Etching might be the most versatile way to add texture, pattern, interest, and one-of-a-kind-ness to your metal jewelry designs. With etched metal jewelry, you're not limited by the patterns or textures you can achieve through hammering, with rolling plates, or pre-patterned metals you buy from jewelry suppliers. Rubber stamps add a lot of options to etching metal, but there's still more, because you can draw your own designs or use photographs in etching. Etching draws from a truly unlimited amount of design possibilities for enhancing metal.
In our newest free eBook, Learn to Make Etched Jewelry: Etching Process and Guide for Copper Etching and Other Metal Etching, master metalsmith, jewelry designer, and instructor Lexi Erickson shows in detail how to etch metal from start to finish. Once you've got the basic etching process technique down, there's no limit to what you can create or the etched metal designs you can make. Look at what you'll get in our free etching eBook, Learn to Make Etched Jewelry:
Phototransfer Metal Etching Tutorial
by Lexi Erickson
Lexi shares a complete tutorial for etching copper, and the same process can be used for etching brass. Bonus etching tip: Once you've etched a design on brass, it can be used as a texture plate in many other metal and jewelry-making techniques. You can even use your etch brass metal with a rolling mill to imprint your design on softer metals, like silver, because while silver can be etched using this same technique, many metalsmiths find this technique to be a less-risky way of getting a design on silver--and choose to avoid the loss of expensive silver in the etching solution.
Southwest Spirit Pendant
by Lexi Erickson
Inspired by Southwest Indian designs in jewelry, pottery, weaving, basketry, and other fine art, and because of her roots in archeology, Lexi often uses ancient patterns and designs on the metal in her jewelry. Etching is a great way to create those patterns, and after you've learned to etch metal in her etching tutorial, you'll see how to use the etched metal components in artisan-quality jewelry like her Southwest Spirit Pendant.
"This piece was influenced by a shard of Tularosa Black on White pottery, produced by the Mogollon culture of western New Mexico from about A.D. 1100-1300," Lexi said. "The bold black designs on a white background are elegant, symbolic, and timeless. I listened to R. Carlos Nakai's flute music as I made this piece and heard the Ancient Voices as this piece emerged from the flat metal sheets into a piece of jewelry."
Punched Copper Earrings and Pendant
by Tom and Kay Benham
Tom and Kay have a fun story about how these pieces came to be, saved at the last minute from scrap! This is a great project to use your own etched metal pieces (or scraps), or you can also use any textured or patterned metal that you've made or purchased. I love the use of negative space and how it provides a glimpse to the insides of these pieces--which you're also free to embellish or patina as you like to create an even more interesting piece. "Metal surfaces can be embellished: textured, patterned, embossed, etched, or colored, and the designs created by the punched holes are limitless," the designers said. "The sizes of the punched holes are only limited by the sizes of the punches available."
Are you ready to try this fun technique? "Anyone can learn to etch using the phototransfer technique," said Merle White, editorial director for Interweave's jewelry group and editor-in-chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. "It's a simple and quick process for embellishing metal surfaces and is especially useful in bringing a crisp look to complex patterns."
Download your free copy of Learn to Make Etched Jewelry: Etching Process and Guide for Copper Etching and Other Metal Etching and get started having unlimited creative fun today!