One of the very cool features of the Silhouette Curio™ is the ability to etch designs onto metal surfaces. We’re going to walk you through the etching process and show you how we made this custom metal key chain.

Supplies Needed:

Step One: Preparing the Design

1. Open Silhouette Studio®. In the Page Setup panel, change the mat size to the Curio Embossing Mat, which is 8.5 inches by 6 inches. Draw a circle that is a little bit bigger than your key chain.

2. Take a photo of your child’s handprint and open it (File > Open > Find the handprint image) in the Silhouette Studio®. Resize it so that it fits into the circle you drew and add your child’s name into the circle using the Arundel font (Design ID#243631).

3. Place the handprint image outside of the circle. Go to the Trace panel, which is located on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the Select Trace Area tab, click on the working space near the image, and drag rectangle around the image. This will define the trace area. Adjust the threshold to the 86% mark and click the Trace tab. Now we have an outline of the handprint. You can delete the handprint image or place it beside your working space.

4. Connect your Curio machine to the computer and turn it on. This will unlock the Emboss panel (specifically for the Curio), which is located on the right side of the screen. Select the handprint outline and the child’s name, click on the Concentric tab, and change the spacing to 0.004. This will fill designs with embossing lines, which will be etching lines for our project.

Step Two: Etching the Key Chain

1. Now we need to make a key chain placeholder. (This is so that you will know where exactly to place the key chain on the mat and it will also help keep the key chain in place during the etching process.) Place 2+2 platforms + embossing mat onto the Curio base (use the snaps on both sides of the etching space to hold the platform and embossing mat in place). Place a piece of cardstock that is bigger than your key chain on the embossing mat.

2. Go to the Send panel, and choose the Line tab. In the first tool holder, which is marked with a red circle, we will put a ratchet blade. In Silhouette Studio® under the first tool, choose “Cardstock, Plain” as the material, set the action as cut, and select the ratchet blade as the tool. The second tool will be the stippling and etching tool. In Silhouette Studio®, for the second tool we will click on the blue circle, and then select the metal sheets etching as the material, choose your action as etch and your tool as the etching tool. Because the first action will be only cutting a circle (which is displayed with the red line) from cardstock, uncheck the blue line for now. Now the machine will cut only the circle with the red line.

3. Load the Curio base into the machine. To do so, locate the arrow at the top of the base. This tells you which way to load the base into your Curio. Gently insert the base into your Curio. Continue pushing until the small notches on the base are pushed farther in than the front of your machine. Hit the load button on the right side of your Curio. The Curio will pull the base in place. You are ready to make a cut. After you load the Curio base, you will see that Curio status will change to Ready. After checking all the settings and adjusting the blade, click Send. The machine will proceed to cut.

4. After the cutting is done, unload the Curio base from the machine. Remove the cut circle from the mat and keep the rest of the cardstock in place. Put the blank key chain within the circle on the mat and secure it in place with the tape. Make sure to avoid taping the area where you will etch the design.

5. In the Send panel, uncheck the red line and check blue line. Now the machine will only etch. Now click Send.

Attach the etched key chain to a key chain ring. Now your project is ready. If you plan to give the key chain as a gift, you can make a gift box (Design ID #45890) and write a nice little note on the inside.

Give this metal-etching tutorial a try and tell us what you make!