Posted by: alenegeed | April 26, 2012

Etching with Salt Water and batteries.. FUN!

I am taking a class on etching metal using salt water and batteries. My second class was last nite and I actually got to etch something that worked

Battery Etched Brass

Acid etching requires lots more safety requirements and the space to prepare and do clean up, I was not too keen on this process, but I loved the idea of etching in my own designs in metal! 

So when I saw the advertisement for an etching class using Salt Water and Batteries, I was intrigued. The class is being held at Mesa Arts Center Metals Studio.

Basically you use concentrated salt water (which requires a special salt with no additives) and D cell batteries. It is a little more complicated than that and I am still learning of course, but it is FUN!

My first real attempt is shown here. It was a copyright free design I found, applied to PNP paper, which acts as a resist to prevent that part of the metal from eating away, and then I put the brass into the salt water and attached the battery power!

This piece is done but I still have to remove the black ‘mask’ with a solution so only the metal will be left. Then it can be used as a template for a pendant or earring.  Cool!

Hope you enjoyed this mini lesson in battery etching! More to follow once I have the last 2 classes under my belt.


  1. Do you know if the salt water/battery process etches sterling silver, too? I’d love to learn, but can’t find a class in my area. Can you get me in touch with your instructor, please?

    • Hi Jane
      I am pretty sure silver can be etched in this process. I know we worked with brass and copper in the class. I’ll look over my notes and contact the instructor. There was also an article on this in either Jewelry Artist or Art Jewelry magazine. (in 2011 or 2012) you could check out their web sites for details.

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