How to etch iron without fancy tools

Originally published at: How to etch iron without fancy tools | Boing Boing


We used to dump copper sulfate crystals into the lake by our cottage as a preventative against the big annual algae bloom in late summer.


cool i want to try it
another way is with enamel paint and muriatic acid, paint any metal object with the enamel and scrape off the paint where you want to etch and dip it in the acid it will disolve the metal but not paint or even erode right through if left long enough.

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9V battery, salt, and vinegar is all ya need.
When I did this I used a grease pencil to cover the area and then used a small screwdriver to scrape off the grease where I wanted letters to appear. Worked pretty well


invisible ink.


If you use a mixture of copper sulphate and common salt, it will etch the iron without leaving a copper deposit. Also works on aluminium.


A pretty mild way to do this is to use ferric chloride (circuit board etchant) with a beeswax resist.

You can get anything from a light surface etch like this guy gets with the copper sulphate, to a deep etch (like an overdone electro-etch).


might add to shopping list

Also readily available in any hardware store as tree root killer for pouring down drains.


I would NOT put this in a garden.

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