Sunday, August 2, 2015

Etching Glass Tutorial

Matte glass beads have such a soft, eye pleasing look to them. I recently had a request for a tutorial on how I acid etch my beads, so here goes! First, a word about safety. This is a chemical (20% Ammonium Bifluoride) and must be used with safety precautions in place. Gloves, ventilation and some people even wear a mask. The liquid I use is Etchall brand Dip 'n Etch. They make a cream too, but I found it very messy. You can find a complete guide to the products here. I am going to etch these pumpkin beads. Okay...first, you will need designated equipment. I use a yogurt container, gloves, plastic dish, a small strainer and an old towel. You will also need some Arm and Hammer washing powder. You can use baking soda but the washing powder is better. It can be found in the laundry detergent aisle. Pour about 2-3 teaspoons in the plastic dish and dissolve in water. Put your beads into the yogurt container. With gloves on, slowly pour the Etchall over the beads to cover. Time depends on the glass and other factors, but I do mine about 3 minutes, stir with a mandrel, (also designated for this purpose. You could use a spoon too, just be sure you mark it somehow) Then set the timer for 3 minutes more. The older your etching liquid, the longer it will take and you can etch the beads longer for a more matte finish. I accidentally left some for about 30 minuted one time and got a very cool rustic artifact look. When the time is up, carefully pour the liquid back in the bottle using the strainer to catch the beads. Dump the beads into the water/washing soda dish and let sit for about 5 minutes. This neutralizes the acid. Rinse with soap and water. If you do get some chalkiness on the beads, I recommend using mineral oil or baby oil on a soft cloth to remove it. Here is the finished beads!

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