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Maker’s mark necklace

SUPPLIES

Necklace 18 in. (45.7 cm) 

  • Copper wire, round, dead soft
  • 7 1⁄2 ft. (2.3 m) 16-gauge (1.3 mm) 
  • 3 ft. (91.4 cm) 20-gauge (0.8 mm)
  • 2-in. (51 mm) fan-shaped pendant with 2 sets of holes at top or supplies to make your own pendant
  • 32 8 mm round beads (lapis lazuli) with holes large enough to accommodate 20-gauge (0.8 mm) wire
  • Chainnose or flatnose pliers
  • Looping pliers with 4 mm and 8 mm jaws, or 4 mm and 8 mm mandrels or other cylindrical objects
  • Roundnose pliers
  • Flush cutters strong enough to cut 16-gauge (1.3 mm) wire

Pendant 2 in. (51 mm)

  • 2 in. (51 mm) square copper sheet, 24-gauge (0.5 mm)
  • Hole-punch pliers, 1.5 mm
  • Nylon-jaw pliers
  • Permanent marker
  • Metal shears or jeweler’s saw
  • Flat files and needle files
  • Steel wool, #000
  • Mounted design stamp
  • StazOn inkpad
  • Plastic packing tape, 2 in. (51 mm) wide
  • Disposable latex or nitrile gloves
  • Plastic bowl with lid
  • Ferric chloride solution
  • Toothpicks (optional)
  • Baking soda
  • Paper towels
  • Liver of sulfur

INSTRUCTIONS

Etched pendant

Makers mark necklace Photo A
Photo A
Makers mark necklace Photo B
Photo B
Makers mark necklace Photo C
Photo C
Makers mark necklace Photo D
Photo D
Makers mark necklace Photo E
Photo E
Makers mark necklace Photo F
Photo F
Makers mark necklace Photo G
Photo G

1. With a marker, draw the outline of a pendant shape on the copper sheet (PHOTO A). If desired, copy the template, cut it out, and trace around it. Mark the positions of the four holes.

2. Carefully cut out the shape using metal shears or a jeweler’s saw. The edges will be sharp. Flatten the piece with nylon-jaw pliers, and file the edges all around. Use a small piece of steel wool to smooth the edges again (PHOTO B).

3. Stamp the metal with your chosen design stamp using a StazOn inkpad (PHOTO C). If the imprint is not perfect, use a permanent marker to fill in imperfections. Alternatively, use steel wool to remove the imprint, and then start again. 

TIP: You can also draw your own design on the metal in permanent marker. Or, if desired, simply hammer a texture onto your pendant to skip the entire etching process.

4. Punch four holes near the top of the pendant (PHOTO D), and use needle files to smooth the holes.

5. Prepare your pendant for etching: Cut a piece of packing tape several inches longer than the width of the bowl you will be filling with ferric chloride. (The tape will drape over the sides of the bowl when the pendant is attached.) Position the pendant design-side up in the center of the tape. If any part of the pendant sticks outside the tape, cut another piece of tape, and place it perpendicular to the first piece so that none of the pendant edges is exposed (PHOTO E). Press down on the pendant to ensure a tight seal with no air pockets.  

6. Put on a pair of disposable latex or nitrile gloves, and carefully pour just enough ferric chloride into a bowl to allow the pendant to float on top of the solution when suspended by the tape. The entire front surface of the pendant should touch the solution, but the pendant should not soak in it (PHOTO F). Attach the tape securely over the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl, and set it aside.

7. Allow the pendant to rest on the etching solution for approximately 50 minutes. If desired, check the depth of the etching periodically; carefully remove the lid, and use a toothpick to gently feel the grooves made by the etching process. Replace the tape and cover, and then check again in two or three minutes. Different metals etch at different rates; copper will etch to a nice depth after about 52 minutes.  

8. Once you are happy with the etching depth, carefully remove the pendant from the bowl, and rinse it with clean water. Remove and discard the tape. Pour the ferric chloride back into its original container for future use. Use baking soda to clean the sink and any surface where the ferric chloride was used; the baking soda neutralizes the action of ferric chloride.

9. Dry the pendant with paper towels and then brush the front and back surfaces with steel wool to remove any chemical residue (PHOTO G).  

10. Patinate the pendant with liver of sulfur. Remove the pendant from the patina, rinse it, and dry it on a paper towel (PHOTO H). 

TIP: If desired, patinate the wire you’ll be using for the chain at the same time as the pendant.

Brush the pendant (and wire, if you patinated it) with steel wool to remove some of the oxidation and highlight the etched design on the pendant (PHOTO I).

For complete project instructions, click here to download & print this PDF

Makers mark necklace Photo H
Photo H
Makers mark necklace Photo I
Photo I
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