Zentangle Copper Etching

Our copper pieces with Sharpie Zentangle drawings
done directly on the copper pieces
My first copper Zentangle piece mounted on rough wood using the
wonderful tiny screws I found at the local Ace Hardware store.
This copper piece is in the showcase at the Saline Library
with some of my Zentangle pieces until October.
Vicky's lovely piece!
Copper trilogy created by me, Nancy, and Sandy
I went up north a couple of weeks ago to teach a Zentangle class to kids at the Ausable Artisan's Village Art Gallery in Grayling. It's a great space that was once a Benjamin Franklin 5 and 10 store and has been tranformed into a wonderful art gallery. There are many talented volunteers helping to create and maintain this gallery and my sister and brother-in-law are volunteering there.

My trip was two-fold, one, to teach the class, and two, to take some vacation time with my sister and her hubby. A fabulous time was had by all and we spent a jam packed few days doing lot's of fun artsy fartsy, family visiting stuff, my favorite!

My sister Nancy helped me teach the Zentangle class on Wednesday, and on Saturday I got to help her do a wire jewelry demonstration of making aluminum wire Christmas ornaments at the Ausable River Art Gallery. By "help her" I mean carrying stuff, sitting next to her and doing my Zentangling and being a general helping sister. We had a great time.

She's a wonderful wire jewelry artist. Check out her fabulous jewelry designs on etsy at ausabledesigns.etsy.com

On Thursday, she and I did some copper engraving using sharpie pens, tangling directly on the copper pieces, and then etching our designs into the copper using the Sharpies as the resist.

It was sooooo kool. A very labor intensive process but the results were AMAZING! The top photo shows the copper pieces once we completed our Zentangles drawing directly on the copper. The copper pieces are shown mounted on foam using double-sided carpet tape. The foam allows the pieces to float in the etching solution so the acid can do its job and eat away the copper that isn't covered by the Sharpie ink. We had to wait for the etching solution to work its magic, and in an hour we pulled out our copper pieces. We neutralize the acid solution with ammonia water bath (stinkies!), then a baking soda water bath., scrubbed the Sharpie residue off the copper with scotch scouring pads. Once cleaned the copper was antiqued to bring out the depth, and then cleaned, and cleaned, and shined, and waxed and viola, lovely copper pieces of Zentangle art emerged. You don't really know what your going to get until the acid does its work and they are all cleaned up and antiqued.  

Once they were completed we stood there admiring them, and giggling and ooowing and ahhhing. It was wonderful. We even took the pieces to dinner with us that night!

Nancy and I spent all day Thursday playing with the etching and then had friends come over to continue the etching fun on Friday. My sister has a jewelry studio in her home, a perfect place to do our projects. 

Sandy and Vicky, the two women who joined us on Friday are friends who were in the first Zentangle class that I taught last fall. They are both Zentangle Zealots now and were into our new copper etching Zentangle undertaking.

The results of our art days were AMAZING, take a look at all the pieces we created. Each one is beautiful. 

Thanks Nancy for all your expertise making it possible!


  1. Ooooooh sounds like so much fun. I want a play date with you and your sister....I'll bring my sister..... The etchings are beautiful!

  2. Wow, they are so pretty, I have been trying to use a drill machine to engrave it and no luck, this is such a simple and beautiful way of doing it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Nice work, it is amazing how deep the etch went in an hour. Good Job.


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