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  1. 31/08/2014 copper etching tutorial

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    For this project you will need...

    The following are sold all together within our etching kit (except laser printer, stazon ink pad and rubber stamp)...Needed

    -Etching Solution (ferric chloride solution)
    -Copper sheet or blanks (min of 24 gauge, 20 gauge if you wish to etch double sided) *brass may be used as a alternative*
    -Resistant ...Sharpie marker, laser printer (and transfer sheet to print on) or stazon ink pad (and rubber stamp)
    -Brown packing tape
    -Lock tight plastic container large enough to fit your project in (NO METAL BOWLS!) *glass or plastic container may be used as a alternative*

    Extra's that can be brought seperately...Optional

    -patina ... liver of sulphur or swellegent etc
    -warm water
    -green scrubby pad
    -0000 grade steel wool

    For protection... Essential

    -Rubber Gloves 
    -Safety goggles


    I recommend that you.. 1. read through the tutorial fully 2. read the basic safety rules and basic steps to avoid problems below before attempting this project.  


    The basic SAFETY rules for working with chemicals are...

    1.Keep pets and children out of the area.

    2.Avoid direct contact with skin or in eyes. Wash any splashes off immediately.

    3.Be careful about heating any chemical.

    4.Get plenty of fresh air.

    5.Don’t breathe in fumes or dust. Clean any etched metal under water.

    6.Use disposable scrubbies or steel wool to clean your etched metal.

    7.Soak up any spills with baking soda and/or cat litter.


    The Basic steps to take to avoid any problems are...

    1.Rubber gloves (latex or nitrile).

    2.Safety goggles.

    3.Apron (To avoid stains).

    4.Good ventilation (open a window). Never etch in a small enclosed space due to fumes (Etch outdoors if possible).

    5.Only use plastic or glass containers.

    6.Baking soda to neutralize the acid.

    7.Secure plastic container to dispose of used solution.


    If you have thoroughly read through all of this tutorial you may start...

    once you have all the necessary supplies your ready to start with metal etching! Simply follow our simple step-by-step tutorial...


    1. Choose your metal.

    Ferric chloride works on copper and brass.

    It will not work on actual silver (fine or sterling). DO NOT USE ferric chloride on aluminum.

    Metal as thin as 24 gauge can be etched, just leave it in for less time and check more frequent. If you would like to etch both sides or etch really deep, use at least 20gauge.

    2. Clean metal with Penny Brite or an abrasive cleaner and scrubbie.

    After cleaning the metal, the water must sheet off the surface and not pool up.

    Also make sure after the surface is clean, you DO NOT touch the surface with fingers as the oils from your fingers will also act as a resist.

    The metal must be very clean before using.

    3. Apply resist to your blank or sheet.

    Stazon ink pad, Sharpie pen or laser printer are recommended but there are many options! Depending on what image or design your wishing to create.

    Stazon ink padto be used with a rubber stamp - Evenly ink up your stamp and stamp your blank/sheet carefully and leave to dry.

    Sharpie permant marker pen to be used freehand - The first thing you’ll need to do is use your sharpie markers to draw a design on the copper sheet. It can be anything you’d like. Here is a picture of my design drawn on the copper sheet.

    Laser printer to be used with special transfer paper - Remember to reverse any relevant image or text before you print out. To print place transfer paper in printer (making sure you print onto the shiny side) and print off your chosen design, making sure its to your desired size to fit on your blank/sheet. Cut out your design and place it face down onto the blank. Place a piece of paper over the top and iron the image onto the blank/sheet on a high setting. Allow the metal to cool and carefully remove the paper, leaving the image on the blank. If there are any areas that have missed you can fill them in with a black sharpie pen.

     4. Cover all areas that should not be etched with ink or tape.

    This includes the back, sides and inside any holes. It’s okay if the tape dips below the surface of the etchant as long as you have taken precautions by adding a resist to the back and sides of your piece.

    5. Pour 1/4-1/2″ of etchant into your container (glass or plastic only).

    If you are etching more than one type of metal, use a separate container for each. For example copper in one tub and brass in another.

    Max depth =  1/2" in of solution around 10 to 13mm.

    6. Attach your piece to your tape and place it in the etchant

    Use the tape to suspend your project face down in your etching liquid. Do this by putting the tape across the back of your design. You need to either be sure that there are no bubble or runs in the tape or cover the back of your piece thoroughly with resist.

    Suspending the metal into the bath make sure the metal is submerged but isn’t touching the bottom of the container. If you have more than 1 blank to be etched, then you can add a lollypop stick to the back of them to make sure they sit flat.

    7. Allow to float for 30-90 minutes, depending on depth of etch desired.

    Remember your looking at the depth of the etched area, the longer you leave it the deeper the etching. We highly recommend after the first 30minutes you check on the piece and then again every 5-10 minutes until its right for you.

    It helps if you swirl the mixture occassionally by swishing it around.

    8. Scrub metal clean in a tub of water.

    When ready extract your copper from the solution and sprinkle a little baking soda over the surface of the blank to neutralise the acid. when all the fizzing has finished it is safe to wash the blanks clean in a bowl of warm soapy water. You will need to use steel wool or a wire brush to remove the resist from the blank.

    If possible rinse it outside with a garden hose if you can or rinse in a plastic bowl. Ensure you rinse it thoroughly and inspect it carefully making sure all solution is off. 

    Cleaning all the etchant off is important, as it will stain if not washed off properly.


    Etching solution (Ferric chloride) can be reused several times, between uses keep solution stored in a plastic lock tight container (provided with kit) that will prevent spillages (ensure you label container appropiately)

    Once the solution is exhausted (typically after about 3 uses or once solution is blackened), , you can add some baking soda to it to neutralise it before disposing of it in the proper manner...never empty out down a household sink or drain. 





    You’ll probably want to patina the metal with liver of sulfur or another oxidizer to really bring out the definition in your design.

    or alternatively use a swellegent patina to add more colour or detail to your piece.

    To patina with liver of sulphur patina (LOS Patina)

    1. Using a different container, heat some water in your microwave (one to two minutes)

    2. Add a pea sized chunk of liver of sulfur to your warm water and add your copper piece.

    3. Remove the copper piece from the LOS once it is fully oxidized. Dont panic if it’s good and black this is fine.

    4. Now use 0000 grade steel wool to buff off the LOS patina.

  2. 31/08/2014 beginners checklist for metal stamping

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    Stamping checklist for beginners

    check out our tutorial before you start...

    1.pick a stamps set (uppercase, lowercase and numbers)

    when picking a set it is purely down to personal taste and preference, go for what you like to see on your charms and blanks. our most popular is impressart bridgette.

    *you may also want to use design stamps in your project.

    2. stamp straight tape

    is used to mask out letters and give you a straight guideline to stamp along. you can mark the tape with a pen where you want each letter to be before stamping, the tape is thick so will give you a nice edge to place your stamp against and will remove easily without leaving any sticky residue unlike alot of tapes

    3. steel block

    we have 3 size of steel blocks small medium and large, bench blocks are important to prevent double imprinting when stamping and the give a nice solid base to stamp upon.

    4. hammer

    you need a good solid hammer. i recommend a min weight of 1 lb. which is a perfect weight when stamping and will enable one nice solid blow. some design stamps may need a 2lb hammer.

    5. blanks

    there are many choices of metal to use
    -sterling silver
    -silver filled
    -gold filled
    -stainless steel

    the above ones are the main materials to keep eye out for and to explore 
    the blanks come in many sizes, shapes and finishes, the most favoured material is aluminum to begin with due to it being a soft material and easy to stamp

    practice sheets are also available to practice stamping upon, basically like stamping lines until your confident to stamp on a blank

    once your confident in stamping you can think of ways to finnish your blank...

    step 1... colour your letters...

    1. permanent marker
    sharpie pens are a quick way to blacken or colour your letters on your blank

    2. paint pens are used the same way but you leave them to dry depending on the pens you leave anywhere from few hours to overnight.

    TIP: if you wish to you can also bake your blanks once you have inked them to extend the colour longer.

    step 2 ...punch your hole...

    if your blanks do not have a hole we recommend you punch your hole after you stamp, its a big reason we sell most our blanks without holes
    it will be ease the the complication of leveling all the words etc

    there are many types of ways to put a hole in your blanks here are a few..
    -double hole punch - a screw type hole punch which has 2 sizes included to give you the choice of using both. 
    -hole punch pliers - a single pair of pliers that you squeeze together to punch your holes 
    -mighty punch or power punch - comes with many size holes to swap when you need them (highly recommended for thick blanks of 16 gauge and thicker) 
    -a drill - there are many drills on the market its best to research to find the one suitable for you

    step 3... to polish and to finnish ....

    1. wet wipes
    fantastic for cleaning of the excess residue from blackening/colouring in letterings of your blanks

    2. pro polish pads 
    similar to the use of wet wipes will wipe off the excess ink but added advantage of adding a little extra shine to your blanks 
    the polish pads are fantastic for copper blanks a simple small 2 inch square pad perfect for polishing or removing oxidation)
    you can use them several times but on dry services only so ensure the blanks are thoroughly dry before use.

    3. dremel or hand rotary tool
    there are many on the market these have many uses from smoothing to polishing and you can get many different heads for them aswel.

    5. tumbling 
    quick and easy method from step 1 simply place blanks into tumbler and wait for it to polish your blanks quick and simple.. plus you can tumble/polish lots of blanks at the same time, which is the added bonus of having a tumbler 
    the tumbler has 2 uses 1. to debur and 2. to polish. deburing uses pyramid media which smooths your blanks and polishing uses steel shot media which polish and shines your blanks.

  3. 31/08/2014 tumbling tutorial

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    You can hand polish jewelry but that's too tedious. Using a tumbler not only polishes, it also deburs and work hardens the metal.

    There are actually two types of tumblers 1. rotary and 2. vibrational.

    Rotary tumblers like our Lortone are cheaper, quieter and don't need supervision.

    The vibrational ones tend to "walk" when in use but they do give faster results

    However, if you are wanting one for jewellery or metal rather than rocks, I would recommend you get a rotary tumbler.


    What you need:

    3lb Tumbler

    between 1/2 and 1 lb of stainless steel shot

    Teaspoon of Burnishing Soap




    1. Plug in your tumbler and turn it on this helps warm up machine

    2. Prewash any new or dirty shot  in the tumbler for 20-30 minute to clean of any dirt or grease before using

    If your using a mixed shot we recommend you take out any sharp pins especially if tumbling aluminum of any other soft material

    The weight of shot needed will vary from tumbler to tumbler

    3. add all blanks you wish to tumble 

    4.  add water to 3/4 of the barrel ensuring plenty of room for movement

    5. add 1 teaspoon of soap and put lid back on

    insure lid and top of barrel is dry before closing /sealing lid.

    WARNING: The weight of the entire barrel should not exceed 3lb otherwise you run the risk of over working your motor on your tumbler

    if weight is fine continue...

    if weight is not fine remove some shot or pieces out of the barrel and re-weight.

    6. add barrel to machine

    7. turn on and leave for 30-60minutes and check contents 

    anything over 1 hour will work harden your pieces only, if your pieces are no different to when they went in and dont seem to have polished try ...

    1. removing some shot until you see a difference in the quality of the finnish

    2. changing the water 

    3. removing the amount of blanks, maybe there is to many and not getting the movement needed

    if all fails and still items are not polishing right...

    1. pay close attention to the tumbler and ensure its moving freely and turning regular ensuring the fault is not machine.


    2. pay close attention to the material itself some materials will polish up lovely,it could be that the fault is down to the material your trying to tumble.

    (some metals have a matt finnish so wont give you that mirror finnish that tumbling brings out.)

    Once your happy with the blanks and you have the measurements right for your tumbler, we suggest you record down the final weight of shot used for future use or keep it stored separately

    8. Drain the contents of the barrel into a sieve and rinse

    Ensuring the holes are smaller than the shot, so you do not lose any

    9. Rinse and dry thoroughly

    once dried, the shot can be put aside in a dry airlock container til needed again

    10. Items are finished and you can now use them in your makes 



    PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to debur first, simply swap the stainless steel shot for deburring media (usually green small pyramid shapes) instead and follow the tutorial.


    if your using the tutorial for metal stamping blanks, please remember 

    you ... 1.debur (with media) ... then ... 2.stamp ... then ... 3.polish (with shot) ... to finnish




    Tumbling Dos and Don'ts

    • Do make sure the shot is rinsed and dried well after use. Store in a dry place. Lock tight containers are very handy to store shot in.
    • Do change the water often! There is a minimal amount of water used so if there is a lot of dirt, the water can only hold so much.
    • Don't tumble more than one chain or necklace at a time. You don't want to spend the next several hours untangling.
    • Don't tumble plated or coated metal or risk losing the plating itself.
    • Dont Tumble jewellery with stones especially if you don't know how delicate the stones are. 
  4. 31/08/2014 hand stamping tutorial

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    Hand Stamping Tutorial

    Hand stamping is a technique where you use letters, numbers and symbols and stamp them into metal to create impressions.

    The metals i like to use is either stainless steel or aluminum to create my designs. There are other types out there tho.

    For charm stamping i try not to use no bigger than 6mm for for my stamps, Impressart is really good for stamps and we sell a growing range of blank charms. 

    Materials Needed
    1lb Brass Hammer
    Letter stamps (uppercase or lowercase ) and Number Stamps
    Steel block 
    Blank Charms (aluminum is softer and easier for some stamps)
    Black sharpie Permanent Marker (or your preferred colour)
    Design stamps (optional)
    Stamping Tape (optional)
    wetwipes (being a mum i find these handy) or a tumbler

    Here are some examples of what not to do when stamping:
    Holding the stamp the wrong way can result in upside down letters, numbers or images.
    Pay special attention to the number 6 and 9 stamp, the same with B,D AND P stamp.
    Not holding the stamp firm enough can cause the stamp to move or double inprint.
    Not holding the stamp straight or hammering to soft can cause incomplete letters.
    Hitting the stamp too hard can dent the tag along with the impression.
    Hitting the stamp twice will leave a double printed impression.

    Stamping an image upside down is an easy mistake to make and an easy one to prevent, heres a few tips of how to prevent this.


    Practise stamping onto paper or card around 10 sheets thick.

    You can also practice on paper/card for a number of reasons, one for the spacing of letters so that you don't crowd them or run out of room.

    Two by practising how to stamp level, tape can help acheive this and there is special tape especially for stamps so that the tape dont leave any stickiness or marks once pulled off.

    Mark your front

    With a permanant marker place a mark on the front edge of the stamp ( bottom side of letter)

    some stamps have the letters, numbers or symbol already put in this place to help you so when you stamp they are stamped the right way up everytime.


    To Begin Try This Method

    Lay your stamping blank on the steel block.

    Place your tape to guide you straight at your chosen position.

    Then either...


    1.Mark on your blank with a felt tip marker where you plan to stamp. 

    or... can write the word on a sticky note and stick it ontop of your tape as a guide.

    Then choose your stamp and hold it with the mark facing you.

    Position the stamp on the stamping blank where you want the impression to be.

    Hold the stamp firm and straight.

    With a 1lb brass hammer, hit the top end of the stamp with a single but firm blow.

    This will leave a clear impression of the design.

    Repeat for each impression

    once you have finnished your stamping and your happy get a sharpie permanent marker,

    which ever colour you desire and write over each letter.

    once finnished using a damp cloth or wetwipe and wipe away any excess pen marking thats left.


    Your now finnished and you can add to your curent project.

    once your confident you can skip the step of using guidlines and try stamping freehand...


    If you wish to be more adventurious you can now add your charms in a tumbler before wipeing of the pen place in a tumbler with the required equipment needed, doing this will make your stamped charm  nice and shiny and take of all the excess pen.