Design considerations for etching metal

December 28, 2011

Creating attractive etched metal pieces for jewelry requires masking portions of the metal to prevent the etchant from etching those areas. The unetched areas will be the high points on the metal.


This rubber stamp design transferred and etched nicely.

Lines need to be at least as wide as the etch will be deep. Lines should be a little wider than how you’d like them to be when the etching is done to allow for the fact that the etchant will typically undercut your design lines a bit.

If you’re doing a deep etch, use lines that are at least 1/32″ wide. Finer details might be lost.

There are a variety of resists you can use to created etched designs on metal. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Fine point Sharpie pens
  • Staedler red ink pens
  • Stazon ink pads (black and red work best) and rubber stamps.
  • Press-n-Peel (PnP) Blue paper or other toner transfers. If using transfers, be sure to reverse the text and images before you print them.

If you mess up your design, use Stazon cleaner to remove the ink and try again. The etchant will eat through faint, blurry or thin ink, so make sure your lines are dark and crisp.

That’s basically it! Please feel free to add any experiences you’ve had with etched designs by leaving a comment. The DIY etching tutorial has full instructions for etching metal. Please also read the safety considerations. Thanks! ~ Cindy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You Might Also Like