User Guide: How To Make Your Photo Etched
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
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
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
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.
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
- 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