Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fun with Chemicals, or The Next Big Thing in Jewelry Making

Don't get me wrong. I'm not bored with beads. But since everyone and their dog makes beaded jewelry now (bead, spacer, bead, blech) I've got to learn new skills and keep tweaking the product line a little more.

I adore copper. Copper lends itself to so many applications. It's fun to play with, and compared to sterling silver or gold, cheap as hell. I've pounded it flat, curled it up, made squares with it, poked it full of holes, embossed it with letters, all kinds of cool stuff. Now I'm on to THE NEXT BIG THING, or another way to abuse copper.

Etching solution will eat away the uncovered copper. You take copper sheet, cut it to the size desired, and then use tape, paint, or some other kind of 'resist' to cover up the parts you don't want to be etched away. Then suspend the copper piece in the etching solution, and wait.

Sounds easy enough, right? It really is. The waiting is the hardest part (right, Tom Petty?)

I had some trial pieces cut out (I really need better cutters) and the first one, I banged with the hammer for texture. Why I don't know. Texture isn't needed for etching. Then I took a black Sharpie (you'd think that in this house I could find one with too much hassle? Not so.) and drew on some dumb lines (it was a test after all) and then prepared the solution. Which is just pouring it into a glass dish. I dropped the copper piece in. Mistake No. 1. (It's better to suspend the copper in the solution.) And waited. For 15 minutes. But I kept poking it and stirring it. (Mistake No.2...leave it alone!) and after a half hour, I took it out, because I wanted to see what had happened! After neutralizing it with baking soda & water, and washing it all off, I got my result.

To my dismay, not too much. I could tell where it had etched, a little bit. But the texturizing was a mistake, because I couldn't tell if it was really etched or not. Not to mention my poking, prodding, and generally wanting INSTANT DRAMATIC RESULTS NOW. Ahem.

The next experiment, I did the proper way. I cut two smaller pieces of copper into oval shapes. Applied the Sharpie resist, and suspended them in a jelly jar of the etching solution. (Tape on the back, string wound around a pencil) And left it alone.

Left it alone for too long. Overnight is NOT how you do this. I was all happy this morning when I came downstairs (at 4:30 am, thank you) to check my etching. I pulled the pencil up, and to my amazement, the only thing on the pencil was the string and two pieces of tape! HA. The etching solution ATE the little copper ovals overnight.

"Captains Log: 09/26/07-Oval earring dangles, suspended in solution overnight disappeared. Do NOT leave 22 gauge copper in etching solution overnight. Back to the drawing board."

Stay tuned, this should be rather interesting. What I'm trying for is nice, deep, crisp etching. I assume that TIME is what creates the depth and clarity of this, so tonight I'm trying it again.

Trying to again, after I pick up the new Volvo who has already cost 500 bucks, and is NOT inspected, because the odometer isn't working, and will cost 300 more bucks to fix. Alas, it'll take several days to fix, and since I NEED the new Volvo to transport us to the craft show this weekend, I have to reclaim it now, and give it back to the shop next week to fix, since they have to send THE DASHBOARD out to be repaired properly. A pox on that perky beotch who sold it to me, since she KNEW the odometer wasn't working. And a pox on me for not double checking the damn thing before I paid her. But not it'll be fixed. The odometer thing is pretty much a Volvo thing. The bleu one has no odometer either. Cha-ching.....asshole.

Grr, grr, grr. I say.


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