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  #1  
Old 2009-02-03, 7:04pm
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Default Copper Etching with Salt

I learned how to do the salt etch at our fellow LEr, Cristabman house and it's so nice not to worry about the chemicals since I am a klutz.

Disclamer... I am in no way a pro at this just sharing what worked for me, use this tutorial at your own risk .

Setup is easy and cheap,

Kosher salt and water I used hot tap water but was told distilled is the way to go. Just saturate the hot water with as much salt as it will hold.

I used a square glass nut jar

Heavy copper wire for leads from the power source to the jar it looks like 18 gauge that I used

Copper I have just used the stuff from Hobby Lobby

Fish tank bubbler from Wal-Mart

Now for the scary part, I did this and am no way telling you it is safe but it worked. I cut the end off of an AC to DC charger, this is what it says on the little black box that plugs into the wall,

Class 2 Transformer
Input 120V ac 60Hz 10W
Output 12V DC 500mA

Strip about an inch of the wire lead and use electrical tape to attach it to 4" heavy copper wire leads. Make an s shape out of the wire so it hangs over the edge of the glass jar and you can hang the copper from the bottom section of the S that will hang in your salt solution. These will need to be replaced as they get etched through.

Use your resist of choice to draw your design onto your copper, I used sharpie but it didn’t hold on as long as I would have liked.

Hang 2 pieces of copper in the jar sitting directly across from each other, the side that bubbles gets left in the side that didn't gets the copper you want to etch. If someone can help a girl out is the side that bubbles the positive or negative side?

The electrical part can also come from a battery if you don't want to walk on the wild side.

I left the copper in the mix for 20 min but would leave in longer if my sharpie would have held.
This is smaller than the photo's turned out maybe 2.5"x3.5"


The brighter color is where the sharpie was and is the higher part of the design.
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Last edited by Beadbug; 2009-02-03 at 7:06pm.
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  #2  
Old 2009-02-03, 7:05pm
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Lovely!
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  #3  
Old 2009-02-03, 7:19pm
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Very pretty!
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  #4  
Old 2009-02-03, 8:10pm
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Oh man my brain is spinning from all of these new ideas! Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 2009-02-04, 7:01am
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Tracy,
Could you post a picture of your setup?
-Elaine
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  #6  
Old 2009-02-04, 7:10am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missbatteries View Post
Tracy,
Could you post a picture of your setup?
-Elaine
Lol! I was just about to say the same thing. I'm a little unsure of this part, so a photo would help:

Quote:
Strip about an inch of the wire lead and use electrical tape to attach it to 4" heavy copper wire leads. Make an s shape out of the wire so it hangs over the edge of the glass jar and you can hang the copper from the bottom section of the S that will hang in your salt solution. These will need to be replaced as they get etched through.
Thanks!!!
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  #7  
Old 2009-02-04, 7:41am
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This is interesting but I don't understand where you used the fish tank bubbler?
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  #8  
Old 2009-02-04, 7:56am
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Couldn't you use one of the electro forming kits for this?
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  #9  
Old 2009-02-04, 9:01am
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Thanks so much for posting this, I can't wait to try this method!!!

Fantastic piece, I love it.

I wonder if the PNP would work with this also? When doing the edges of my chemically etched caps I found that fingernail polish worked much better than the marker. I was getting iffy coverage with the marker also, it didn't seem to hold up with a deep etch.
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  #10  
Old 2009-02-04, 12:07pm
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Tracey, it really sounds interesting, but I an a bit challanged, and a picture of your setup would really help me to translate words into a understandable setup that I could safely attempt!
thanks for your trouble to share this! it is way cool!
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  #11  
Old 2009-02-04, 2:43pm
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Melodie, this is the same technique as in the Nov. 2008 Art Jewelry Magazine, where they used the PNP paper. Go for it!

-Diane
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  #12  
Old 2009-02-04, 2:44pm
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Rose Leslie, yes, you can use the electroforming rectifier. Tink said to simply reverse the wires and you're all set. All this talk about it has me getting my stuff together to try it myself. Thanks for the inspiration, everyone!

-Diane
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  #13  
Old 2009-02-04, 5:38pm
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I'm intrigued about using this as an electroforming setup... I'm kind of non-electrical myself though.
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  #14  
Old 2009-02-04, 5:43pm
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PnP paper would be wonderful. How fine do those finger nail polish detail pens come? They may be just perfect for this type of thing.

The fish tank bubbler just goes into the salt water to keep it churned up.

An electro forming kit would be wonderful for this but most don't have one. I have one but it is at a friends house.

Christa just told me that your copper plates should be close to the same size and works well if you have them close together in the solution. Mine where not on my first try and it worked ok, but maybe you will get a deeper etch quicker if they are so it's worth a try.


This is the salt water after just one etch YUCK but it isn't dead yet so I will use it again. You can pour it out into something else and let the yuck settle out then pour the good stuff back in.
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Last edited by Beadbug; 2009-02-04 at 6:01pm.
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  #15  
Old 2009-02-08, 2:22pm
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Thanks for the visual Tracy--it really helped!
-Elaine
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  #16  
Old 2009-02-08, 9:28pm
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Yep a picture does speak volumes, Have had some problems visualizing the setup...Thanks!
Patricia
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  #17  
Old 2009-02-09, 5:05am
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That looks pretty cool! Fairly inexpensive also I would think! Thanks for showing this! Wonder what a peice looks like after some time with oxidation?
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  #18  
Old 2009-02-09, 10:48am
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This is the Cutest Tutorial I have ever seen.
I cant wait to try.
Thanks
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  #19  
Old 2009-02-09, 12:26pm
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Tracy- you rock- thanks for sharing! Now lets see what you do with the pretty copper!!
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  #20  
Old 2009-02-09, 1:10pm
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I have been sick but go some caps cut out before this hit. My copper and silver tube just came from from ginkodesigns.etsy.com it looks like very nice stuff and I can't wait till my head quits pounding so I can start some coring.

This piece did get treated with a patina but I took steel wool to it and it knocked the sharp edges off and now it just isn't as nice of a piece. I won't do that again!
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  #21  
Old 2009-02-09, 5:19pm
Chau Nguyen T Chau Nguyen T is offline
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I can do the Sharpie part but set up is.... way out of my thinking. Even with your picture to help me to see it clearer; please, tell me
What is this power source? And using this ps you don't need to use the battery. How powerful 6V battery could be? Do i have to plug this ps in to electrical outlet to have a source of energy?
The fish tank bubbler will connect directly in to the salt water?
Thanks in advance for answering my questions.
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  #22  
Old 2009-02-09, 6:58pm
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Here are power sources I have read about using, the only one I have used is described above and plugged directly into the wall.

Size D Battery
Car Battery
Trickle style car battery charger
Electroforming Kit

If anyone has used any of the above or something else could you please let us know what was used and how well it worked?

The fish tank bubbler does go directly into the salt water to keep it churned up so that your piece etches evenly.
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  #23  
Old 2009-02-10, 4:54pm
Chau Nguyen T Chau Nguyen T is offline
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Tracy, where do i find this power source? I stopped at WalMart to pick-up some dog foods and i found out that i had this fish tank bubbler when we used to have fish.
So far,I know that one end of the power source has to plug in to the electric outlet for energy. As in the picture,i saw that one end of the 18gauge copper wire connects the discs that goes into the salt bath, the other end poke/stick into the power source box.
I know how to work on the end of the copper wires to go into the salt bath to etch. But I am lost at the other end that connect to the power box.
You said "strip about an inch of the wire lead and use electrical tape to attach it to 4" heavy copper lead", does it mean that you have to open the back of the power source box to pull out the wire inside the box out to tape it with the 18gauge wire to extend it longer to reach the salt water bath.
Sorry i have no experience with electricity and so afraid of shock. You made it look so simple and easy but when it comes to me it looks like a big mountain. I don't have anyone around here to ask about it. Please help me to scale it. Thanks in advance.
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Old 2009-02-10, 6:11pm
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Looking at my photo you can see the wire coming out of the bottom of the plug this is the same wire that is hooked to each copper lead going into the glass container.
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Old 2009-02-10, 6:34pm
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Can you use sea salt? Without iodide?

And if anyone hass tried this with a e-forming kit can you give any details? I have an e-forming kit but I still don't quite get exactly what Ineed to do.
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  #26  
Old 2009-02-11, 5:19pm
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Nancy, I believe it does matter what kind of salt it is but don't think it would hurt to give the sea salt since it is in a pure form.

From what I understand with the e kit you just put the piece you want to etch on the opposite side you would put your e-formed item on.
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Old 2009-02-11, 6:11pm
Chau Nguyen T Chau Nguyen T is offline
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Good. I saw that connection. So, i don't have to dismantle the box. There's a hole there for me to poke the copper wire in. That's perfect.
Now, tell me where did you buy that transfomer. At the Radio Shack or Walmart? I got most of the materials already but that power source, i try to find it this week end so i can try. With your instructions i think i can do it.
Thanks in advance. If i can find that transformer i'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks again.
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  #28  
Old 2009-02-12, 6:58pm
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I didn't purchase this transformer just used one that was left over from another item like a phone or something. I keep all the plugs to things when they break because you never know what their next use might be. I guess you could go purchase on at Radio Shack but it seems silly when things are always breaking that take this sort of cord. I don't know where you think you are STICKING the copper wire into??? You need to go back and read the directions again. The wire is attached to the ends of the cord.
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  #29  
Old 2009-02-13, 7:43pm
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So where do you get the rectifyer? I want to try this only not with the electroforming kit. Yes I have to be anal.
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Last edited by Rose Leslie; 2009-02-13 at 7:47pm.
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Old 2009-02-14, 9:06pm
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You will have to research that one, I purchased a kit from Tink for electroforming but it being used by a friend right now.
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