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Liquid Enamel Abstract Scribble Earrings

I've had an idea floating around in my head this last week or so to make some enamel earrings using liquid enamel over a black base with an abstract and simple {very!} scratched design. 
My previously mixed liquid enamel colours had sat on the shelf for a few months since I last used them and had dried up so I needed to add some distilled water to them and stir like a mad thing to get them mixed and smooth again before I could start.

I decided to create a couple of new colours from two existing liquid enamel shades so added some more yellow and green to a boring green colour I had to produce the bright green shade in the middle. I also added more blue and green to another mix to produce the greeny-blue shade on the right. That's the great thing with liquid enamels - you can mix them and create new colours.

To begin I enamelled some copper shapes on both sides with an opaque black then applied a layer of liquid enamel.

On my first attempt the liquid enamel was too thick and when I scratched the design most of it flaked off in big chunks. So after a bit of swearing, I washed it all off, then added more distilled water to my liquid enamel colours and started again...

Liquid enamel layer too thick - you can see the bumps in it as it's drying.

Second attempt - much smoother. I've found the liquid enamel needs to be thick enough to cover the enamel/metal base properly but liquid enough to flow and find it's own level, especially if you need to add a bit more.

Now I did forget to take a photo of the scratching the design bit in my excitement but this is what I used.

It's a tool used in metal clay work and it should have a metal ball at the end. I have no idea what I did to it to make the ball fall off but filed and sanded the end was ideal to use to scratch through the liquid enamel layer!

The green-blue earring just after firing. The colour gets brighter as the copper and enamel cools. The scratched design was experimental and quite "loose" as you can see :D I think I'll call it "abstract"...
 I find it hard to be very precise with sgraffito designs!

The finished earrings. 

I got some crackling effects going on too which was unexpected but I quite like the look.
 I'm hoping my next attempts will be better. I think I'll add a bit more water to the liquid enamel so it's a bit thinner in the hope that will avoid the larger chunks coming off as I scratch the design.
As ever, working with enamel is a learning curve but it's fun to experiment :D

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  1. Really love the scribble effect!
    Heather :)

    1. Thanks Heather! I may try for a more controlled scribble next time :D

  2. I have not heard of this technique before today, so its fascinating for me to see the process

    1. I'll try and remember to take photos of the scratching the design part next time :D

  3. Nice that you are having fun experimenting. They look AWESOME! :)

    1. Thanks Kalaya, I was always really good at scribbling as a child!

  4. This is really neat Tracy. I'm sure with more practice you will be able to create even cooler effects! We have a jewelry making show that airs over here and I recently watched an episode on enameling. Now I want a starter kit to play with since I was so intrigued!

  5. It's always fun watching someone's process for creating art. Love how minimalist they end up looking!

  6. These are fantastic, I really love how each pair will always be different from the last.

  7. Hi Tracy,
    As you have discovered liquid enamel needs to be quite thin. If it is too thick you get lumps, if it is a bit thinner you get a broken circular pattern when fired.
    Tip - spit on the copper, enamel goes on much smoother, give it a tap with the brush and it will level out.


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