Friday, July 24, 2009

Avoid the brown acid.

I did another copper etching, but while clichés are often disappointing, in this case they fit: practice makes perfect, and I spread myself too thin. So I decided to start something else while the copper sat in its lovely lil acid jar, but I got super sidetracked and let it sit acid bathing for three hours (WAY too long… unless you’re trying to dissolve a human being) and my lovely lil copper treasures partially disintegrated! Serves me right.

But I do recommend this: try using cutouts of contact paper as the resist instead of ink; it gives much crisper lines. I printed out a flower template and traced the contact paper over it, then cut out my new flower decal and had some corners not dissolved from my own lack of supervision, there was a lot of promise there.

I learned through trial and error that steel does NOT etch, it flips the bird to liver of sulfur, and IS darkened by Novacan Black Patina. Novacan is serious stuff. It seems more dangerous to handle than the acid etchant. With Novacan (and pcb etchant too) do not forego the mask and gloves. Safety is key. Don’t inhale it either. If you’re clumsy, wear safety glasses. Then again, if you’re clumsy, I recommend not using any chemicals and choosing the store-bought-finished-product route. So the black patina is this light blue thin solution. It darkened the steel, but it was ugly. I used a brass brush on it but then it turned shiny gunmetal, not a fan. Live and learn…

My copper bird find from Metalliferous; I love him. Why didn’t I know about that store when I LIVED IN NEW YORK? Like Oedipus, the gods were against me. But at least I didn’t sleep with my mother. Now THAT would be awkward and logistically complicated. Back to the bird, I used a swirly punch on contact paper and the etching came out quite nice. I used a color wheel to guide my palette, and the wood beads complement the copper and clay tones nicely. I added the cage (from Ornamentea) so he could safely relocate his babies (tumbled rhyolite). Lots of natural elements included, and I love that. I ordered some stone connectors from Etsy studio, Stones Studios Too, and my drilled stones should be arriving this week, and ooh the excitement!

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