Acid Etching Cream
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Acid Etching Cream

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Hydrofluoric Acid/Mica Glass Embossing Process
This process causes a deep stippled emboss to glass (not the Light frosted effect associated with hydrofluoric creams). This treatment has been used for over 100 years & lots longer in England where it is still practiced to this day. A note of warning: Hydrofluoric acid does not instantly burn as other corrosives but is absorbed through the skin and attacks the bone. It will dilute thoroughly with water so wear good thick industrial gloves and splash protection on your face and body and wash up after each use. Make sure there's plenty of ventilation too. This acid corrodes only glass, so keep your diluted mix in plastic containers.
Preparing the Acid Mixture
Coat, by screen printing or by hand all the glass that is not going to be embossed with Asphaltum Varnish. be sure this is a heavy coat. It is a good idea to coat the other side of the glass with asphaltum or a vinyl mask also to prevent the acid fumes from creating a haze. if you are using both the mask and the asphaltum make sure you over-lap the asphaltum well under the mask or hazing could still occur.
Hydrofluoric Acid comes 48 to 51 percent pure and is mixed two parts acid to three parts water prior to use. Mica is available in one grade of coarseness but using a blender you can make the Mica finer to get different degrees of fineness.
The Mica is mixed with the acid to a slurry consistency. The Mica flakes act by interrupting the action of the acid. We use a disposable foam brush to apply the mix. Let it sit on the glass for 30 minutes, and then gently brush the acid and mica into a plastic pot. Don't let the acid dry on the glass or dull opaque areas will result. Rinse the glass well with water and clean up with water. To remove the asphaltum use varsol. The stipple can be left plain gilded or silvered. Opaque paint hides the stipple completely.