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Copper Sheets and Washers

About this design:

Have been in a bit of a funk recently.

Before everything went into a bleh spiral, I had tried some copper etching. Being the impatient and excited person that I am when trying something new, I did take it out of my vinegar, salt and peroxide etching solution a tad early, before it got a deep etch, but the pattern did come through somewhat.

The copper disk, I cut out of a sheet of copper, etched and then didn't like the etch much, so hammered it into submission. The long copper dangles were off cuts from when I cut out the circles in the 24 gauge copper sheet. The copper washers were etched too with dots and stripes (I literally went mentally blank when it was time to draw on it). And they had all been sitting there, on my bead table as I went through the design blank while suffering from the flu for the last few months.

Knowing a bit more about etching now, I have a plan for future ventures with etching acid, and have designed and made some stencils for the next pieces I etch.

I finally got around to getting around to doing something with them and turned them into earrings! Fingers crossed they don't come out sideways on this site, but then again, after these last few months, I would not be surprised.


From Lima Beads: All the wire, which were used for the ball headpins and then turned into ear wires and hammered and aged in LOS. Czech beads, and the tiny sea glass beads and the gorgeous amber coloured seaglass dangles. Recycled glass beads, as well as some of the Czech Anissa Picasso seed beads, copper sheet which I hacked into with shears and washers from my own stash.

Additional Images:

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. S KatollakaSue
    S KatollakaSue says:

    Glad you are feeling better (I assume you are). Love all of the earrings. Colors are great, techniques are interesting!

  2. dolllady aka Pam
    dolllady aka Pam says:

    The earrings are beautiful! The design on the long ones is wonderful. The last pair would’nt come up for close view but are fabulous.

  3. kye
    kye says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your bleh spiral. I hope you’re feeling much better. Your work is certainly not bleh. It’s just so interesting. I love the dark patina you get on the copper and the etching takes it to a whole new level.I love the way you wove the wire with beads onto the first pair of earrings. They have such a nice flow. Every single pair is just fantastic! I’m going to have to investigate this etching technique. Totally cool! :)

  4. Annabel
    Annabel says:

    Thank you!

    The bleh spiral was basically from the flu, which I had been battling for around 2 months and the flu strain in Australia has been brutal this year, so ended up in hospital with it. I just had no energy to do much at all and just felt so tired and disinterested as a result.

    The earrings aren’t as dark as they turned out in the photo. Etching copper is now an ongoing obsession. A word of caution, use a good resist. Old and slightly thicker nail polish is the best. I used that on the back of the copper washer and it held. I used masking tape on the other pieces and it worked its way below the tape and actually etched some of that too. I used equal parts white vinegar (the cheap kind!) and hydrogen peroxide and lots of salt. I did end up adding more salt to get it to etch a bit faster and it immediately starts bubbling. And you can keep the etching solution in a glass jar (clearly marked of course) just make sure there’s no metal bit in the lid, as the fumes will eat away at it. You will need to pickle the copper first, and neutralise it, scrub it with a good dishwashing detergent until the water flows off it and wear gloves to handle the copper from there on it, as the natural on your fingers and skin will affect the etch.

    And do it outside, wear protection on your hands and eyes and long sleeves, in case it splashes if you drop your pieces in. One important thing to protect your copper or brass being etched, use like with like. Say if you use wire or tweezers to remove your pieces, make sure it is made up of the same material being etched. I had the tape strips long enough to drape over the side of the plastic container I used to etch (glass or thick plastic are best, do not use metal or ceramic) so I could just carefully lift it out and then dropped it in a container of water with a loooot of baking soda to neutralise it.

    It is really fun. There are various ways of resist. People use laser printers and clear sheets for transfer of images. I just drew mine on with a red sharpie pen. Nail polish (the thicker older kind) is also very good, particularly red (don’t ask me why, red works best as a resist), but also some inks too. Just make sure you put the resist on the side and backs, and in any holes in the pieces being etched. Basically, any bit uncovered by resit will etch.

    It is really fun and easy. I was so scared to try it and once I did (before I had the flu), I was astonished at how easy it was. The hardest part was figuring out what design to draw on it. ;)

  5. No Photo
    Moogie says:

    Hey Annabel, your work is so awesome! Thanks for all the info on etching. I’ll have to put it in the queue along with potato chip patina for techniques to try!
    I hope you continue to recover from flu. I’ve had it twice in the past & it is NO fun. Give yourself a big break. Don’t expect to be back to high energy for a while. Personally I don’t remember what high energy feels like…:)

  6. Poms Forever aka Donna
    Poms Forever aka Donna says:

    Annabel, not only is your etching so nice, but your explanation of your process was supper. Sorry, you had such a nasty flu. Glad you are feeling better. I would miss you on this blog. You are so kind and generous!

  7. No Photo
    A Wehnke says:

    Annabel, So sorry you have been sick for so long. It sounds depressing. Glad you are back on the mend.

    Can you please tell me what you use to cut your metal discs? I am looking at several disc cutters and and I cannot decide if it really worth it to save for the more expensive ones. Your discs look beautiful and I love the colors. I would love to try etching but I am not quite there yet. Thank you, Amy

  8. C Ferguson aka Annie
    C Ferguson aka Annie says:

    Annabel – you’re earrings are Awwwwwesome! Love them. Thanks for the explanation of your process. I hope you feel better :)

  9. Crystal Canary
    Crystal Canary says:

    Annabel, Love your copper work! :)

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