Sunday, September 27, 2015


I have not worked a lot with sterling silver since taking jewelry classes many years ago in college. Recent posts by Leslie Kail Villarreal in one of my Facebook groups have really perked my interest. If you search for her on the internet, you'll find many of her videos on YouTube. She just started offering on-line classes, and her first one featuring her boho rings is now available. Check out her website. She has a free video there on etching silver, which is what I did today!

The first thing I had to buy was a laser printer. A few weeks ago I found a nice B&W printer on sale for $150 off! The price was then $150. But sadly the extra cartridge was almost $90 ... Hopefully the cartridge in the printer and the new one will last a long time. Leslie recommended looking through coloring books for adults for designs that interest you. I found tons of them at Michael's.

The etching video recommended using glossy magazine pages on which to print your design. It doesn't matter if you print over images on the magazine pages, as the toner on top is what you want. Of course, it is easier to see your design by using pages with blank spaces. So I selected a design, reduced it to fit my future project, and printed it on glossy magazine paper using my new laser printer. Yeah! I increased the darkness by a few numbers, just to be sure. (Thanks to my good friend Drewcilla for saving magazines for me! Keep saving ...)

I found my old coffee warmer which works for small projects like mine. Flattened my sterling silver piece and cleaned it well. I had to cut the corners of my metal so it would fit. I'm ready! It was suggested that popsicle sticks would work to hold and then burnish the paper. One broken so that it would work inside the edge of the coffee warmer.

I found that an old grapefruit knife worked well as a burnisher, once the image had stuck to the metal. In case you're wonder why you are seeing the toner image, I printed on both sides of the paper. It confused me too!

After several minutes of burnishing, I took the metal off, cooled it, and then put it into a bowl of water to remove the paper. I was so happy to see an image on the metal! That left edge apparently didn't get any burnishing. You have to have a "plan" so that every part gets burnished.

Here's the whole piece ... it looks good.

So the next scary step is to etch the metal. I used Ferric Nitrate that I bought from Science Company. You mix one part of the crystals to 3 parts of distilled water. I protected the back of my metal with packing tape and taped on two pieces of "this stuff" I've been saving so that the piece would float in the solution.

Here is my etching set-up. The prepared piece is floating in the bowl of etching solution. The bowl is sitting on top of the coffee warmer. The bowl is next to and touching my tumbler. The vibration of the tumbler agitates the etching solution.

It was suggested that the etching process would take 1-1/2 to 2 hours. After one hour I checked and was shocked to see that the metal piece had separated from the floating device and was at the bottom of the bowl. The protective tape from the back of the metal had also been removed. Holy Moly. Did the solution get too hot? Anyway, I got the metal out of there so that the back would not get etched any further. It got rinsed and placed into a bowl with baking soda to neutralize it.

Happy to say that the metal has a nice etch on it! Maybe in a few days I'll show you my first boho ring .... ?!!

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Continuing with the kokopelli stencil I cut successfully a few days ago... As I was screening the clear powder onto the iridescent glass, I wondered how this would look. The kokopelli was the only part getting the powder and it would be glossy, but the rest of the glass was covered with the stencil, so how would it look? There was only one way to find out. Here is the finished piece 6" square piece that was slumped last night. I thought it turned out well. But want to try the reverse in a few days.

I had a nice new rectangular mold and wanted to use it. I placed my make-shift cut-out leaf pattern on it and attached a couple handles with painter's tape. It fit pretty well. Really, I have to make some real stencils with leaves soon!

Here is the finished piece. It measures 4-1/2" x 9-1/2" and fired nicely in the mold.

Then another 6" square piece on dark green transparent iridescent.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


The Cameo Silhouette is an electronic cutting machine. I first became interested in buying one when I worked with metal clay. You can put a sheet of rolled out metal clay on the cutting mat and cut the design you have created! Amazing! Of course, if it cuts clay, it can also cut paper, card stock, stencil material, vinyl ... You can create your own stamps, engrave on metal, print stickers with your computer and cut them out with the Silhouette ...

A couple days ago I saw instructions for creating a stencil on one of the Facebook groups I belong to. The member was using the same kokopelli image I had purchased from the Silhouette store. It looked so simple I thought I could do it. I did not simply want to cut around the image. I wanted to create a stencil about 6" square with the figure in the center. Then I could use it to sift powder through the stencil image onto glass. The problem was that it had the "floating" designs in the body that were not attached to anything. The instructions showed how to create long skinny rectangles using the Silhouette software that attached the loose parts.

I spent the entire afternoon and next morning following her instructions ... and it was not working. I finally posted on Facebook explaining my problem and asking her to go through part of the instructions for me ... slowly. She was so nice and posted another addition to the instructions. Unfortunately, it still did not work.

I decided to send an email to her privately ... it was kind of embarrassing to be the only one who could not do this. After going back and forth a few times, with my sending photos of my computer screen showing steps that did not work, she asked me to send the image I had. She used my image with her instructions and, guess what ... it did not work for her! She kindly said "Now I understand ..." my image would work if I would first "Ungroup", then "Make compound path". Ha. I have lots to learn, but did those two steps, then followed the rest of her instructions, and the final image was the same as hers. I slept well that night.

The problem was still not solved, as I could not print out a TRUE stencil with the image in the center. So I created more skinny rectangles that would attach the image to the stencil itself. You can see all those extra lines.

The result was that I created a real stencil I can use!! Yippee!! The final version below is printed on nice stencil material and measures about 6" square. I can make handles using masking tape, set the stencil on the glass ... then sift powder and lift the stencil up and away with the handles. A little touchup will be needed to fill in some of the lines. This was a great learning experience. Frustrating ... yet very rewarding.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


My first experiments using clear powder on iridescent glass were so successful, I cut more glass to make three more pieces. The collection of dried leaves I have is so fragile, I decided to trace and cut a few using card stock. Why not, right?

I sifted on the powder and carefully removed the cutouts. The powder looks kind of thick in places, but since I managed to remove the cutouts without spilling, I decided this one was a keeper. It measures 4" x 13".

In one of the tutorials I have using powder, the person recommended using a WaxVac, a device you would buy for your ears. I found one at the local Walgreen's. I put it together with the two AA batteries it needed, and it worked great for vacuuming up excess powder around the edges or in wider spaces. A suggestion made in the tutorial was to insert a mini straw into the device for the small spaces. Unfortunately, I had finished the three pieces before I read this, so... next time.
I used a stencil I had cut with my Cameo Silhouette for one of the pieces. A floral design in a circle. This piece is a 6" square.
Then a stencil I had with trees. This is also 6" square.
Here are the three pieces in the kiln. Keeping my fingers crossed!
When you fire in the evening, the pieces are still around 150 degrees when you get up in the morning. So you wait and wait. And you always feel like that little child on Christmas morning! The piece with the floral design turned out great.
The piece with the trees is a little too dark, and it had "wrinkles" in the corners. It's still ok ... but it gets added to my collection.
I really liked the piece with the cut out leaves. They don't look as delicate as real leaves, but passable.