How to Etch Lampwork Beads


A jewelry-making technique today: how to etch lampwork beads.  Glass beads are amongst the world’s most ancient forms of art, and the great Italian designers of Pandora, Chamilia, Troll and Biagi has really made them popular. (I am not really talking about the designer metal bead collection. I am talking about the all-glass versions.)

Etching Your Beads

If you like that ‘aged’ matte look of handmade lampwork beads, then here is an easy DIY how-to tutorial for you, with some safety instructions.

Many lampwork bead suppliers give you the option of having their lampwork beads etched for you, but even non-pro lampwork bead jewelry artisans like you and me can do it ourselves, as it is actually quite easy, but you must handle with care.

If you want to etch your own beads, here are some tips:

Step 1: is to get yourself a small jar of glass etching solution.   Note: I am giving you this link here and Armour Etch might work, but your lampwork bead maker probably works with a commonly used product called Etch-all. This is typically sold by glass suppliers. It gives a consistent, even, frosty glow. An etch-bath does pretty much the same thing, but appears to be not as strong nor as long-lasting.

Step 2: take your safety preparations:

  • A. Read and follow the safety instructions on the bottle you purchased
  • B. use disposable rubber gloves;
  • C. ensure proper ventilation by e.g. opening the windows if you’re in a confined space.
  • D. Have baking soda nearby, as the acid etching solution is easily neutralized by the soda, if case you spill it on a surface, your cloths or skin.

Step 3: Place your brandnew lampwork beads in a plastic bowl, and pour the etching solution over your lampwork beads to fully covered them. Alternative: strap the beads on length of thin copper wire and just soak them inside your jar.

Step 4: Wait for the acid to do its etching magic. Duration: usually it takes just 5-10 min to etch your beads, but read the instruction on the solution that you purchased to ensure the exact time.

Step 5: Remove the lampwork beads out of the etching solution with a plastic spoon, and bath the beads in a bowl with a teaspoon of baking soda to neutralize the acid. Never touch the beads with your bear hands prior to neutralization!!

Step 6: If your lampwork beads have some white dust on them, removable with a toothbrush that you will discard after you use it for this purpose (or specially keep only for this purpose!). I heard of other lampwork bead makers rinsing them in soapy water after their baking soda bath.

Step 7: Save your etching solution to reuse it over and over again, for years. Keep it safely out of reach of children. While talking about safety, never let the etch solution touch glass or metal. Nor should you let it come in contact with cloth or skin, wash immediately with baking soda.

info source: various

Jewelry Making Supplies

This is a most popular book on lampwork bead making that I think you should have a look at. Click the image to learn more.

And here is where you get beautiful Handmade Lampwork Beads.

Glass Lampwork Bead Bracelets

Not into making your own bracelets but like to have one? To simply buy a bead master bracelet, click the link for a good quality bracelet that are as beautiful in design but without the cost of famous brands.

murano glass beads

Other Tutorials on Lampwork Beads & Glass Bead Jewelry

I have previously posted a video tutorial that you might like to look at: How to Make Lampwork Beads. Enjoy.

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