Enamel jewellery is quickly becoming the popular jewellery for many age groups. It lasts a long time, is nontoxic, and can have a broad range of shapes, sizes and colours. Enamel jewelery can be traced back to the Egyptians and Romans. Making enamel jewellery can be a good way to make special gifts for people of any age, style or gender. With simple changes in how you present the finished product, like a necklace for women or a key chain for men, you can choose to make a piece of enamel jewellery that can suit almost any lifestyle.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Electric firing kiln
- Tempered sheet copper
- Metal shears
- Enamel powder (opaque, transparent or opalescent)
- Piece of white paper
- Small mixing bowl
- Watercolour brush
- Asbestos cooling sheet
Cut your tempered sheet copper with the metal shears into the size and shape that you desire.
Place this copper shape onto the piece of white paper.
Mix a small amount (about a teaspoon) of enamel powder into the mixing bowl and add just enough water to make a thick paste.
Apply your enamel paste to the piece of copper in an even layer using the watercolour brush. You need to make to make sure that the edges are a little thicker but the inside portion is thinner than the thickness of the metal piece.
Preheat or prepare your electric kiln as directed by the manufacturer's instructions. When you are ready, place your enamelled copper piece onto the kiln and cover with the hood. Turn on the kiln. Check to see how the firing process is progressing; you will notice some discolouring in the enamel, which will change back to the original colour after it cools.
Turn off the kiln when the copper has turned glowing red and the enamel looks smooth like glass. Use the slide that comes with your electric kiln to remove your enamelled copper and place it on the asbestos cooling sheet.
When cooled, you can add the proper pieces to make the jewellery that you desire. For necklaces, you can use a little liquid steel or JB Weld to attach a loop then use a piece of lanyard roping to make the necklace.
Tips and warnings
- You can add multiple colours to your piece by adding coats of enamel, repeating the whole process from applying the paste to the firing. Allow the piece to cool before adding new colours.
- If you make mistakes that lead to blackened areas (caused by firing at too high temperature) or cracking on the edges (caused by cooling too quickly) you can file the edges down with a metal file, reapply the colour and refire the copper piece. The same thing applies to cracking.
- Always use the equipment that comes with your electric kiln. The slide is most important because it helps to prevent you from getting burnt or damaging your kiln.
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