DIY fabric PCB etching with salt and vinegar

DIY-eTextile_fabric-PCB-etchingHow to get what you Want‘ is certainly the first address every eTextile enthusiast working or planning textile electronic projects. It’s full of amazing tips and tricks coming from Hannah Perner-Wilson, one of the sites main contributor.

New techniques are added very frequently so check out ‘How to get what you Want’ again and again. I am only giving here on talk2myShirt occasional reminders and re-posting about new items which completely amaze me like the fabric PCB etching by using a solution of vinegar and salt and Vaseline as resist.

The term ‘innovating on a kitchen table’ has never before been so literally as with this amazingly simple but highly innovative technique.

The recipe for this technological soup is very simple: 100ml vinegar mixed with 7ml salt. Take copper polyester Taffeta fabric from LessEMF for example, cover your layout with Vaseline and put it into the eTextile circuit fabric etching solution.


Out comes a clean etched copper pattern on a off-white textile substrate.

For a much more detailed background description, the different materials that could or might be used, check out the article at ‘How to get what you Want‘. Via Hannah’s Flickr stream you can see a load of photos of different layout artwork and the processing steps.

I am truly stunned by this technique which not only allows a simple way to etch PCB specifically for textile electronic it also allows to make artwork out of traces that usually made from straight lines, integrating the electronic needs (connecting traces) into the aesthetic of a wearable electronic design.


  1. You can use monosodium glutamate (ie food seasoning) bought from the supermarket to etch copper as well. It takes a few days for the process to work because it requires oxygen to be absorbed from the air. Adding a solution of hydrogen peroxide (sometimes sold as color safe clothing bleach) will speed up the reaction a lot.

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