Archive for the ‘Enamelling on Copper’ Category

My Little Metal Shop

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I found a place to buy metal! I am so happy! It is even cheaper than in the states! They don’t sell discs, but that is good because I should cut my own and only my own. Anyway, it took 3 years to find a place. I had been buying from the states and it was such a pain in the ass. It was so expensive too! The shipping killed the whole deal everytime. Being we don’t have much money, well it wasn’t easy either. I really need copper. So this is just a wonderful thing! They sell Bronze, Brass, Nickle Silver, Black Bronze, and Copper. So here are pictures of what it looks like. It is a hole in the wall joint, tiny, dark and pretty ugly. But I see the beauty behind all the dirt! hehe.

What is new with me! Got a package from the states!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Well, I have been having alot of issues, mostly financial. But I was finally able to order some copper! It is at my Mom’s house in the states and she sent me a small “test” package with 82 pieces of copper. It got here just fine! about 900 more pieces to go! hehe, also I have a Kiln, some used Enameling books from ebay, and other items that she needs to send me soon (hint hint)

Metalliferious is the joint I ordered from. I also ordered a roll of tinned copper wire. But I didn’t know exactly “tinned” meant. Yikes. hehe, maybe what I got is something I cannot use. I want it for the tiny little “domed” pieces of copper for buttons, I plan on making rings and soldering them on with hard solder. I am hoping this copper wire will work. the size is perfect, 16 gauge. I hope my plans are doable and I believe that I have to use hard solder or else the soldering will fall apart once I apply the enamel. I don’t dare ask anyone in the yahoo enameling group. I have been told not to ask questions. So I won’t be doing that over there. So if someone wants to comment to help me with this idea I would appreciate it!


I had to have the copper shipped to my Mom because they only use UPS and the shipping would have been approx. $300 US to here in Mexico. I wish more companies would do US Mail because there is a flat rate box for $29.99 that can hold up to 20lbs in it. So I am going to get it little by little. I bought 1 gross each of 7 different sizes and types. I have 2″, 1 1/2″, 1 1/4″, 1″, 7/8″ round discs and 5/8 & 3/4″ domed circles. It was like $700 dollars for this order! whew. I hope they have the best prices, but it is a done deal now, so maybe next time I can find something better? Comments anyone?


So now that I have a supply I can start doing more and am so very excited. I do have a kiln here, but I can only use it in the evenings and on Sundays, the other days it is being used full time for lampworking glass.

How things are going! I am still a Wannabe Enamelist! hehe

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Well there are things I still don’t know. I have asked and no one has told me why. But eventually I suspect I will find out on my own. I still am not used to how some Enamelist do not want to share info. I want to ask questions but I am still afraid of being attacked again. Oh well.

I want to know why you cannot use black as a counter enamel? I did a piece that is not finished yet, as an experiment because that is all I can do now anyway, is experiement! hehe. It is white on one side and black on the other. I am thrilled with the black side, the white side I needed to be more careful with and not let black left over enamel get on the white side…but with what I am going to use it for, that little bit of black doesn’t matter for now. It will be covered with black. This is going to be a black/white piece that is exact opposites. I plan on using leaves (same ones) on each side, just so it is opposites. I think this will be interesting.

So the next picture is of two that I did with silver leaf. I cut the leaf with those cheapie cutters you can buy at Michaels. I think I paid $1 for each one. The problem with these cutters is that they are not very sharp. But they are “ok”. It would have been better if I had leaf which is thicker, but I managed. There are alot of posibilities that these cutters present! I picked two hard colors to work with, I cannot get rid of the black line around the enamels. But people say they like them anyway. But eventually I will figure out how to minimize this. I know Reds/Oranges are easily burned.

This next picture is interesting to me. The one on the left I did in the following manner. I took some white, piled little piles around, then took about 3 to 4 transparents and filled in the rest with my fingers, grabbing little pinches here and there. I didn’t do much else….I call this one blue ocean.

The one on the right was neat and fun. I took a sparrow blue and did that as the base, then I stacked around little seed beads, I had put some “glue” on the enamel to hold them in place. The only problem I ran into was that I didn’t let it dry enough and once I put it in the the kiln a few moved on me….then I took a stencil of a flower shape and put on a lighter blue on top of some of the seed beads….they did amazingly well. There is alot of things that can be done with this!

The next foto is of the backs of the above pieces… the same order.

I did the one on the left a little differently this time. I used the same idea, of little pinches of white with the transparents on top, this time I used more white and some transparent yellow which I like alot. Then once dry I took a little piece of wire to scroll around. This is very neat. I enjoyed this piece alot.

Then the next one I took a small piece of lace and did the light orange on top of the blue, then I took a stencil and added in the pinwheel. I then added in a little lump piece of yellow in the middle. I like the effect of this alot and it is interesting as well! I hope to get ahold of some really good lace with stiff patterns on them.

Anyway at least this is a start and fun!

My Latest Stab at being an Enamelist! hehe

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I particularly like to make fun of myself. hehe, i guess that comes with age. At least for me it did. I no longer care what everyone else thinks of me or if I fit in. Nice huh? hehe

Anyway, so I took the stars and moon piece and tried another plant stencil on the back of it, of course it is nicer than the moon and me anyway….or is it that I fall in love with each piece as I create it? hummm, maybe that is it!? hehe,

I know, I am nuts…oh well. You will just have to deal with it. HA! So here is the moon and stars copper piece…I am now doing the “back” to make this double sided, I like that two for one thingy. Anyway, this is how I do it. I use my Preval sprayer to spray a light coat of ‘glue”….then I lay my little leaves or flowers on the enameled copper disc. Then I powder it. As you can see, this one is ready to be dried and then I have to remove the leaves…carefully so I don’t have to many extra enamel everywhere….I want two colors to show…

 This is what it looks like once the leaves are removed. I am letting it dry on the top of my little kiln….

 This is the piece in the kln. You need to be careful to protect your eyes. I use my lampworkers glasses from Phillips. They offer UV protection to keep you from burning up your retina. This kiln is setup to 1450 degrees. It really is hot and it burns your skin fast. I have a little pair of heat proof gloves and I am going to have to think about using them. This piece was in the kiln about 30 seconds.

 This is the final product. I still have to clean up the edges some, but it is now a two sided pendant…I like it! Do you? hehe, it was so much fun to make too!

Here are the finished pieces (4 of them)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The little notch at the bottom of this pendant just sorta appeared, I have no idea why, but I am not going to do anything to stays...

Here are the 4 pieces now finished. I might work on a couple of them some more, but I am pretty happy with them for now….I used different techniques and I enjoyed making them alot.

I really like the idea of doing reversible pieces. Two for one. I may still do two of these like that…just because I can!


Second Attempt at Enameling – I am getting somewhere

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

This is the backs of the first two pieces.... These are the backs of the first two attempts at Enameling. I was later told not to use black, but I was not told why? Anyway you can see how the edge sorta looks burned and I am not too happy with the results. I now believe I need more coatings. So that is what I am going to do.

 These are the colors that I used on the back of the 4 pieces These are the counter enamel colors that I am planning on using on the backs of my pieces this time around. There are 4 pieces.

Powdered and drying on top of the kiln

So here you go, I have them powdered and drying on the roof of my little kiln. We will see what will happen. I have covered them even more with the Enamel. The first time around I could not see the metal under, this is the second attempt. I did these over 2 days, I don’t have access to a kiln full time. I share the kiln with our lampworkers in our workshop here. I am teaching young women how to lampwork and soon how to enamel. Anyway, our little kiln is getting a real workout. During the day for 9 hours, it belongs to the lampworkers in our shop, and in the evenings, once it has cooled off and I can remove the lampwork beads it is MINE!! All MINE!!! bahhhhwahhhhh!!! hehe. Anyway….Here is my second group! Which I am rather proud of (I think I said that in the first attempt too, oh well…..)

 This is a very pale pink, it takes more than 2 coating to cover the metal well I know I am rather silly, you will just have to put up with me. Anyway so here is the really light pink.

Drying on top of the kiln Here are all of them sitting on top of the tiny kiln. I do not fire them together for many reasons, some fire fasters I have found, and some slower. So if I do them at least individually I can control better the time. Although I have done two at once, and remove one when it is ready and leave the other to mature or in other words…dry the “glue” out before putting it in the kiln (why it needs to dry I am unsure of, but possibly the coloring of the enamels would change?

This color of pink bubbled up. I am not sure why, but it did. The Black  and Purple did ok. The Blue is like an \ This is after the first firing. The places where I did not apply the enamel well shows, or maybe it is the nature of that color? I am really not that sure about that part. But at least they are started….and it is something you can work with….

After the second Enameling. This is after the second coat. In this picture you cannot tell it, but the light pink has a “ring” in the middle where the copper still shows through, it almost has a transparent quality to it, even though it is an Opaque. I am not sure at this point what to do about the bumpy surface of some colors, I guess this is where the word “stoning” comes to mind. But I am afraid to grind the surface, but from what I understand you grind the surface with a white stone (I have them) Then fire polish them in the kiln or let the surface glass up again….and promptly remove it…I think the counter enameling came out pretty good.

The fronts of the 4 pieces, cleaned up with my shaft tool I have polished the fronts of the copper discs, on the backs is the enameled surface shown above. I probably should be pickling these instead. But it seems easy to me to grind off the firescale that forms with each firing. The rough surface doesn’t seem to bother the Enamel none….

Now on to the fronts!

First firing of the fronts of the copper discs. This is the first firing of the fronts…

Closeup of two \ Closeup of the first two, some Enamel has popped off the edges…not sure why, but also there is firescale coming through on the red one….Once I added the second coating on the red one the firescale became very pitted. I used my shaft tool and a diamond ball to remove it, I ground it down to the copper, but only in the spots where it was black, then I filled those in with enamel using a tiny spoon. Fired it and it came out pretty good overall….that was my fix.

  Closeup, you can really see the firescale good…and it got alot worst, it looked like it had some kind of disease once I got the second coat on. I had to grind it down and fix it up…which worked. So another lesson learned…

 Closeup of the pink, this pink is darker than the other side which is a softer pink color. The fronts of these are all different colors than the backs….this pink is darker and seems more difficult to me. This one came out alot better once I put on the second coating (forgot to fotograph it)….but it worked well once I got the second layer on…There is a girl in college that goes by copperheart that said that 3 layers is usually what works best for her….So next time I am going to try that…

I am going to close this post for now. I will have more pictures soon!


Ok, I know I will laugh at this a year from now…

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

This is my very first attempt at enamelling. Of course I over did it, and had to try a few techniques. Who can blame me. I have a nice stockload of neat things and I think I have enough to last me a lifetime (what is left of my own! HA!). So what do you think? I don’t like the enamel close to the edges. It is missing some. I can see firescale around the edges. I know I don’t have enough enamel on the surface. I used Cat Whiskers on them for branches of the flowers, and I also used a stencil I cut out of paper. I actually like the stencil. I like the 3D effect of the milliflori, but I like the wafer flowers even more. I counter enameled black on the back, someone told me that wasn’t a good idea, but why? I want to know why black is not good as a counter enamel. 

The second attempt. I like this one better, because I think it is better made. Closeup of the first piece, I see firescale around the edges, I am not sure what I am supposed to do about that! (Yellow Enamel) The firescale is not as apparent in this piece, but it is still there. The orange area is a stencil cut out of paper that I used. I used an xacto knife to cut it out of regular printer paper. But I have also used computer storage bag (semi transparent) to cut out patterns by placing the plastic sheeting over a drawing.(Blue Enamel) You can see the firescale to the left above the little flower really clearly. I guess I did not do something right. But I am not sure what, either there is not enough enamel on the front before I added in the decorations or I overfired it? There are also some bubbles where I added in the Cat Whiskers, I am thinking that some air got trapped below and the bubble came through. But that is only an guess for now.

 My first two attempts at enameling. For first attempts I am rather proud of them. Before cleaning up edges

This is after I ground down the edges and firescale with my beloved (now my best friend) Shaft tool. I have had the thing for 4 years and never used it, brand new…it was in a cloth tool bag where a rat decided to make a newst. The rat chewed my cord up some, not enough to hurt it, I put some electrical tape on it and cleaned it all up. I am sure glad it is in good shape now, proudly hanging a a tripod I have (I don’t have a stand and I am making due) and it works great!

My first two pieces with the edges cleaned Here you can see the 3D effect that is possible, although I am not sure it is desirable. Anyway, these were fun and interesting. I learned quite a bit doing them too!