As a jewelry maker, one of the most difficult things for me to do is make men’s jewelry. I think it is just my instinct to make things that are pretty and feminine. My husband has been begging me to make him a “cool” bracelet for years. I always kind of shrug off his request, but keep the idea simmering on the way back burner. Recently I began etching metal, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally make something masculine. Etching metal gives you the freedom to incorporate any design into your work, even manly ones.
For this bracelet, I am going to briefly show how to etch metal using ferric chloride acid. If you plan on etching metal, I highly recommend that you read through our metal etching blog and all the safety guidelines associated with etching metal. This process does involve highly corrosive acid, so it is important that you know how to protect yourself. You can also do this project by using metal stamps to create phrases or designs, if you are not ready to dive head first into etching.
Items needed to make this bracelet:
- copper or brass sheet metal
- leather bracelet blanks, I like the 1 1/2 inch for men
- metal shears
- metal files
- steel wool or sanding sponges
- permanent black Sharpie marker
- permanent ink pad, like StazOn
- rubber stamps with manly designs
- packing tape
- ferric chloride acid
- baking soda
- rubber gloves and safety glasses
- two plastic containers, one for etching the metal, one for cleaning the etched metal
- patina solution, like Novacan Black
- metal hole punch
- thread and needle
- bracelet bending pliers (optional)
To start this project, first etch the metal piece that will be the center of the bracelet. The way that the etching process works, acid eats away at the metal where there is no ink. Therefore, you can stamp any image onto your brass or copper sheet metal, and any exposed metal will be etched. I have done a wood grain pattern for this bracelet, but any masculine image would work. It seems like images of fish, guns, tools, bicycles, or anything sports-related would work well, depending on the hobbies of the recipient.
Well I hope I have inspired you to make something masculine! But of course you can still make these girly if you want with flowers and unicorns. That is the beauty of etching! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about what I have done here.