Tips Tuesday – Etching Beads

I love the smooth, silky feeling of beads etched right.  When I first started etching beads, I used Etch-all and a dunk in baking soda solution to neutralize the acid.  Often I was left with a chalky feeling and bits of white residue.  I now use milk.  Any milk with fat in it will do.  After you pull the beads out of the etching solution, drop them in a cup of milk.  The milk will curdle, but when you rinse off your beads I think you will be pleased with the results.  If they are transparants, they actually glow a bit in the light.   


Please add a comment about how you etch your beads.

4 Responses to “Tips Tuesday – Etching Beads”

  1. November 20, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    I was never super happy with the acid etch so I switched a few years ago to using my sandblaster to etch beads – no chemicals. At first I had grit too course and that left a rough texture on the beads so I had to buy super fine grit. Works great, smooth beads, no chemicals, no mess (I use a blast cabinet).

    Something I discovered by accident with etched beads is that if you use a little scented hand lotion (I had some on my hands that hadn’t been absorbed) it will smooth the beads to a sort of mat gloss,not as dull as etched but not shiny, and the etched glass will pick up a trace of the scent (I like lavender). Try it on some experi-beads to see if you like the effect!

  2. November 20, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    WOW, I’ve been doing the milk thing too, but guess what? I thought you had to rinse the etch liquid off the beads before you dipped them in milk… doh! I had wondered why I wasn’t getting the same results others were. NOW I know! Excellent tip!

    I’ve never had good luck with etching creme… I much prefer to use the etching liquid. I just string my beads with some space inbetween and let them soak right in the jar, no need for clean up. Also, many people complain about etching Bullseye glass. I have never had a problem. If you’re patient and just let them sit a minute or two extra, they WILL etch! Try it… especially with the Bullseye Fuscia… mmmmmm *drool*.

  3. November 22, 2007 at 4:20 am

    I don’t suppose you can successfully etch borosilicate beads…


  4. December 3, 2007 at 2:32 am

    What a great tip! I don’t etch beads often so I haven’t had the opportunity to compare both the milk results and just rinsing them off. Thanks.

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