The easiest engraving DIY
How to make creative mug using iodine solution at home
Let's check out another way to etch a cool chemical inscription into metal!
Only under adult supervision.
- stainless steel mug;
- wooden stick;
- 5% iodine tincture;
- paper towel;
- plastic wrap;
- hot water.
Melt some wax and apply it to a stainless steel mug using a brush. Use a wooden stick to carefully scratch an inscription in the wax. Be sure to scratch evenly, all the way down to the metal! Cover the area with a paper towel and apply a 5% iodine tincture. Then cover the paper towel in plastic wrap and press lightly to ensure that the tincture is in contact with the metal. Let the mug sit for one day, occasionally refreshing the iodine tincture. Remove the paper towel, immerse the mug in hot water, and clean off the wax using fresh paper towels. Your text is etched into the metal!
Stainless steel is composed largely of iron. Being a metal, iron acts as a reducer, which gives electrons away in redox reactions. Meanwhile, iodine acts as an oxidizer, which tends to accept electrons. The paraffin protects the iron from reacting with the iodine everywhere except the area you exposed manually.
Fe + I₂ → FeI₂
The obtained iron(II) iodide is a water-soluble compound – just rinse the mug with water to remove it. As iron is expended during this reaction, deep grooves are left in areas where the reaction took place. Such an engraving should not be applied to surfaces that may come into contact with food. The engraving site may corrode over time.
Want more engraving projects? You can find similar experiments in the “Etching and Plating” set from the MEL Chemistry subscription!