Etched Copper Mandala Earrings with African Turquoise

by Sandra.
(Germantown, WI)

Etched Copper Mandala Earrings with African Turquoise by Sandra  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

My adventures in metal smithing continue with the latest obsession being metal etching.

To make these earrings I used copper sheet metal to cut out the circles.

I then use my Silhouette Cameo software and machine to design and cut the mandala pattern out of vinyl.
Etched Copper Mandala Earrings with African Turquoise by Sandra  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

After securing the vinyl to the metal I prepare my acid.

I use 1 part muriatic acid from my local hardware store and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.

After I get the depth of etch I want, I dome, clean and polish the metal and add the LOS to darken the etch.

Etched Copper Mandala Earrings with African Turquoise by Sandra  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

I then wire wrapped African Turquoise directly to the mandala.

I find etching frustrating at times and often unpredictable, but love the ability to design unique pieces of art on metal!

Sandra
Soul Sisters Designs

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Comments

  1. Sandra, the copper and African turquoise are really great together, and I like the contrast of round and square. Thanks for sharing your process of creating these fab earrings. I like the finished look of the copper etching. Do you use your Silhouette a lot for designing and cutting?

  2. Catherine Franz says:

    Sandra, these are beautiful! I do have a question though on your directions – I’m curious on how you secured the vinyl to the metal. Also, did you dap afterwards? It doesn’t look like you lost – lost isn’t the right word – stretched any of the design when you did dap. Out of common sense, I would think that you would dap after the etching. Did you lose any with the stretching?

  3. Rena~ Thank you for sharing my piece on your site! To answer your question, I use the Silhouette in countless ways in my jewelry business. I use the software to design different shapes/patterns/images or I use a shape that I have purchased from the Silhouette store, but alter it enough to not infringe upon the designer. I also use the trace feature to upload different symbols from the internet that the Silhouette store doesn’t sell or I can’t personally design. You can trace any image or photo and create a Silhouette file the machine can cut. I’ve used this feature for some of the Sacred Geometry patterns I wanted to try etching. I also use the Silhouette to cut out all of our hang tags for earrings, necklaces, bracelets and keychains, as well as our handmade gift boxes, gift tags, promotional signage, ect… It really has been invaluable.

  4. Catherine~ Thank you Catherine! The vinyl I use is sticky on one side just like a sticker. I use contact paper from the dollar store as transfer tape to pick up the design, then apply the vinyl directly on the metal. Because the vinyl is made for outdoor use, it sits in the etching solution without coming off the metal (MOST of the time!!!) I have had smaller pieces come off and mess up my etch, but it is successful most of the time. As far as dapping the piece, yes I forgot to mention I did dap the metal after I etched it. The copper I used was a thin gauge that I barely had to pound into shape, especially since the etch almost anneals the metal for you. The design didn’t stretch out or anything that I noticed, but I will be more mindful of that next time I create something and we shall see if dapping or doming affects it. The dapping isn’t too severe on this piece either, just enough to add to the design so that could be a factor for not stretching as well. Thanks again!!!

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