Etching on Brass

by Deb Mae
(Livonia, Mi)

Hi Stacy,
Can you etch on brass with the same chemical and instructions as you list for copper?
Thank you
Deb Mae

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Deb! Brass is a copper alloy and etches beautifully with ferric chloride. It also etches nicely with the homemade solution of 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and muriatic acid (a.k.a. pool acid which is hydrochloric acid). You can etch nickle silver (a.k.a. German silver), which is also a copper alloy and contains no silver, with the same mordants.

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Nov 13, 2010
Etching on brass
by: Deb Mae

Thanks Stacy, I have stayed away from German Silver due to allergies on some, If after etching I can work with liver sulfur, then if I sprayed with a Laquer would that lessen the allergic reaction to some. I currently use aluminum when I don't want expense of silver, but I am thinking you can't etch aluminum. I like the 3 color combo so I want to try the german silver.

Nov 13, 2010
Etching on Brass
by: Stacy

Deb Mae,

I can't tell you if lacquering would lessen your allergic reaction. While you may be protected in the short term, lacquers do wear off in high traffic areas. So, I recommend you avoid anything with a nickel content such as German silver.

Ferric chloride is claimed to etch aluminum but I've never personally tried it.

Jun 16, 2012
yes, you can etch aluminum
by: metalsmith guy


do a search at, serious industrial etching folks there as well as artists. Al can be etched, if anythig the problem is controlling the etch as solutions tend to heat up as it proceeds.
Have fun, be safe

Jul 28, 2013
etching german silver
by: bijay

can i etch german silver(a copper alloy) by conc hno3?

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