Friday, 23 January 2015

Experimenting With Liquid Enamel

 Something that's been on my to-do list for a while now is trying liquid enamel. I had a few weeks "break" over Christmas {not really a break as I was making new stuff!} so at long last I got round to ordering some of the liquid enamel powders. I got a few basic colours and a white so I could mix different shades. I also bought a white crackle base powder to experiment with.

I mixed up the colours with distilled water in totally unsuitable containers - too tall and thin and I've since bought some wider pots - and started painting. I applied the liquid enamels to a base of cream opaque and on two of the pieces I fired a layer of white crackle base before applying the liquid enamel.

Lumps in the enamel means I didn't mix properly!

Once I'd finished painting I set the copper pieces onto a warmed soldering block to speed up drying. When they were dry I started scratching designs {I use that word in the loosest possible context} into the dried enamel using a wooden skewer.

I then fired them using a torch. In my excitement I forgot which two had the crackle base. The effect you should get when you apply a liquid enamel on top of a crackle base and then fire it is the crackle base pushing through the top layer and creating a cracked effect but as you can see it didn't work very well on the two pieces I tried it with.

I did get the start of a crackled effect on the bottom corners of this piece but I did read it needs a larger area, in other words a bigger piece of copper, to work properly.

I liked the effect mixing the white liquid enamel powder with the other colours gave - a kind of speckled effect which reminds me of ceramic glazes. The "straight" colours with no white added came out a bit patchy in comparison but that may be because I got the mix too runny.

I then etched them all for a matt finish.

I still have work to do but it's a fun thing to try. I think it works better when you go with the flow rather than try to be too exact and it seems you can get different results with the colours depending on how long you fire them for - the oranges I mixed came out a bit on the pink side the first time I tried them then more orange the second time....

I did make a few pairs for sale but I feel the need for more practicing {and some more colours!} 

liquid enamel earrings


  1. Liquid/powder enamels if you want to get rid of the lumps - you can use a pestle to do some additional grinding of the powder before mixing and after you can use a muller ( I typically dont mix a big batch of liquid I put some powder on a glass sheet add my water and then use the muller to grind/mix and use a palette knife to collect back into a neat pile and paint right from the soup you made on the glass - you can scoop into a small resealable container (I like those plastic paint storage containers - wide mouth and short
    the samples look great cant wait to see what else your making

    1. Thanks for your tips Deborah, I'll probably try that next time.

  2. I like what you did - awesome!
    I had a great time when I went to Thompson Enamel last year - I got to try new things or things I forgot when I took my enameling class back in 2008.
    I hope you had fun!

    1. Thanks! I'm very jealous of the fact you went to Thompson Enamel! I bet that was interesting :D

  3. How fun! I love the finished pieces. This looks like such a neat medium to work with.

  4. Beautiful colors, loved the mixing you did.

  5. can i ask what colors you used? i can't find a chart anywhere and don't want to order blindly- love that orange color!

  6. Pamela,
    I ordered mine from a Thompson enamel supplier in Denmark. The orange colour is called Princeton Orange. I ordered some basic colours and also some white so I could mix it with various colours to get different shades. I had a look on Thompson Enamel's US site but couldn't find any liquid form enamels but then that website is dreadful for finding anything in my opinion!
    If you go to and download the catalogue you'll find the liquid enamel colours he stocks on page 8 which will give you a better idea. Hope that helps a bit :D

    1. thanks - that's a big help - i agree on the thompson site!!


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