Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Lot of Heat, No Kidding

At Artfest I took two classes that involved enameling copper. I've been wanting to add some enamel color to the pewter pieces.

Finally the weather was warm and dry, and I could set up the glass topped table outdoors and play around with enamels.

I had all the supplies, but after reading a lot of safety information about using enamels, I decided not to use them inside the house, so I had to wait for all the rain to stop. Saturday was the day.

I cut some small strips of extra copper, so I could do tests with the four colors of enamels I bought a while back. I didn't know what the colors would look like. They're called Spring Green and Mocha Brown, Opaque White and Yellow Flax.

I want to get some Oriental Red, but I need to get a few more funds in the PayPal account before I do an order of enamels.

So these test strips are the colors I tried out first, so I'd know what they would look like. Before I cut some round copper and domed them, to try to make charms.

One thing I learned is that the torch is very, very hot and can burn up the copper. No kidding, that torch is super hot. I burned up this first set of domed rounds.

But hey, that's how you learn, right? You push to see where the limits are. How many times could I re-fire the copper, if I wanted to add layers to the color?

How far away from the soldering stand did I need to keep the torch?

How close did it need to be, and how many seconds, to get the enamel totally melted?

That's what I was experimenting to find out. Hope you don't mind seeing the failures, the ones that showed me how far NOT to go when using the torch.

Finally, after I kept trying, I got these two little sugar cherry domes, they remind me of candies. I balled up the ends of copper wires to make ruby colored balls and wire-wrapped them to make loops.

I know if I keep working with it I'll get better.

I went ahead and listed these drops in the Etsy shop, to test and see if any of you are interested in the enameled copper drops?

I think they'd be really sweet as earrings.

So - should I keep forging ahead with enameling?


Vintage Blue Studio said...

Hi Lynn! I've been messing with torch-fire enameling for the last 2+ years. There are a lot of factors that can affect your outcomes. The gauge of the copper, the size of the torchhead, the size of the flame and the type of enamel you are using (transparent vs opaque). Continue playing around with all these variants and eventually you will have this down perfectly! Have fun!

Oh and make certain you are counter-enameling these pieces (firing a layer of enamel on the back) for strength and durability.

mairedodd said...

of course you should!! it is one more way to add your own color to pieces! the cherry drops are so great...

EmandaJ said...

Oh my! Now you are adding enameling to your arsenal! There's no stopping you and your creative magic.

Luck us!


Piper said...

Lynn, I thought you might be interested in this........
We're always looking for handmade findings for our "Fun findings" feature. If you create and sell handmade findings on,, or anyplace that is accessible to BeadStyle readers, send a sample to BeadStyle, P.O. Box 1612, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612, Attn: Fun findings editor. Or send a hi-res digital image to said...

Yes! I love them. I know I'm a bit odd but I really like the burnt piece of copper also.

Keep going, Lynn!

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Thanks, Piper. I don't always take time to read all the beady magazines, so that's a great tip!

Shannon, I have to admit I kind of like the "burnt ends" too - in copper and in BBQ!

HappyDayArt! said...

keep at it Lynn, the earrings are really sweet!


LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Hi, Catherine, thanks you for encouraging me to submit to teach when I saw you at Artfest last time, you are a great friend. Looks like it didn't work out this time, but I wouldn't have had the courage to try without your steady words! Maybe next time...

Lucid Moon Studio said...

I like the enamel pieces...keep at it! It is one more thing on my list of techniques that I would like to try. It's fun to see your learning process!