One of the most fun groups of people I know are the fellow members of the Grand River Bead Society (GRBS). It's where we get to share our knowledge and inspire others. It's also where we can freely talk ad nauseum about jewelry making!   We meet once a month for 10 months of the year.  We also have our own Bead Fair coming up this weekend! So if you are close enough - and I know some of you are - please drop by.  Maybe I'll bump into you?

There are 20 exhibitors there to help you with your addiction jewelry making passion. There are also several classes offered by some of the members - I believe there is still space. As it coincides with Ontario's Culture Days, we also have free jewelry making activities scheduled on both days. So bring friends and family for a fun outing.

The organization and work put into this fair by all the volunteers has been tremendous.  GRBS is a non-profit group. The Bead Fair helps us raise money so we can continue our mission to educate and inspire.  The funds raised pays for our meeting space and subsidizes all sorts of classes and activities for the members.

Our 2015-2016 season started off with a big bang last Monday with a metal etching class led by Caroline Andrews (Sunline Metalz).  It was a lot of fun!  As you can see from some of the pictures posted on our Facebook group, the class was well organized with preparation and etching stations for the 30 of us! That's me in the white sweater (not the most brilliant choice of attire for a potentially messy activity!) leaning over to choose a PNP printout. PNP is Press-n-Peel blue transfer paper originally used for circuit board etching.

We each had a kit which included two copper pieces. These had to be sanded smooth and cleaned so there were no oils from fingers on them.  I tried two of the design methods.  I used a thick oil based blue ink pen to draw some squiggles on a metal ring (below left). PNP designs had to be rubbed with the metal on a hot plate.  The design on the right is someone else's PNP design.

One of the great things about classes like this is we learn various tips.  The metal pieces were actually stuck onto duct tape sticky side up. The duct tape in turn held polystyrene blocks which allowed the pieces to float face down on the ferric chloride (etchant).

Once the pieces had been etched, it was time to sand off the oil based ink.  The ink protected the copper from the etchant.  The grey areas are now slightly lower than the copper areas.

We also had a choice of patination solutions.  These are by Jax.  The one on the right works like liver of sulfur but has no odor.  (Another alternative which might be easier to get hold of is Gun Blue - see this past post).

I used the Iron, Steel and Nickel Blackener on the ring.  When I sanded off the blackener, this is what remained :

I used a delicate PNP design on my square copper piece and the other oxidizer.  I wasn't as successful with this one as it was hard to remove the details with the emery paper without taking off the patination.  But the colors are intriguing!

One reader emailed me some time ago to ask if I knew of a bead society near her.  One quick Google search later, and it appears there was.  So check out if you have a bead society near you!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips