Jewellery making technique: photo etching

Just found this great silversmithing blog, Pickle and Flux for some great photography and silversmithing tutorials. Enjoy!

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Source: The Huckaby’s Happily Ever After

On the back of last week’s jewellery making class where we started off our etching projects, I came across this Jewellery Workshop class on Craftsy that sounded quite interesting.

Where in class we’re taught how to etch designs onto prepared metal by hand (I’m still thinking of what I can do to my piece that I cut out last week), I also learned from having a look at the Jewellery Workshop class that there’s such a thing as photo etching! On doing some digging on it, it seems you can do some amazing things with photo etching, like having intricate designs or images that you might find difficult to do free hand.

Watch the video below from PrecisionMico to get an idea of how commercial photo etching works:

When you’re just starting off in the jewellery making world or have a limited budget to spend on tools and equipment (believe me, having spoken to other jewellery designers this is true) getting tools and equipment can be addictive and costly, unless you can find some second hand in great condition. Especially with Craftsy online classes tailored to those learning the trade at home, I’m hoping that the Jewellery Workshop will be able to teach me a way of etching lovely designs or photos onto pieces in a quick and simple way that won’t mean having to purchase an actual etching machine.

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Etched silver designs. Source: Cinnamon Jewellery

The other simple way to transfer an image onto a metal sheet without having to etch this is a simple transfer process as shown on The Huckaby’s Happily Ever After blog.

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Source: The Huckaby’s Happily Ever After

As you can see from the image above, it’s a simple matter of transferring the image using a laserjet printer so over time (as with any printed material) the colour can fade. For a quick and simple process of doing this at home, it’s a great way of making a personalised gift for family and friends. With the etching process, because it’s a chemical process where any exposed parts are taken away, the final design is permanent and unless it’s been treated to constant rubbing with abrasive surfaces, the design won’t fade.What are your thoughts on etched images or designs on pieces of jewellery? Would you try the photo transfer process at home?

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