Friday, 22 March 2013

I thought it might be a good idea to start doing tutorials from time to time so this is my first attempt.
Enaelling is quite simply the art of fusing glass to metal.
Various metals can be used in enamelling but one of the most common is copper and this is the metal I use.   
We first of all need to ensure the copper we use is clean. This can be done by rubbing the copper  with an abrasive sponge or by using scouring powder and water. A toothbrush can be used to rub the scouring powder onto the metal before rinsing with water. This cleaning process removes any oil or grease from the surface.  Another method is to anneal the copper in a hot kiln but you would then need to pickle the copper in a solution of vinegar and salt to remove the fire scale.

After you have cleaned the copper hold it by the edges so as not to get natural oils from your hands back onto thesurface.  Place the piece on a sheet of clean paper.  Place two coins either side of the copper and rest the piece on top of them, this will help when lifting the piece after the enamel has been sifted on.

When working with opaque enamels I always do the back first.  Place some enamel powder into your sieve and sift the powder evenly over the surface of the metal.  It is always best to build up enamel in thin layers rather than trying to sift on too much powder first time around.  We will be sifting on several layers of enamel.


It is important that the mesh in the sieve is the right size for the grains of enamel. Tea strainers bought in most stores have mesh which is too big, allowing too much enamel to fall through. This can be corrected by painting them with a 50/50 solution of PVA glue, letting the glue become mostly dry, then rubbing the sieve with loose enamel. This should gum up the mesh so that it is no longer too big to use. Trial and error is required.

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