How to Etch Copper (+DIY Etchant, Alternative to Ferric Chloride)

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Introduction: How to Etch Copper (+DIY Etchant, Alternative to Ferric Chloride)

In this tutorial, you will learn one technique to etch your own designs into copper. These designs can be printed from your laser printer onto Press-N-Peel paper, OR you can simply draw them onto the copper with a marker. I will also show you the Muriatic Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide etchant mixture I use as an alternative to Ferric Chloride.

Step 1: How to Etch Copper (+ DIY Etchant Mixture)

You will need the following tools and materials:

  • Copper sheet
  • Heat gun
  • Press-n-Peel Blue (Search eBay for "Press-n-Peel Blue")
  • ** OR, if you'd rather draw the design by hand, just us a black Sharpie marker.
  • Etchant (You can use Ferric Chloride, but I also show how to mix Muriatic Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide)
  • Acetone OR Fine Sand paper (400 grit or higher)
  • Plastic Cups
  • Paper Towels

Watch the video for detailed instructions.

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    28 Comments

    0
    kkValentine
    kkValentine

    Question 1 year ago

    When I try to watch the video it says its private.. I created an account, but still do not have access to watch it.. is it still available?

    0
    potterrobbie7
    potterrobbie7

    3 years ago

    Oh my gosh, I'm amazed! You don't know how long I've been struggling with press and peel and an iron. It never comes out the way I hope it will. All this time you had the greatest idea. It works so much better. No comparison. Thank you again for sharing your artistic knowledge and mentoring the rest of us.

    0
    Morgan63
    Morgan63

    4 years ago

    Crafs Man, I love you! Thanks for a terrific video. I've been etching with Ferric Chloride for quite a few years. I've always used clear packing tape on the back of my pieces as a resist. Will this work in the home-made, non-ferric chl. solution? Without the backing tape doesn't the back of your piece get etched?

    0
    TheCrafsMan
    TheCrafsMan

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you for watching! :D You can indeed use tape on the back of your copper pieces to prevent etching on the back. In practice, that's exactly what I do.

    0
    sharroned
    sharroned

    4 years ago

    Thanks. Very good instructions. I am going to give this a gol.

    0
    Squash
    Squash

    4 years ago

    This is a really cool project I'd like to try sometime. Your comment about the worst shot cracked me up.

    How long can you keep the acid bath to reuse?

    0
    Codswallop
    Codswallop

    4 years ago

    Can't wait to try this. As a follow up, what's your technique for getting a nice artificial green patina on the copper after you etch it? I've used ammonia and salt, but maybe you have some other tricks.

    0
    RichardM168
    RichardM168

    Reply 4 years ago

    I have a millenial type friend that asks me: "What's the word, man". I always reply :" The bird is the word".

    He has no idea what I am talking about, I am not going to make it easy.

    0
    Codswallop
    Codswallop

    Reply 4 years ago

    Tell him, "Repeat after me:

    M-a mau ma-papa
    Com-a ma mau papa com-a mau mau
    Papa com-a mau mau"

    If that doesn't work, just say,
    "Don't you know about the word?
    Everybody knows
    That the word is the bird."

    Beyond that, it's like the old saying, "If you have to ask, you'll never know."

    0
    BLASTFEMI
    BLASTFEMI

    4 years ago

    I've been wanting to try this for so long and your instuctions are so simple to follow! Thank you!

    0
    SirCooksalot
    SirCooksalot

    4 years ago

    Soulja Boy Tell Em, Crafs Man! Thanks for the video, I've been wanting to do some etching, and this inspired me and schooled me all at once. Easy to follow and it's true- you do have a good voice! Thanks again

    0
    woodreaux
    woodreaux

    4 years ago

    BTW...Always Add Acid(to the other liquids)....AAA Always Add Acid was easy for me to remember

    0
    woodreaux
    woodreaux

    4 years ago

    super 'ible! thanks.

    0
    Spudweg
    Spudweg

    4 years ago

    Thank you Crafsman. Do you need to use a laser printer to print on the blue sheet or can you use an inkjet printer?

    0
    GWPoulos
    GWPoulos

    4 years ago

    Great video. One thing to make clear is that you must ALWAYS add the muriatic acid to the peroxide and NOT the other way around (i.e. DO NOT ADD peroxide or water into a container of acid). If you add water to acid, you create a lot of heat. So much heat is released that the solution may boil very violently, splashing concentrated acid out of the container!

    0
    waterlovinguy
    waterlovinguy

    4 years ago

    That was awesome. Can't wait to try it.

    0
    SherpaDoug
    SherpaDoug

    4 years ago

    I love your style. It is clear yet reminds me of my southern belle mom.

    A New England Yankee

    0
    zimitt
    zimitt

    4 years ago

    I love this, the voice, the accent, the gloves, the video work, the project, the bird is the word, I love it all.

    0
    PARFITTANTHONY
    PARFITTANTHONY

    4 years ago

    Great instructions, will try it ASAP - thanks !