Sunday, August 4, 2013

Etching Metal Part 3: DIY Texture Plates

This three part post on etching is in conjunction with my 7/21/13 demo for the Metal Clay Artisan Guild in Connecticut.


Etching metal can be used to create jewelry pieces, but it can also be used to create texture plates and stamps for use with metal clays and polymer clays.  Here are three designs for simple stamps using aquatint, marker and PnP resist methods to create the initial design.  Follow the link here to check out the first post on transferring your design to the metal.  If you are using a very precise design or a photograph, focus on the PnP method.  

Etching the Metal...

Once you have transferred your design to the metal, you will need to etch it.  The pieces here are wout the size of half dollars and are etched on 22 gauge copper.  If you follow the link here, you can walk through using ferric chloride to get a "salt etch" in to the metal.  I have had success using this with copper, bronze and nickel silver.

"Printing" your designs in Clay...

The copper pieces in this post are pictured next to the fine silver medallions they created.  I made a pancake of silver clay and rolled it into the copper the same way I would roll onto any other texture plate.  I had lubed each of these up with olive oil as a releasing agent and did not run into any problems with them sticking.  It took a little experimenting to get the clay the right thickness because when I rolled it too thin, the edges of the copper did rip it, but that was easy enough to work out.  This is a great solution to want to produce a limited edition series while still having the ability to make each one unique.  It would be easy enough to change the patina color, add carvings or even dome the shape of the final piece.

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