Etch a Brass Pendant




Introduction: Etch a Brass Pendant

About: Fabriken is swedens first makerspace and now we're at Malmö Makerspace

Here at FBRKN we are playing around with our new etching tank and our laser cutter/engraver and thought we'd make an Instructable out of what we found out.

Join us in making your personalised jewellery. In this Instructable we show how you make a pendant for a necklace and a pin using two different techniques.

Step 1: SAFETY

This Instructable uses corrosive chemicals to etch the metal. Use safety glasses and gloves, if any of the solution or chemicals get in your eyes rinse with plenty of water and contact a doctor.

The reaction also may produce small amounts of hydrogen gas so do the etching in a well ventilated area.

The etching solution is corrosive and toxic to consume, but it is ok to pour small amounts out in the sink (in Sweden) since the water plants will clean it up.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials and Tools

For this Instructable you will need:

1 Etching tank or plastic/glass/ceramic container DO NOT USE METAL

Etching powder (we used etching powder for PCBs which is Hydrogen peroxide)

Safety glasses

Plastic gloves


1 Piece of metal (brass, copper, aluminium will work, the size depending on your pendant)

Acrylic spray paint


Metal shears

Pen with waterproof ink

Fine sanding paper

Polishing wheel

Laser engraver

1 small ring

1 leather strap or chain

Step 3: Spray Paint Your Metal

Begin with cleaning both sides of your metal sheet with acetone so that you don't have any grease or smudges on it.

If you are using the laser engraver to make the pattern of your pendant spray paint both sides of the metal.

If you want to draw the pattern with a pen only paint one side with the spray paint and the draw your pendant with the pen on the non painted side. We found two pens that worked on the metal, one was a laundry pen and the other one was a permanent marker with a thin tip. Make sure that they stick on the metal and are water proof when they have dried.

Step 4: Laser Engrave

Make the file for the laser engraver in Illustrator or the program you usually use and upload it to the laser engraver. Then engrave the metal to remove the acrylic paint. With our laser engraver we need to pas over the area twice.

When done use a mild soap or dish washing detergent to remove residues and clean the metal. DO NOT use acetone since it will also remove the paint.

Step 5: Cut It Out

Cut out the pieces and make sure you cut outside the outer lines leaving a small edge around the finished piece.

Step 6: Etching

Mix your etching powder with water and pour it in the tank or bowl.

Lower the metal pieced down and the etching will start. If you are using an etching tank it usually comes with an air pump that mixes the solution but if you are using another container without a pump you need to stir the solution every five minutes to get an even etch.

In our case we let the pieces etch for about an hour to get the result we wanted. Depending on the concentration of your solution you might want to etch it for a longer our shorter time. Take up the pieces from the solution and check from time to time until you are satisfied with the result.

Step 7: Sanding

When done with the etching sand the edges and round them of with the fine sand paper to remove sharp edges.

Step 8: Acetone Time!

Use acetone to remove the paint and marker from your pieces, don't forget the back.

Drill a small hole in the pendant for a ring and the strap, and gently sand the edges of the hole to remove sharp edges. If you like you can now polish the pieces on the polishing wheel to make them really shiny.

Put a small ring in the hole and you're done!

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    8 Discussions


    5 years ago

    I'm Swedish too, are you sure that your etching powder is hydrogen peroxide? This only comes as a liquid, never a powder.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You are quite right, I did use etching power (as stated in the guide) it isn't hydrogen peroxide but the active solution is.


    5 years ago

    Nice. I have been doing a lot of etching lately using electrolysis. It's really fun what you can do.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes it is!
    The electrolysis is a bit more complicated but at the same time easier depending on what you do. We are having ideas about working with plating metal with electrolysis based on the residues from the etching. In a way cleaning our waste and making stuff at the same time.