Studio Series – Etching Tips…

Etching glass beads on skewersI’ve never been one to etch beads, for one, because I never really liked how they turned out for me and two, it’s just a pain in the butt.  It usually comes in a jar that big beads never fit through the opening so you’d have to pour it into another container and put your beads onto some type of string and make sure they were separated with a little bead so there weren’t shiny spots.  Blah blah blah.  Maybe there was an easier way but I just never thought of it.  Until now.  And I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner.

Last year I purchased some AWESOME etching crystals from Arrow Springs to which you add hot water to dissolve it the first time (and heat up after that until they stay dissolved).  They came in this nice, wide-mouthed container.  Genius-me was using dental floss to string up my beads and hang them in there which is great but messy when you pull them out and they’re dripping all over.  So then I tried creating a little strainer out of a plastic cup by punching holes in the bottom.  That was messy too.  Then, one day when I was preparing some beads for etching this hit me.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner or why someone out there isn’t showing how clever they are by doing this.

I love how big transparent layered dots look and I couldn’t bring myself to etch them so I did the paint-on-the-white-glue trick.  Just like it sounds, you paint on white craft glue with a paint brush and use it as a resist…all the glued spots don’t get etched while in the solution…unless you forget your beads for hours and the glue dissolves.  One way to apply the glue is to ‘paint’ one side of the bead and put it down and let it dry, then do the other side.  That could take forever and I wanted instant gratification so I jammed my beads on to skewers.  Why jam them?  So they don’t move around when you’re trying to paint those little dots!

Etching glass lampwork beadsWell then it hit me.  Duh!  Why not just put the beads, still on the skewers, right into the solution?  You can mix them around to make sure they’re getting coated evenly and just pull them out when you’re done.  No more fishing around with tweezers to try and find them or fishing out the string of beads (although I might still have to do this way for many small beads) and no more transferring of containers.

I know it’s not genius.  But I feel so smart today.  I love it when I finally figure something out that makes my life easier.

3 responses to “Studio Series – Etching Tips…

  1. Lori,
    Thanks for the info – even though I don’t do glass, I liked reading about it. As nerdy as it is, I enjoy analyzing the process I use to make my beads and pendants. Making and using tools I design myself gives me great pleasure!

    – Elaine

  2. I wanna big huge jar of etching solution/crystal thingies. I have a small jar that I have to pour into tiny pyrex glass cups. I used the wood sticks to paint mine, then try to get them off the end to soak ’em. Pain in the backside, I agree!!

    Don’t ya just love little AH-HA moments?

  3. Surf on over to Arrow Springs. They’ll hook you up. Their etch solution is awesome and leaves your beads feeling dreamy smooth. Tell ’em I sent you. Not that they’d even know me…LOL…I just like saying that.

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