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Decals And Torch Enamelling

I love adding designs to things so when I discovered you could combine enamel decals with torch enamelling I had to have a go. I ordered the decals a while ago and after a quick go which left me decidedly underwhelmed with the result I kind of lost interest in it and left the decals in a drawer for a while. I thought I'd better have another go last weekend so dug them out again.
I don't have my first attempt but I did discover that colours don't work too well. The bright designs I uploaded to be transformed into decals came back decidedly dull looking which looked equally dull after being fired onto the enamel.

Here's part of one sheet of decals ......

The photo is a bit deceptive as the decal sheets have a blue tint to them in real life due to the layer of varnish on top of the enamel decal which burns away during firing which isn't showing up in this photo. The colours are also a lot duller! {Damn you camera for making something look white just when I don't want you to!}
I thought I'd try using one of the black three ball flower decals this time and you can see the results in the top photo.

I was pleased with how they looked but bear in mind this was just a quick experiment. The colour of the decal changes to a sepia tone which is quite nice. I fired a layer of clear transparent on top of the round discs as the decals can sink a bit during firing.
The bullet shaped earrings had a harder time of it! I tried a coloured decal on them first and followed some advice I found online about applying the decal, letting it dry then sifting a layer of clear enamel on top before firing. The result was the varnish covering the decal ignited briefly and the already dull colours in the decal faded badly. I wasn't going to give up though so then added another layer of mint opaque enamel on top to cover it up and had another go with the black ball flower design this time.

This worked ok and also produced the interesting effect you can see around the edges where the clear enamel is pushing up through the mint opaque layer above it. I really like the effect and will be experimenting with it again soon  
I'm going to leave these two pairs of earrings for a while to see if any cracking or other weirdness happens before I do anything with them.

Here's another experiment with one of the coloured decals. This is the original design....nice and colourful....

and this is the result after firing the decal.....

The colours are very dull. I'm sure you've noticed that the enamel is badly cracked too. I didn't bother to counter enamel the back as it was a quick experiment. So after two layers of enamel and three firings the difference in expansion and contraction rates of the enamel and copper caused the enamel to crack the day after firing. I used 24g {0.5mm} copper sheet.
So for all those who torch enamel and think you can get away without enamelling the back on thinner gauges of metal, this is what can and probably will happen if you don't!

I have some more decals on order {no colours this time!} so as soon as they arrive I'll be experimenting again and will take photos of the process so I can post another one of these slightly rambling posts with much better results hopefully!


  1. Gorgeous colour on those earrings.
    Isn't it always the way, when you want a crisp white background, it never happens!
    Heather :)

  2. I find these experiments very interesting - do the colors just become dull or light? Can it be used in pieces where we want the design to fade into the background at the edges creating depth of field

  3. Can I ask where you purchased your decals? I haven't had much luck finding any cute/interesting ones on the internet yet. I like the ones you did - but am also looking for short quotes that I might be able to add to bracelets, etc. Thanks. Casy

    1. Hi Casy,
      I got the decals from -
      You can create your own designs or text {or use free to use clipart, etc} then upload them to the site.

  4. The decals are so cute Tracy! I know you will master them in your work!


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