Daughter/Father Etched Pendant




About: I'm just a guy who likes makin' stuff. I love the creative process. Professionally I am a Therapist (LCSW). I got my Associates Degree in Fine Art before pursuing a career in helping people work through th...

Inspired by the Necklace Contest, I set out to create a special pendant for my daughter (she was jealous of the ring I made for my son).

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
  • File
  • Drill
  • Dremel

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

I found the Celtic knot design for Father & Daughter and worked out the design for it. Then I designed my daughters name into the pendant. I drew this on the tape with a fine point marker. I had a wet q-tip on hand to fix any errors... it came in pretty handy.

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.

Necklace Challenge

Runner Up in the
Necklace Challenge



    • Frozen Treats Challenge

      Frozen Treats Challenge
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • 1 Hour Challenge

      1 Hour Challenge

    9 Discussions


    3 years ago

    What if you don't have access to a trickle down charger?


    4 years ago

    I am new to this. What kind of machine for the etching?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    It is like a low amp car battery charger. The one I have is a 6 - 12V variable charger. If you look at my etched Nickel Ring instructable there is a picture of it there.

    LED forrest

    4 years ago

    I love this it's very cool but I would like to no what voltage it is I bet this is probably in here somewhere but I can't find it and I don't what to blow my hand off

    1 reply
    NathanSellersLED forrest

    Reply 4 years ago

    It's only 12V. I've seen people do it with a 9V battery to. It doesn't need much.


    4 years ago

    yes. one has to appreciate the simplicity and fair character of this pendant. It makes the pendant even nicer than it already is. Gotta try this!

    (simplicity and celtic knots arent always a great combo btw)
    Hope your daughter isn't jealous anymore.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you very much. I really appreciate the comment.