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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2006-12-08, 2:22pm
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Default Etching Beads?...

I am curious about this technique and would like to try it on some of my beads if not too expensive...

How do you "etch" beads?...How do you know what beads to "etch" and what colors look good "etched"?...
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  #2  
Old 2006-12-08, 2:24pm
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Oh Amber, where are you!!!

Amber's the etching queen!
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  #3  
Old 2006-12-08, 2:34pm
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There are etching solutions and creams that you use to etch them. There are several different brands, but I use Etch-all solution.

As far as deciding what to etch, it's personal preference. For me, beads with ivory don't look right unless they're etched, but maybe that's because Amber (*Naos*) has warped my perspective I wouldn't be surprised if she's tried etching just about every color there is.

If you want to see what something will look like etched, you can put it into the freezer for a while, and it will give you an idea.
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  #4  
Old 2006-12-08, 4:41pm
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Hi, Eileen...

Etch Bath is what was recommended to me. I love the matte finish it leaves.

http://www.etchworld.com/cat--Etch+Bath--Etch+Bath

There are instructions on the bottle. But if you look at the upper right corner here in the tip and tech section, just under all the page numbers, you'll see a "search this forum" function. Type in "etching" and you'll come up with quite a few threads from this section that will offer helpful information and tips.

Have fun!



Lil
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  #5  
Old 2006-12-08, 6:41pm
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For the past few months, instead of using an acid etch bath, I've been tumbling my beads in a rock tumbler.

I put in a handful of junky glass beads* (that I bought way before learning lampworking) and a couple spoonsful fine white sand, along with the beads I want to etch, and fill the tumbler about half full of water. I usually let the tumbler run about three to four hours.

It is kind of a pain to empty the tumbler and separate the beads, but it does really take less than five minutes. Then I have beads with a wonderfully velvety finish!

Teri P

* The junky beads are different sizes and shapes. I think this helps the process along. Also, beads that have odd shapes might not have all surfaces etched. This can be a fun thing!
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  #6  
Old 2006-12-08, 8:00pm
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Here's my etching tutorial for newbies. (or for anyone using this stuff for the first time!)

Get the Etch-All liquid, it's much better and a lot easier than the cream. I use a piece of fishing line about 8-12 inches long (depends on how many beads you want to string onto it), tie a knot on one end, string the beads and dip them with the other end of the line draping over the bottle. To get an even etch, you need to bob the beads up and down in the bottle every now and then.

For 104 COE opaque glass, it takes about 2-5 minutes, for the transparents, about 5-10 minutes. If you get an uneven etch (like small shiny spots near the holes because you didn't "bob" them!), you can go back in for another 5-10 minutes. But this stuff works so well, that rarely is a problem. But remember, while they are in there, bobbing and moving them around in the solution is very important.

After the time is up, transfer the strand into a solution of 1/2 cup water and 2 tsp baking soda (solution ratio doesn't have to be exact) and put them in there for a few minutes to neutralize the acid. It will bubble and fizz a little. Then take the strand out and wash with dish soap. In case of the small chance you may need to repeat, leave them on the piece of line and you will see the soft etched finish as they dry. Remember, they are kinda shiny when they are still wet, so don't let that fool you into thinking they didn't etch long enough!

If you find a chalky white substance on your beads, this does come off easily with a little scrubbing gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. (yes, toothpaste! ) But don't use the "abrasive" kind if you can avoid it. You know, the toothpastes on the market now for "extra whitening".

Some glass is harder to etch, like Bullseye and some of the frits will etch faster or slower than the base glass that they are used on, so you may have to repeat. You supposedly can't etch boro in this product, but boro is usually etched with sandblasting or tumbling.

I bought 2 bottles three years ago, and I just started on my second bottle. The solution turns a yucky brown after a while, but it still works. Every now and then (make sure lid is on tight!) give the bottle a gentle shake
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  #7  
Old 2006-12-08, 9:24pm
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Thanks Stephani...Very helpful...I'll have to find this "etch all"...I'll do a search or check Michael's...
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  #8  
Old 2006-12-08, 9:33pm
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WHAT SHE SAID! What a FANTASTIC to-the-point post and we both do the same things, except I leave my beads on the mandrel and transfer my Etch-All to a bouillion cube jar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StefaniBeads View Post
Here's my etching tutorial for newbies. (or for anyone using this stuff for the first time!)

Get the Etch-All liquid, it's much better and a lot easier than the cream. I use a piece of fishing line about 8-12 inches long (depends on how many beads you want to string onto it), tie a knot on one end, string the beads and dip them with the other end of the line draping over the bottle. To get an even etch, you need to bob the beads up and down in the bottle every now and then.

For 104 COE opaque glass, it takes about 2-5 minutes, for the transparents, about 5-10 minutes. If you get an uneven etch (like small shiny spots near the holes because you didn't "bob" them!), you can go back in for another 5-10 minutes. But this stuff works so well, that rarely is a problem. But remember, while they are in there, bobbing and moving them around in the solution is very important.

After the time is up, transfer the strand into a solution of 1/2 cup water and 2 tsp baking soda (solution ratio doesn't have to be exact) and put them in there for a few minutes to neutralize the acid. It will bubble and fizz a little. Then take the strand out and wash with dish soap. In case of the small chance you may need to repeat, leave them on the piece of line and you will see the soft etched finish as they dry. Remember, they are kinda shiny when they are still wet, so don't let that fool you into thinking they didn't etch long enough!

If you find a chalky white substance on your beads, this does come off easily with a little scrubbing gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. (yes, toothpaste! ) But don't use the "abrasive" kind if you can avoid it. You know, the toothpastes on the market now for "extra whitening".

Some glass is harder to etch, like Bullseye and some of the frits will etch faster or slower than the base glass that they are used on, so you may have to repeat. You supposedly can't etch boro in this product, but boro is usually etched with sandblasting or tumbling.

I bought 2 bottles three years ago, and I just started on my second bottle. The solution turns a yucky brown after a while, but it still works. Every now and then (make sure lid is on tight!) give the bottle a gentle shake
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  #9  
Old 2006-12-08, 9:35pm
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Oh, and I buy it from Heritage Glass.
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  #10  
Old 2006-12-08, 9:37pm
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One very important thing that noone has mentioned yet - this is acid that you would be using, so be sure that there's good ventilation and keep your hands and eyes protected when using it. If you do get some on your skin, wash it off immediately.

I get mine from Howaco Glass
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Last edited by fritobsessed; 2006-12-08 at 9:39pm.
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  #11  
Old 2006-12-08, 9:39pm
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Better yet - buy gloves from the beauty supply store...thin ones are fine. Does your Etch-All smell, MJ? Mine doesn't release fumes....
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  #12  
Old 2006-12-08, 9:41pm
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I have a very sensitive nose, so I do notice a smell. I always (even in these freezing temps) have the window cracked open and the vent over my stove going.
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  #13  
Old 2006-12-08, 10:01pm
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You Guys will LOVE my method, LOL!

I have a Plastic see thru bottle, a bottle of Etch all Liquid, and a husband to make mine work.

I pour enough etch-all in the plastic see thru bottle to cover the beads I am etching. I slide the beads down the side of the bottle and let them rest in the bottom. Screw on the lid and hand to hubby. His job (he has no choice here LOL) is to watch the clock and constantly roll the bottle around GENTLY for however long I say LOL .... 2-10 minutes depending on the depth of etch and type of glass. This REALLY works! The beads etch evenly and hubby is gentle and I never have any problems!

I remove the beads this way:

I have a small plastic mesh strainer. I lay it over the main Etch-All container and pour the contents of my plastic bottle (the one hubby was rolling around) into the mesh container, letting the Etch-all go back into the original etch-all container. The mesh strainer catches the beads. I transfer THE STRAINER with the beads in it, into a shallow dish with cold running water and rinse. Brush the beads with a small nail brush and then Rinse once more and place on a paper towel to dry.

Our hands never come in contact with the etchall solution!
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Last edited by danelady; 2006-12-08 at 10:06pm.
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  #14  
Old 2006-12-09, 7:03am
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I don't pour the etching solution in and out of its container. ('Fraid I'll splash it all over myself!) I have a thick monofilament fishing line, about two feet long, with a boro bead tied to the end. I string the beads (max four at a time, big beads) I want to etch on that and drop them into the etching solution, keeping the lose end of the fishing line out and screwing the cap back on, on top of the fishing line.

In the meantime I have prepared a water and baking soda solution (two tablespoons of baking soda to two cups of water) in a thick plastic tuuperware-like container.

After the etch is done (for me about one minute), I unscrew the cap, pull out the beads and hold them over the open top a few secs to let the excess etch drain back into the bottle, and then gently place them in the baking soda/water solution. It fizzes and when the fizz stops, the acid has been neutralized.

Then I scrub with a nail brush and some detergent. And rinse well, taking care to flush water through the bead hole. (The lead-like deposit that sometimes appears on Copper Green only comes off when I do the nail brush scrub. I guess it's "loosened" by the etch but is still on the surface. Comes off like magic in the scrub stage!)

The baking soda/water solution goes down the drain and the tupperware container is rinsed thoroughly.

Some mentioned gloves and good ventilation. Both GOOD IDEAS! I am more worried about spashes and so I wear safety glasses to prevent any from flying up and getting in my eyes.

To get that good velvety sheen, I polish all my etched beads with Renaissance Wax. Love that finish!!!!

JanMD
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  #15  
Old 2006-12-09, 2:26pm
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You can mask areas that you don't want to be etched with nail polish. It may seem obvious, but don't use clear nail polish, or when you're working on the bead you won't be able to tell what parts you've masked already and which remain to be done. (Yes, I made that mistake.) If I'm using a resist, I don't leave the beads in the etching solution more than 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure the nail polish is completely dry, but don't apply it and try to etch the beads months later. The nail polish may come off in the acid. If you're going for fine detail, you may want to use an artist's brush rather than the nail polish brush, and thin the nail polish a little.

Other people have used white glue (Elmer's) for a resist. I haven't tried it. People have reported success using Sharpies and paint pens. I haven't had great success with those. If you try them, make sure you have a good solid line.

I've used stickers and contact paper for resists with mixed results. They work better if the surface of the bead isn't too sharply curved. Don't leave the bead in the acid too long, or the stickers may come off.

Dip n Etch or Etch All makes a Resist Gel. I didn't love it when I tried it -- thought it was too thick and gummy, but some people like it.

If you're ever doing a flat piece of glass, or something that you can't submerge, the etching cream supposedly works better than the liquid, but you have to be careful about streaks. Haven't tried it myself.
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