Enameling on Bronze

This post is intended for people who enamel or wish to enamel on metal clay.

Bronze is considered hard to enamel. One thing that happens repeatedly, for example, is that the enamel flakes off. This can happen right away (which can be dangerous if you are enameling with a torch), or it can happen over time. The enamel on the piece in the photo below flaked off over a period of a few months. Every once in a while I saw that another piece was missing.

However, there is one condition under which the enamel stays on: the enamel needs to be enclosed in a recessed area. In the photo below, for example, you can see high areas and low areas. The low areas are closed on all sides.

In the low areas it is safe to enamel without the risk of the enamel flaking off.

Here are a few more examples. In all of them I used One-fire Brilliant Bronze.

How do we do this? One way is to build a second layer, with cutouts, on top of a backing layer. I find it easier to start with a 6- or 8-card layer, dry it, and then carve out the recessed parts with a diamond burr, taking out a thickness of about 2 cards. (All of the carved-out clay can be re-used, of course).

Draw the picture

Carve out the unmarked areas

Copper and steel clay can be enameled with or without recessed areas. Here are a few examples:

Copper

Copper

Low-shrinkage Steel XT

Low-shrinkage Steel XT


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