Justice League Coasters - DIY - Acid Etching




About: I'm not an expert in anything. I just enjoy making things sometimes for the process sometimes for the end product.

I didn't think this was going to work. I recently got a Cricut vinyl cutter and wanted to experiment with it. I watch a lot of knife making videos and I always love watching a blade being acid etched. So I figured I would try etching superhero logos on to some stainless steel. I know plenty of people that are comic book fans and would love to have a set of these.

Build video:

Step 1:

A buddy of mine gave me some thin 1/8 inch thick stainless steel thresholds. These are used as transition thresholds and are usually screwed to the floor. I need to cut off a smaller piece that was more manageable to work with so I used my angle grinder fitted with a cutoff wheel to make the cut.

Step 2:

I then used my portable band saw stand (How To Make a Portable Bandsaw Table Instructable) to cut the individual coaster pieces. Each coaster measures 3-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches.

Step 3:

I had a lot of small cutoffs which I saved and later used to refurbish an old pocket knife (Refurbish a Pocket Knife with Stainless Steel Handles) With all the pieces cut I used a file to remove any burrs left from the saw.

Step 4:

I used my 1x30 belt sander to further clean up the edges of the coasters and fix any of the bad cuts.

Step 5:

Next I clamped all the pieces together and used my larger belt sander to sand all the edges at the same time this way all the pieces would be uniform. Once that was done I removed any burrs with my smaller sander.

Step 6:

To clean up the faces I used my orbital palm sander fitted with a 220 grit sanding pad.

Step 7:

I just got a vinyl cutter and wanted to give this a try so I created the logos and cut the vinyl for all of them. Its hard to see here but you can kind of make out the flash logo. I applied the logo to the stainless steel smoothing out the bubbles or rather trying too to smooth them out.

I added a little more vinyl to the exposed edges because when I cut the vinyl I didn't add the extra masking that I should have. This is noticeable in the last picture.

Most people don't have a vinyl cutter but its not too hard to find someone selling vinyl graphics like these online or in your local area.

Step 8:

Here are all the logos ready for dip. I made sure to wipe each one down with alcohol to remove any grease or oil residue, since this can effect the etching.

Step 9:

In this plastic tub I have Ferric Chloride mixed with water. Its a 1:1 ratio. I bought the Ferric Chloride at an electronics store. Its also used to etch pc boards. I first dipped the Batman logo, I slowly lowered the coaster in to the acid etching solution. I realized at this point I should have probably been wearing gloves.

I let it soak for about an hour. This may have been overkill I think 30 minutes probably would have been enough I will have to test that theory next time.

Step 10:

After the hour I took it out of the acid etch and rinse it in water. I wiped off any stuck on residue. There was a black ash that appeared on the exposed metal. I also remove all the masking. This was the first piece I did, it wasn't bad I had to clean it up a bit but the end product looks pretty cool. I lightly wet sanded it with 1200 grit sandpaper to clean it up.

Step 11:

I used a sticky back craft foam for the backing of the coaster. Make sure to cut the foam slightly smaller than 3-1/2 inches it makes for a cleaner look. Once I was happy with the size of the foam backing I peeled off the backing and stuck it on to the coaster. I trimmed any excess if necessary.

Step 12:

This was a fun learning experience and I plan on experimenting some more. Out of all the coasters the Wonder Woman coaster turned out the best as well as The Flash logo. As always thanks for taking the time to read this Instructable. I will try to answer any questions to the best of my ability.

Build Video:



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6 Discussions


1 year ago

I started by doing glass etching with my Cricut and had some success. Time to try this one next! The process and materials are pretty much the same, just swap out the acid with etching creme for glass. Thanks for the tip.

3 replies

Reply 1 year ago

I'll have to give glass etching a try, thanks for the comment.


Reply 11 months ago

Still have to finish this but the first test came out pretty awesome


1 year ago

Nice work! Been watching some blade etching too, just haven't pulled the trigger yet. I really liked the super man before you wet sanded it, but still nice!

1 reply