HOW TO ETCH STERLING SILVER
PART IV : Creating a Vertical Etching Mount
Once you have your resist applied to your clean Silver, you need to attach it to a mount ready for etching. You can't just drop it in the bottom of the pot. As well as mounting it to something to suspend it in the etching solution, you need to ensure that all areas not be etched are protected. You can do this solely with packing tape, but I use Nail Polish (regardless of the resist used) to cover the sides of my work too. This stage is really important if you want clean work; as any etching solution that leaks into the back of the plate or touches the sides will need work to clean-up (more filing and lost silver).
For vertical etching I use packing tape for the whole mount. This holds the Silver, and allows you to easily pull your work in and out of the solution to check it.
1. Cut a long piece of brown sticky packing tape and fold it over on itself a few times to make an ‘arm’ to hold the mount (this will hang up and over your water bath). Then cut another piece of tape to mount your Silver on. Tape the two together with some more tape.
2. Place your pieces onto the tape and gently press them down.
3. Cut off any excess tape from the bottom.
4. Turn the Mount over on your hand (try to avoid putting it down onto anything that will scratch the fronts).
5. Lightly burnish the tape on the back of the pieces (squeezing our air bubbles if they’re near the edge). Use an old credit card or your finger nail to gently do this. Rub over and it will ensure a good adhesion of the tape. Too much pressure and you’ll tear the tape. If this happens just burnish some more tape over it.
6. Turn the tape back over and lay the whole thing back onto your working surface. Now paint nail varnish around the edges of each piece, being careful not to touch your resist area. Use a fine brush if needed. Let it fully dry for a good few hours (I often leave it overnight).
7. You may need to touch up spots once it’s dry as it will naturally fall from corners / edges. Let it dry again.
8. Now you’re ready to etch!