Catherine Ronan Posted May 3, 2014 Share Posted May 3, 2014 No, This is not a miniature. This is about a technique which could easily be used for a miniature to get any sort of design you want etched on the surface. The design really shows up nicely once the metal work is finished and it has been oxidized and polished. Ferric chloride will etch copper and brass. I buy it at Radio Shack. It is not dangerous, though it should be done in a well ventilated area and you should wear rubber gloves and eye protection. If I wanted to do this on sterling silver I would have to use nitric acid because Ferric chloride will not etch sterling silver. Any design you can draw, stamp or stencil on metal will work with this technique. You just want to protect the areas you want to be raised in your design with ink. You must use permanent ink for this. Even a sharpie will act as a resist to the acid. You can have a rubber stamp made if you find a black / white design you like. You just want a positive-negitive, not something with shaded areas. I use a shallow plastic container and fill it with ferric chloride. Once you have the design you want on the metal (in ink) you will need wax feet to lift the piece away from the bottom of the container. So you will need a bit of extra metal that can be cut off where your wax will be. You are going to place it in the acid bath upside down so the metal bits can fall to the bottom of the container. I usually use soft casting wax but bees wax would be fine. You can protect the back of your design with tape. It is wise to do a test piece first. If you are using a very thin gauge of metal. You don't want it to etch all the way through it. It took about 30-35 minutes to etch this design in the copper. I then went on to die form the sheets to see how far I could stretch them without distorting the design. It had to be annealed several times during that process. I won't go into die forming here. The lip at the top of the shield shape was made by twisting two heavy round brass wires together and drawing them several times through a square draw plate. Then the wire was silver soldered on the shield after it was riveted together. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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