Stamping Copper for Etching- refresher

In an effort to work my way up to doing the 3" x 4" squares of copper  I need to set  up for stamping and etching so I thought I'd start with some smaller items  to get working again

I pulled out my  stamps (which had been sitting frozen at the shed and covered in staz-on - I forgot to clean off)  took out some acetone and cleaned up using the acetone and a toothbrush and paper towel
These are my original stamps when I first had them made so they have lasted through hot, cold - lots of acetone cleaning and stamping and are still in great shape 
(stamps can be purchased at my Etsy shop (see top left side bar))

I cleaned my copper with acetone 
today are moustaches  and brass washers

then I use the staz-on to dab onto the area I am using to stamp onto the pieces 
You need to stamp quickly as it does dry quickly 
dont push the stamp down too hard - you only want to the surface lines to be covered 
Place the piece clean side down (be sure to hold by sides as you dont want the oils from your hands to get onto the piece )
because its rubber stamp it will spread and smear
I usually hold down with one finger and lightly go around the edges to ensure it meets the stamp 
I'll keep the one finger down with a bit of pressure and pull up the piece all in one pull
I find some of the odd size and shapes are a bit harder to work with - dont worry if you get any on the backs - it comes off later 
Let them dry 

Now I have to set up my etching system
Hot plate, cookie sheet with aluminum foil, glass cake pan
I put in some etching chemical (ferric Chloride)
I dont put a whole bunch, just enough that I can have the pieces sit on the surface
I turn on the hot plat - ONLY TO WARM- too hot and it affects the solution and the etch 

Now to  get the dried pieces ready to be put into the etc.
I picked up some 3" wide packing tape - normally I have 2"  but sometimes I have items that are odd shapes and they stick out or if I want to put a bunch together the 3" works great 

I check to see how many I can put on the tape by  pulling out one of the nail files that I use as a support to see the length 

Place all your pieces with the stamped side face down 
and put the tape over the entire group (I fold the ends to be able to pick up easier) note I have some staz-on  on the back of my pieces - dont worry it all comes off later 
I use my finger to burnish the tape to the metal pieces 
then I place one of the nail files for support (so it does not bow in the etching solution) keeps it flat and straight

then another layer of tape to hold the file on top and to keep the etching solution from the file (most of the time)
next pick up by the end and make sure it all stays together 
I lay it lightly on top of the etching solution and stick the ends to the sides of the glass 
because this tape is wider I am only getting 3 strips in at a time where I get 5 usually with the 2"

so now because this is fresh etching solution  I'll check at 1 hour - 1-1/2 hour and 2 hours 
as it etches to see how deep the etch is 


  1. Well there you go...if I had of read this post first it would of made perfect sense.

  2. Thanks for these wonderful blog posts, Deb. You have descibed the process really well but I don't think I'm quite ready to try on my own. Probably need a little coaching and support from the expert! Please don't forget me when you're ready to teach a course in the GTAH.(greater toronto and hamilton). Thanks for the wonderful pictures too. It really demystifies the process.

  3. Its all about getting all the tools and chemicals together - once you do then each time is easier than the one before - it took me a while before I even tried

    1. I've been wanting to try my hand(s) at etching, but have been timid. Your tutorial and pictures have made it so clear. Now I just need to decide which stamp and which project. Thank you for your generous tutorial.

  4. I have been expierimenting with this! I find that my stazon is not lasting long enough. It tries and sometimes does come off my pieces, I have roughed up my surface so it has some tooth to hold the stamping. I also have been using a heat gun which seems to help. I am using jet black, yours looks white? Any tips? Thanks! You are awesome!