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(easily) etch images in copper

Step 6: Transfer the ink onto the copper

Now you want to transfer the transparency onto your copper sheet.
First, you want to take a piece of steel wool to the copper sheet (both sides), and buff it until the entire sheet is shiny.
If your transparency is much larger than the copper sheet, you can trim it down, but leave some (.5 inch) room on the sides of the image.

Now, plug in your iron, and set it to a hot setting.
Put your copper board down on the ironing board. Position the transparency over it(ink side facing the board!). Put a piece of wax paper over the transparency.
Now, being careful not to slide the transparency around, put the iron on top of the wax paper. Press down with the iron, and iron all around the transparency . Iron for about 5 minutes--if you iron for less, the ink won't transfer well and you'll have to do it over again.

When you're done, set the iron to the side. The copper boards will be very hot!
I found that the ink will transfer best when the board cools down. You could either wait for ~10 minutes, or, if you're impatient like me, you can carry the board to a sink (remember that it's really hot!), and run some cold water over the other side of the board. This will cool the board down in about 10 seconds.

After the board is cool, peel back the transparency. Most of the ink should have transfered to the copper board. If you notice that it only partially transferred, it's OK. Leave the transparency on the board, put the wax paper on it again, and iron some more.

When you see a pretty faithful representation on your board of your image, you're done. Onwards!
 
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maxwelltub4 years ago
I cant get a clean transfer. I have tried a dozen times and always get little bubbles where the ink doesnt transfer. I have tried different times and temps but still with the same problem.
unbunny4 years ago
Are you using WAXed paper, or just parchment paper? Seems that the iron would melt the wax and make a smokey waxy mess...
prank (author)  unbunny4 years ago
it's normal waxed paper. No mess a-tall. It makes sense--you can put waxed paper in the oven and it doesn't kerplode.
Wax paper will smoke in the oven or when being ironed. What you want to use is called parchment paper in the US. It is most commonly used for baking.
artistikuul7 years ago
you might try using a good metal cleaner/degreaser after abrading the surface with the steel wool. I do metal patinas on copper all the time and i always use a cleaning chemical before applying the acids or any resists (ink) i like IMS metal cleaner, is made specifically for cleaning all different kinds of metals doesn't cost too much can find it here IMS met clnr, I can also see how using patinas to add some extra color could make this even neat-r looking. or a heat gun across the remaining copper would be cool too, if you watch the metal will start to change colors at different temps and one last thing is to use something less abrasive to remove the ink at the end then use your steel wool in grades course to fine to put texture/highlights more strategically i noticed the marks from the course wool in your finished piece pretty clearly and IMO would look more prof if not so obvious being that you are using for biz cards especially. I'm a bit nit picky abt things like that but of course to each their own. cool idea btw
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