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One thing I love about being a metalsmithing is that I get to put on my mad scientist hat and experiment. Where one scientist brain is sufficient,  having several scientific brains are always better and so much more fun.  On this occasion, several of my Ladysmith friends gathered together to etch our own steel texture plates.

Three minds are better than one. Teamwork!

Texture plates are a tool that we use to roll through our rolling mill to texture the metals that we use in our designs.  Normally we have to purchase them and they are not cheap.  We are always looking for ways to save money because we want these saving passed on to our customers.

Preparing our patterns.

Our first order of business was to design our resists which in this case was vinyl.  After we applied the vinyl resist to the steel plates we have to add resistance to the back of the plate. The chemical etch will remove the steel from the exposed metal.

After applying the resist pattern to the front and a solid resist to the back it is time to submerge into a chemical solution that will remove the exposed steel. Whenever working with chemicals always practice safety first.

Safety first!

Then it is time to watch the magic of science work.  After about 30 minutes you have to brush off the metal that is being removed and check the depth of your edges.

Checking etched depth.

After we have removed a sufficient amount of steel and have a deep impression it is time to neutralize the plates with some baking powder solution and remove the vinyl and ooh and awww over the finished project.

Finished plates!

If you are interested in experimenting with this process you must watch this youtube video by Leslie Kail Villarveal.

I would like to encourage you all to reach out to others that share your love for art or other interests.  Build that community, support one another and lift one another up.  Those relationships are far more important than anything else you do.  Invest in one another you won’t be sorry!