Metal Clay Jewelry Making Tips and Trends

Learning Curve: Enameling, Alcohol Ink and Resin on Fine Silver

My mother’s 60th birthday was coming up, so I wanted to create a necklace for her, with a sentimental meaning. My plan was to create a pendant shaped as a cloud out of fine silver, with the words “Sweet Dreams x60” located on the back side. The cloud was to be enameled white on the front, with no enamel on the back, just a patinaed silver. As a beginner in enameling, what I found was, when enameling on fine silver, or any piece, there may be cracking in your enamel if there is not an enamel on the other side. As you can see in the picture below, there is a crack along the right hand side of the piece. I decided that I would start over, and enamel on both sides, which would prevent this tension. I chose a transparent enamel, #2510 Cascade Blue. It was a beautiful color, as you can see below.

Next, I needed to enamel the front side. Enameling the front side took two coats, and because of the heat of the kiln being exposed to the already enameled side, the beautiful blue color turned yellow around the edges:

After this second attempt, I decided to go with Tim Holtz® Adirondack® Alcohol Inks. Because the alcohol ink seems to be self leveling, I was able to use the dropper to connect the ink, without using a paint brush, which tends to show the strokes. Look how nice this turned out! I used Snow Cap Mixative.

Now, I had to seal the alcohol ink. The alcohol ink needs to be sealed with a water based seal, so I used Mod Podge®. This definitely interfered with the perfectly solid, smooth surface I was looking for:

My next and final try was mixing the alcohol ink with the ICE® Resin Plunger. I used an Enamel Inlay Spatula, and because the resin is also self leveling, I was able to perfectly set this on the fine silver cloud, with a seamless look. Meanwhile, I left the back side silver, with patina to make the letters pop.

What I learned in this process, is to always consider the effects enameling can cause on your pieces, especially fine silver. Karen Trexler, our resident artist here explained to me that it is much easier to enamel on copper than silver, and silver often can give unexpected results. The alternative to enameling, such as alcohol inks was very successful with this piece, and my mother loved it!

❤️

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