pots from the SIL store, but I'll be working on those for my son's birthday this month and didn't want to do them already.  So I decided to share my new passion with you all...metal etching!  It is seriously a ton of fun!
Things you'll need:
*Scrap of vinyl
*Metal blanks (copper, nickel silver or brass)
*Jump Rings
*Steel wool (.0000)
*Sharpie Marker
*PCB etchant solution
*Baking soda
*Rubber Gloves and Goggles

First you want to clean your blank with the steel wool. Blanks usually have an oily residue left behind from the cutting process and this will effect the etching.

Next you want to apply your vinyl. I'm showing you two different ways.  The etchant will eat away at the metal that is not covered by a resistant. I will be filling those stencil pieces with black sharpie. So far I have found Sharpie and vinyl to be great resistants. Stayz-on stamp ink works well too but this is a silhouette challenge :) 

You also want to use Sharpie on the edges of your blank. This is very important. If you skip this step the edges of your finished project with be rough and jagged because the etchant will eat away at it.

So again, anywhere where there is a resistant, the metal will not be etched. I like using Sharpie when I want a hand written look and vinyl for more detailed work.  You can see that vinyl gives you a much cleaner edge. I added little dots around the edge for some extra decoration.

Now for etching. I made myself this little foam boat, but most people just use packaging tape to suspend the blank in the solution. Do not let the blank rest on the bottom of your etching container.

Wrap packaging tape all around your boat and make sure the blank is firmly pressed onto the tape. You don't want it to etch the back side.  If you are just using tape, same thing, make sure they are firmly pressed onto the tape.

Put on your rubber gloves and first! Pour some etching solution into a plastic container.  And float your blanks on top of the solution. Again, do not let them touch the bottom of the container. Let it take a nice etchant bath for about 20 minutes. Wearing gloves, take your boat out of the solution and check the depth of the etch. Here is where I usually prefer sharpie because you can really feel where the etching is.  I take a tooth pick and drag it across the blank to check for depth. With vinyl it's a little harder to do, but still doable. If it isn't etched as deep as you'd like, put it in for another 10 minutes. The older your solution is, the longer it will take.  I've etched about 6 times with this batch of solution and it took this batch of blanks about an hour. If you forget all about it, you will come back to an empty boat. It will eat all the way through the metal.

When it's done etching, transfer it to another container with 1 part baking soda to 10 parts water. I usually use Tablespoons. Let that rest for a while. Go do something while you wait. I usually give it 10 minutes or so. Rinse in warm water.  
***Please dispose of solution properly. Do not pour down your drain, it will etch your pipes, plus it isn't good for our water.*** 

They look a little rough when they come out of their baths. Give them another swipe or two with the steel wool to shine them up and erase the sharpie. Remember the edges.

Use a metal hole punch to punch holes in the top.

Add a jump ring and proudly display your new creation on a key chain or chain.  I love these!  I think these will be some key chains for teacher gifts...or myself!
To purchase some of these beautiful pendants, please visit my other etsy shop.

Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

Vellum Flowers

Silhouette Challenge - Shape Challenge - Flowers

Paper Wedding Roses

Tea Party Invites

Dr. Seuss Graduation Gift

Hand Made Floral Cards for Mom

Say it With Flowers - May Silhouette Challenge (Paper Craft)

Confetti Flower Card

Silhouette Challenge! May flowers mixed media art

Wearable Flower Power ~ Silhouette Challenge

Silhouette Sketch Pen Tutorial - Watercolor Flowers

Dingbat Font Flower Garden Flag

Stenciled Burlap Canvas

Distressed White Washed Terra Cotta Pot with Book Page Flowers

Creating Floral Fabric Teacups Using Your Silhouette Machine + Free Cut File!

DIY Paper Flowers: 3D Paper Tulips

DIY: Fabric Flower Hairpins

Silhouette Sketch Pens Peony Prints

Paper Purse Gift Card Holder

3d Watercolor Paper Peony Flowers

DIY Home Decor Paper Blossom Branches

Floral Note Card Set

French Box Upcycle with Graphic Challenge ‪#‎silhouettechallenge‬

DIY Summer Activity Mason Jar Decor with Upcycled Pallet Wood

Metal Etching

flower kraft boxes

Vellum Flower Arrangement

Thank-You Cards {Made on Silhouette}

1. Create & Babble // 2. Kate's Paper Creations // 3. Please Excuse My Craftermath // 4. Tried & True // 5. unOriginal Mom // 6. Mama Sonshine // 7. Adventures in All Things Food & Family // 8. The Experimental Home // 9. The Outlandish Momma // 10. Whats Next Ma // 11. Dream a Little Bigger // 12. Silhouette School // 13. Creative Ramblings // 14. Our Rosey Life // 15. Bringing Creativity 2 Life // 16. Practically Functional // 17. Minted Strawberry // 18. Two Purple Couches // 19. Simply Kelly Designs // 20. Grey Luster Girl // 21. TitiCrafty // 22. My Mom Made That // 23. Architecture of a Mom // 24. My Paper Craze // 25. The Sensory Emporium // 26. Ginger Snap Crafts // 27. Mabey She Made It // 28. McCall Manor //