Take a trick from the science geeks and use circuit board etch to create this antiqued copper bracelet. We’ll share how to etch a pattern into blank copper disks. Then we’ll share how to connect the disks and beads using wirework.
How To Etch Copper To Make An Antiqued Copper Bracelet
4 Flat, faceted Labradorite coin beads, 16mm
3 Copper disc blanks, 1″ diameter, 24 gauge
RadioShack PCB Etchant Solution
1 ounce Liver of Sulphur*
Stampendous Tiled Quad Cube TC54 rubberstamp, brocade flourish
15″ Copper wire, 20-gauge
Copper toggle clasp, antiqued, 15 mm
Plaid FolkArt Enamels craft paint, any color
Tools & Supplies
Metal hole punch pliers, 1.25mm hole (hole fits 14 gauge wire)
Pro-polish pads (or silver polish)
Nail polish remover & cotton balls
4 Glass jars with lids
4 Wooden craft sticks
Large mixing bowl
*Handle these materials with care and follow the manufacturers’ safety instructions. Please dispose of properly according to all applicable federal, state, and local environmental regulations. Thanks! J&K
1. Clean the three copper discs with nail polish remover. To keep the discs from sticking to the rubberstamp, attach them to a piece of paper with double-stick tape. Dab the enamel paint onto the surface of the rubberstamp using the foam paintbrush. Carefully stamp each disc. The enamel paint is slippery and the stamp may slide. Don’t fret. Just wash the disc off with soap and water, rub with nail polish remover, and try again. When you are happy with your designs, let the paint dry.
2. Don protective gloves. In a well-ventilated area, pour ½” of PCB Etchant Solution into a glass jar. Drop the stamped discs in and screw on the lid. Fill the mixing bowl 4″ deep with hot tap water. Hold the jar in the bowl of water to warm the solution. Let the discs sit in the solution for 20 minutes. Agitate the jar periodically to swish the etchant over the discs.
3. To remove the discs from the solution, slowly pour the etchant into a second jar. (You can reuse the etchant solution on your next project!). Use two craft sticks as a strainer to keep the discs from falling into the second jar. Dump the discs into your gloved hand and rinse them under tap water. Dry the discs with a paper towel.
4. Remove the enamel paint from the discs with nail polish remover, then wash the discs with soapy water. Continue to handle the discs with gloves to avoid getting any oily fingerprints on them before they go into the Liver of Sulphur.
5. To antique the discs, microwave 1 cup of water in a glass jar for 2 minutes on high. Add a pea-sized lump of Liver of Sulphur (LOS) to the hot water and stir with a clean craft stick. Drop the discs into the jar etched-side up, making sure they are not touching. While the discs are in the LOS, mix 1 cup of warm water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a clean jar. Let the discs sit in the LOS until the discs are darkened. (This could happen quickly or take up to 20 minutes depending on the strength and warmth of the LOS.) Using gloved hands, reach into the jar and retrieve the discs. Rinse the discs in the baking soda solution, then rinse with water.
6. Using the Pro-polish pads, carefully buff the raised surfaces of the discs leaving the recessed, etched parts dark.
7. To assemble the bracelet, start by punching a hole 2mm from the edge on either side of each disc using the metal hole punch pliers. Cut a 6” piece of copper wire, feed it through the toggle clasp, then secure it with a wrapped loop. Slide a labradorite bead onto the wire, start to make another loop, slide a copper disc onto the loop, then finish by wrapping the loop. Make sure the disc and toggle clasp are facing up. Continue in this fashion, connecting the labradorites and discs with wrapped loop wirework. Finish the bracelet off with the other side of the toggle clasp.
Size It Up: The finished bracelet is 7½”, which is perfect for a medium-sized wrist. To make a smaller bracelet, substitute two 8mm labradorites in place of two of the larger ones. To make the bracelet larger, add an 8mm bead to each end between the clasp and the labradorite. To determine your bracelet size, measure your wrist and add 1″. In general, a small bracelet is 6¾”, medium is 7 to 7¾”, and large is 8″.
Econo-Tip: Before you run out and buy a new stamp, take a look at your current collection. For this project, choose one with equal amounts of positive and negative space. Trace a copper disc onto a piece of paper and do some prototypes to find a design that works well. Where the ink is stamped, the design will be raised and shiny and the rest will be etched and antiqued.