Plate gauge for copper etching?

by Jay See

Hi Stacy,

We were thinking about etching copper with a resist and ferric acid. I was wondering if you knew a gauge range for the thinnest copper we could use.


Stacy's Answer:

Hi JC!

The thinnest copper I've etched to be used for jewelry is 24 gauge. Ferric chloride will etch any gauge of copper. If your metal is too thin, you can't etch a pattern as deeply as a thicker gauge of metal. You could also compromise a very thin metal with the etch making it too thin and brittle to form for jewelry use.

To avoid the heartbreak and frustration of ruining all your hard work and materials, the best way I've found to know if what I'm wanting to use will work is simple. Test some pieces of it, try different gauges of metal and see what the limits are and what works best for what you have in mind.

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