Mar 312011


I have always had a healthy respect for the acid I use to etch beads, but after finding these beads I am now just plain fearful!  I am seriously considering not buying any more ever again and just tumble etch my beads.  I etch A LOT and just hate this acid, but its much quicker and easier than a 2 hour tumble. 
So any experienced lampworker might have already noticed that these beads are still on a mandrel (duh) with the bead release is indeed intact AND that the beads are etched. Somebody who has never etched beads before may not even think this is anything worth making note of or something to be feared so let me explain.  Etching beads is done after the beads are removed from the mandrel.  The beads need to be submerged in the liquid acid for several minutes. (I have been meaning to do a quick tutorial on how I etch beads – have the pictures done already so I will follow up with this here soon.) So far as I am aware of there is no way to etch beads and end up with what you see in the photo above.  Unless… leave them in a basket next to your etching solution for about 10 days.  Yup, that’s how this happened.

I used to leave my etching solution bottles in a basket hanging above my kitchen sink. This is where everything gets etched and its just close and easy. But now I fear just what this stuff is doing to even the air I breathe.  How in the world did this happen?  The beads were placed in that basket about 2 weeks ago. All they did was sit right there next to the bottle of etch bath! So now if you don’t want to touch the acid and have a week to ten days to spare, just leave your beads close to the acid and the etching will happen while you eat, sleep, make more beads and who knows what else.  But just remember, just because its safely stored away in a bottle doesn’t mean it isn’t doing its job.  Ugh, the stuff is now being stored in the laundry room.  

So, where do you store you acid?

 Posted by at 8:30 pm

  5 Responses to “This scares me!”

  1. Hmmm. That is scary. I do not have any acid in the house so I can't relate. But the beads are gorgeous.

  2. That really sounds scary! What kind of acid is it? I don't use acid at home, but at work we have some acids which we always handle under a fume hood (sort of like a ventilated cabinet).

  3. Hi Serena,
    I am quite new in glass beading, but being a goldsmith I have learned a few things, among others that Hydroflouric acid is an extremely nasty chemical and the only one that can etch glass – this also goes for the glass etching cream and solutions, that are merely thinner (weaker) versions of the same stuff. Meaning it is still very harmfull, but on longer terms.
    Read the safety sheet on glass etching here:;=1029001
    The ONLY safe way to etch glass is to have a small glass-blowing (sand-blowing)box!!!
    Kathe, DK

  4. I never read blogs, but I so enjoy looking at your beads, that I wanted to hear your voice too.

    Is it possible that some of the etching solution spilled on the outside of the bottle and then the vapors etched your beads? Or perhaps the cap doesn’t screw on tight? I just looked at my etch solution to check that it isn’t damaging the area I am storing the bottle, and the area and the bead containers look okay. My etch solution (Dip n Etch ‘Etchall’) is in a clear plastic bag sitting on a wooden mantel of sorts next to my storage of beads. I like my beads out in the open and have very few storage containers. I couldn’t trust that the etchall would be safe in the kitchen, garage, etc. Where it is now doesn’t get disturbed much.
    By the way, I liked the bead you posted next to the heart bead. I don’t really think it is ugly, it is unusual. (posted as ‘Sedona Surprise’, 9/26/13). I’ll buy it if you want to sell it.
    I have a question. What do lampwork artists do with the beads that don’t turn out?
    Thanks for your newletters in my email. I still enjoy the beads I bought from you, and will buy. And good luck with your future surprises! Harriet

    • Hi Harriet~ I don’t believe any spilled out, but I do believe that the vapors are escaping from the bottle. It sure was a warning for me to NOT be storing it near any food. My bottles are now stored out in the laundry room where the is more ventilation and no food.
      As for ‘ugly’ beads. I generally keep them for other art projects. Some I do give away as I know that someone else might cherish it.

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