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Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Talk Acid Etching on Glass

Are you like me that you like the velvety feel of acid etched glass? It changes the texture and gives the glass a totally different matte look.

If you're not familiar with the process, acid etching is when you cover the surface with hydrofluoric acid. Some beadmakers and glass artists use various materials as a "resist" to keep the acid from etching certain parts of their beads. Some use commercially made products, other products I've seen have been tapes, stickers, nail polish and even a wax application.

I use a product from my local craft store, Michaels. It's called "Etch Bath and comes in a 16 oz plastic jar. You must use extreme caution with this product. I suspend the beads directly into the jar. Depending on the amount of etch that I desire, they could be there anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. Be sure not to get any on you. Wearing rubber gloves is recommended as well as good ventilation.

Here's a little historical tidbit...acid etching was first developed on a commercial scale by Richardson’s of Stourbridge, England, which registered a patent in 1857.

Recently, one beadmaker whose work I've really noticed who uses acid etching is Katherine Wadsworth of Natalia Designs. I think her purple iris bead is exquisite.

So what have you tried with acid etching? I'd love to see it. Or tell us about your experience. I know I'm going to be doing more of it.