User Guide: How To Make Your Photo Etched Parts
To make your photo etched parts, you need a pre-sensitized plate (photo plate), sodium carbonate (included), water and ferric chloride etching solution  (not included). We will show you where to buy the materials at end of the article.  We also highly recommend you to watch the "How to Video" on the right hand side of this page.

1. Print your graphic on a transparency film

Before making the stencil, you need to print your graphic on a transparency film. We found that laser printer produces better result. Alternatively, your   local print shop can also print the transparency film for you.

2. Expose the top side of the photo plate

Turn on your florescent light and let it warm up for 10 minutes so that the light source is stable. Put the photo plate on a hard surface then put the transparency on the plate. After that, put a piece of glass on top.

Your fluorescent light should be 12 inches away from the plate, expose the plate under a fluorescent light for about 12 minutes.

3. Expose the bottom side of the photo plate

Remove the transparency and flip the plate over, expose the bottom side of the plate for about 12 minutes.

4. Remove the protective cover

After you have exposed both sides of the plate, you must remove the protective cover of the plate. Put a piece of tape on a corner and slowly peel off the protective cover. You have to do the same thing on the other side of the plate.

5. Develop the photo plate using Sodium Carbonate (Washing Soda)

(*)Notes: We recommend using Sodium Carbonate included with our plate for developing. You no longer need developer solution from MG Chemicals which is mentioned in our How-to Video.

All our plates and starter kit comes with Sodium Carbonate. Dissolve complete contents into 250ml warm water. Wait until solution is at room temperature. Use a soft brush to wash the plate for 1~2 minutes or until you clearly see the exposed metal.  Wash the plate with clean water for 1~2 minutes.

Now, you should see that your graphic is being developed on the surface of the plate.

6. Etch the photo plate

Put the plate a plastic tray with etching solution, move the tray up and down slowly. Depends on your graphics, it will take up to 60 minutes to fully etch the plate.

7. Strip the photo plate

Use Acetone and a metal tray to wash away all remaining photo materials.

8. Conclusion

In this article, we go through the detail steps to make your own stencil. We hope you found this article useful. If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to contact us at

9. Materials List

  • Pre-sensitized Photo Plate from Rena Electronics
  • Transparency Film from local office supply store or MG Chemicals
  • Sodium Carbonate (already included with our plate and starter kits).
  • Ferric Chloride Etching Solution from MG Chemicals
  • Acetone from local hardware store or Home Depot