Picture of etching PCB's with vinyl mask
first i want to say i'm sorry about the quality of some of the pictures 

There are many ways to etch your PCBs from toner transfer to using a sharpie. I found this method by accident one day while I was etching a board. I hope it is nice enough to win the UP! Contest, though I may also enter it in a few others :)
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of materials
You will need:
Copper Clad board
hacksaw blade to cut the board
Ferric chloride
An etching container
Vinyl tape and
A razor knife.

I personally use a glass peanut jar since most of my boards are small enough to fit in it and the jar holds approx. 32 oz of fluid.

Step 2: Trim the board

Picture of trim the board
First using a hacksaw blade and the razor I cut a section off my board. Use the razor to score first I normally use the back side of the hacksaw blade as a straight edge. Then going slowly I saw thorough the board using the scored line to guide me.

Step 3: Prep the board

Picture of prep the board
Next place the vinyl tape over the board. You can sometimes get scraps of vinyl tape from sign shops, I got mine from a place I used to work the used it to mark walk zones on the floors. I haven’t tried it yet but Electrical tape is vinyl and easily accessible and its usually around 50 cents a roll.

Step 4: Design

Picture of design
After covering the board I use a marker to draw where I want the traces to stay. Using the razor knife and a careful hand trim around the markings you made, I would suggest using a straightedge to keep the lines sharp. I just did a little design here to use as a book mark its the Instruct-o-bot a few lines and a stylized design of my initials J C W

Step 5: Weeding

Picture of weeding
After scoring the tape carefully peel the areas that you want etched off away. If any of the traces shifted carefully reposition them in the correct area. Using your thumb firmly press all the remaining tape to the surface of the board.