Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photo Etching

I have decided that for my Etsy Metal Charm Swap 8 charms I am going to try some photo etching which I haven't done in quite a few years. (You can see a "how to" article on photo etching here with more info on the process.) I have wanted to make a piece of jewelry that was in the form of a sugar skull for quite a while. But due to all of the detail on these skulls I have put it off because it would be a very time consuming to cut each piece from metal and solder all the pieces together. Since I haven't photo etched in years and have wanted to try it again I thought the sugar skull would be the perfect design. And not to mention the charms will be shipped just in time for Dia de los Muertos (Mexican Holiday of Day of the Dead).

Here's a bit of what I did yesterday....First I sketched out my design.

I then scanned it into the computer so I could shrink it down to the correct size and print it on the special transfer paper I needed. I then transfered the image from the transfer paper onto the copper. Here you can see the original sketch, the image on the blue transfer paper and the image on the copper.

I then put the copper into the etching solution. It is attached to a piece of tape so I can pull it out easy and check the progress.

After about 30 minutes the image was etched into the copper. But because I have not etched in a long time I forgot that the image transfers backwards onto the metal so the parts I had drawn in solid black on my sketch were not hollowed out like I wanted them to be. They were actually raised. You can see here in the prototype the eyes, nose and mouth are solid and not hollow.

So after all that I had to go back to step one and start all over again with a modified sketch which I edited on my computer. This is the second version.

After retracing all of my steps with my new version of my sketch I ended up with this (the one on the left), which is much better than the first one (the one on the right). You can see in this photo that the detail of the nose, mouth and eyes on the one on the left look much better than the one one the right. Especially the teeth.

Although I am not sure what I am going to do with it next, I am pretty happy with the results of this process so far.

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