I researched symbols for father/daughter connection and found a lovely Celtic knot design. With that I was set to design the pendant.
Step 1: Materials
This was a rather simple project material-wise. Mostly it was just a bit time intensive.
- Aluminum strip cut to length
- Painters tape
- Salt water
- Trickle Down Charger
- several Q-tips
- X-acto blade
Step 2: Cut the Blank
So I went to Home Depot and got myself an aluminum strip of metal. It only cost a few buck and will yield many other projects from it. It was about 1" wide and I cut it to about 2.5" long. I also did a quick sand of the surface with 320 grit paper.
Step 3: Prepare Metal for Etching
Rather than use nail polish as a cover for the metal, I thought it might be easier to use tape for the stencil of the design. This is just simple painters tape.
Step 4: Draw Design
Step 5: Cut Out Design
Having a sharp, fresh x-acto blade is really important for this step. I started with a fairly dull blade and I couldn't get much precision with it and it ended up pulling the tape around with it. Once I got a sharp blade this got a little easier. It still took some patience and care to get the tiny details done.
Step 6: Begin Etching
Once the design is cut out of the tape you can begin etching. Place the positive connector to the metal. Mix up some salt water to get started. Then dip a q-tip into the salt water and get it nice and wet. The place the negative connector to the q-tip making sure it is touching the wet part of it. Then just touch the q-tip to the exposed metal. You will see a reaction start rather quickly. Beware of fumes... I can't imagine them being any sort of healthy. I just covered my face with my shirt. Hold the q-tip to the metal for at least 1 min. for each spot. Length of time will determine how deep it is etched. I would err on the side of longer... except that I didn't. After removing the tape I found it just wasn't as deep as I had hoped.
Step 7: Remove Tape & Sand
Pulling the tape off will show you rather quickly how deeply it was etched. There will also be some minor imperfections to clean off. I used 320 grit sand paper followed by 600 grit. This cleaned it up enough for the purposes I was going for. I wish it had been a little deeper on the etching as i would have liked to create a more polished surface but I had to beware the already shallow etch.
Step 8: Drill Hole
Once the etching is done (I guess this could be done in the beginning too), find where you want the hole to be on the design and drill it.
Step 9: Cut Shape
I wanted the pendant to have a rounded top to replicate the design etched. I placed some painters tape on it and drew out what I wanted till I had it right. Then I got out my dremel and cut it out.
Step 10: File Edges
This will leave some rough edges, but nothing a trusty file can't handle. Slowly but surely I finished of the shape, smoothed the edges and made sure it was safe for my daughter to wear.
Step 11: Sand Finish
After getting all the edges smoothed and shaped I gave it another once over with the 600 grit paper.
I think it turned out pretty nice. Again, I really wish I had gone about twice as deep with the etching, but hey, you just keep learning, right!?
I hope you enjoyed the 'ible. If you like it, don't forget to vote for the Necklace contest.