Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Playing with Acid

As part of the Glass Fusing Webinar I participated in 2 weeks ago, we were taught how to make our own patterned dichroic glass. This could potentially be very handy, since dichroic glass is expensive enough, and patterned dichroic is even worse!

This is a piece of patterned dichroic I purchased - it was part of a purchase of scrap dichroic, where you don't get to pick what goes into the lot.
patterned dichroic glass

This is a gorgeous pieces of rainbow black dichroic, with a geometric brick-type pattern. I like it, but I just don't use patterned glass that much. I have made earrings with it, where you don't want to stack a lot of glass because it starts to get too heavy for ears!

I decided to go ahead and try making my own patterned glass, just to see how it went.

Here is the set up:
gloves, Armour Etch (acid), dichroic glass, popsicle stick applicators, stickers

Those who know me, know that I am already out of my comfort zone - because I don't like MESS. The gloves were to protect from the acid; I would have worn them anyway, because the etching cream gets on everything, and is a big mess. Yuk.

I had 2 different types of stickers to use as a resist - I chose the stickers for their patterns, and they both ended up working just fine, but the paper stickers (at the bottom of the stack on the right) had a very different type of adhesive, one that would definitely tear paper if you stuck the sticker on paper and then tried to remove it. Whereas the other stickers were more like Post-Its - you could stick them on something, and pull them off, without any adhesive issues. This played a role later on in the process.

I was using some scrap black-backed dichroic (the technique works on clear dichro, also).

First, I applied my designs to the glass. The thing I had to keep reminding myself about is that the stickers are the resist: wherever there's a sticker, no glass will be etched. But all the non-stickered surfaces will have the dichroic eaten right off, leaving plain black glass. Seems a shameful thing to do to all that pretty color!

flowers on purple, green

loops on gold

ovals on purple

zigzags on teal

dichroic glass group, ready for etching

Time for the acid!

etching cream on glass

they all bubbled a bit, but this one REALLY bubbled!

 Let's see how they did...

Here's how they looked with all the acid washed off, but the stickers still in place:
When I washed them, some of the stickers washed right off of the 2 at the left - the loops, and the ovals. These were done with the paper stickers with the very sticky adhesive - sticky, yet they didn't stick well, paradoxically. And when the stickers were removed, they left behind a nasty adhesive residue, like those price stickers they put on glass - I had to get out the Goo Gone to remove the adhesive. The other stickers - not a single problem!

purple flowers, before I removed the stickers

gold loops and purple ovals, with stickers partially removed by washing

At the very bottom of the gold glass, you can see an unetched area - I ran out of loop stickers to apply, so I decided not to even put acid on this part of the glass. You can see how the acid really eats the color off the glass it IS applied to!

more etched glass before I removed the stickers

Next, I removed all the stickers and any adhesive residue - time for the big reveal!

Here's the group shot:
etched dichroic

And now, some close-ups:
red hearts

purple ovals

purple flowers - and I tried to add some abstract stuff because I didn't want so much vast, black space

gold loops

teal flowers

I made a couple of side-by-side before and after collages to show how the acid eats away all the uncovered glass:

top: purple dichroic with stickers; bottom: etched glass, where purple represents the portion covered by stickers during etching

top: stickers on gold dichroic; bottom: etched glass where gold represents the dichroic portion that didn't etch because it was covered by resist (stickers)

 Here's what I learned:
1) I can etch glass, and make my own patterned dichroic. It's easy, if messy.
2) I can't make patterned dichroic anywhere near as pretty and perfect as any I could buy: My sticker application is not very evenly spaced!
3) It's messy....
4) I'm not a big fan of all that black glass - it seems like a waste. Although, I can see using it decoratively in some bigger pieces.

I would have achieved a completely different result if I had done this on clear dichroic glass - and I can really see using some pattern dichro, such as the loopy design in the last pic, as a window into a piece with colored dichro below it.....maybe next time!


dreaminofbeads / SAS Jewelry Designs said...

Wow that is really cool. They look great, but I do see what you are saying about all the beautiful color being gone. Would be really neat if it was the other way around.

Sweet Freedom said...

My thoughts EXACTLY, Sonya! And if I had any kind of drawing skills AT ALL, I could draw delicate flowers, designs, etc on the glass WITH the acid - and then only the design would etch off, leaving a black design amongst all the color. But I have no drawing skills!

Shelley Graham Turner said...

Wow, who knew? I will definitely have to try this! Plus what about using the sticker paper background piece (what was left AFTER you took the stickers off and had put them on your glass). Bet that placed on the glass and then etched would have looked pretty cool (and most of your finished piece would have been colored as opposed to black!). THANKS for sharing!!