Etching Brass Plaques

Craft & Design
Etching Brass Plaques

In this video tutorial from Switch & Lever, we are shown how relatively easy it is to create your own etched brass plates using ferric chloride and brass stock. In the video, 3 different methods for creating the mask for etching the brass are experimented with: the laser printer toner transfer method, using black spray paint and a laser cutter, and using a commercial spray mask and a laser cutter. Once the masking is done, it’s simply a question of using an etching solution and then cleaning and finishing however you desire.

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The experiment with the three different masking methods is really interesting. Surprisingly, the least high-tech method, the good old laser printer toner transfer method, worked the best. The commercial masking spray with a complete fail. Along the way, we even get a little chemistry lesson in what’s going on during the etching process.


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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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