Pat Johnson Enamels

Enameling FAQ
First Steps on Making an Enamel Image in Copper
Pat Johnson teaches short courses in enamelling at West Dean College.

Background Information
First Steps
About Trivets
After Firing


 Enamel is glass and enamelling is the craft of melting this glass on to a metal surface.

The most suitable metals for enamelling are copper, silver, and gold. Steel is also widely used but requires a special covering of ground coat enamel before the coloured enamels can be applied. Usually steel purchased for the purpose of enamelling will have this ground coat already applied.

Enamel is supplied either in lumps or ground to various degrees of fineness and can be obtained in virtually every colour. For the purpose of making images, a particle size of 200/80 mesh is generally used.

Enamels come in two forms: transparent and opaque.

Transparent enamels are similar to water colours in that they allow the features of the surface below them to show through.

Uncoloured transparent enamel is referred to as flux. A layer of flux must be applied to copper first in order for the other transparent colours to appear to their best effect. Light coloured transparent enamels cannot be seen when they are fused over dark transparents, so designs developed in these enamels need to be created using light colours first and then progressing on to dark colours.

Opaque colours are similar to oil paint in that that they generally completely cover anything over which they are fused. The colours can be applied in any order.


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