30 Days of Creativity, Day 2: Sweet Moleskine Cover

So, yesterday’s plan to etch some stuff didn’t really work out. The toner didn’t stick well, and so I never even got anything into the etchant. Today, however, I have.

The original plan was/is to use a special paper that allows me to print my design, transfer it to the material to be etched, and drop it into the etching solution. It’s an awesome idea, but very tricky to get right. You can get a tool to help with the transfer($300), or you can use a laminator (which I don’t have), or you can try to use a regular househol iron. I tried the iron, and it just made a mes. Ultimately, you just need to have some material that will cover whatever you don’t want etched away. After a quick look around the garage, I decided to try some left over exterior latex paint.

First, I cleaned off the old toner with acetone (thanks, Mike), and cut a small piece to use for this test. I taped this down, added a quick couple of shapes, and cut through the tape with an exacto knife.

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Pulling of the “to be discarded” bits, I’m left with a mask that reveals the shape of the finished piece. I dig this feature of this approach, as it really gives a clear picture of the final piece, where other approaches require a bit more imagination.


I grabbed my left over paint, and painted in the front and back.

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While I let that dry, I mixed up my etching solution with muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Once that was done, I couldn’t resist dropping a little sliver of brass into the solution:


Neat! Once the paint was mostly dry, into the solution it goes


… and we wait


… and eventually I realize that the paint is not sticking. Crap. I pull it out of the solution and get it rinsed off.

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The thing is paper thin (the original material was only .005″ to start), but has some interesting colors and patterns from the paint. But what to do with it? A little spray adhesive later, and viola!


A sweet custom moleskin cover.