Cooking Up Some Color: Ashley's 5 Tips for Creating ICED Enamels Jewelry in the Kitchen
Welcome back, our marketing guru and friend, Ashley! You see her work in every Jewelry Making Daily newsletter, and you might remember when Ashley first wrote for us, about her experiences using resin. Now she's back sharing her work with ICED Enamels and a special kit she put together, just for you! —Tammy
By Ashley Lauwereins
Enameling is one technique that I have always wanted to learn but haven't had the chance to learn. It's not because I haven't wanted to, but more because my torch hasn't made the trip to my current location yet. Alas, it sits (with my beloved flex shaft and tumbler) in my parents' basement dreaming of the day it can join my bead stash up north. To make it worse, I get to read all of Tammy's wonderful blogs about enameling; I watched Pauline making beautiful torch-fired pendants; and I simply drool at my desk and dream of enameling one day, too. That is until now, because there is a great secret for getting the look of enameling without a torch: ICED Enamels.
I saw Susan Lenart Kazmer use her ICED Enamels in her DVD 15+ Ways to Alter Metal Surfaces last year and was curious about how they work. Well, I got the chance to a few months ago when the ICE Resin team sent me a whole slew of colors to try myself. Essentially, I learned through trial that they're just as colorful as regular enamels, but you can use them at lower temperatures with a heat gun. In theory that's great, but I didn't have a heat gun like Susan used in her DVD, so I was wracking my brain about what I could use to heat the metal enough to melt the enamels. When I saw the ICE Resin team in Tucson earlier this year, I asked Jen Cushman (ICE Resin Director of Education and Marketing) for suggestions and she recommended my stovetop.
Now I've finally had the time to test these "cold" enamels myself. And guess what? The technique worked perfectly! In no time I was mixing colors, heating the metal shapes, and making beautiful components for future projects. This is a true kitchen-table jewelry-making technique that anyone can do. (Seriously, if you have a stove, you can do this at home!)
Here are five tips I learned while working with the ICED Enamels:
1. Don't use too much of the enamel medium, because it will bubble too much and may burn your enamels.
2. Tap off your excess. Even though these melt at a low temperature, they can still burn, and if you have too much powder in areas, some won't melt while others burn. If you want that texture that's your call, but I prefer to have a consistent look.
3. If you don't have a heat gun (like me) and want to try the stovetop method, I'd recommend using aluminum foil to set the pieces on. I had three going at a time, and by folding up the corners of the foil, I could pick up my little foil "pans" when the enamels were done.
4. If you have air bubbles, blowing on them will help deflate them and smooth out the surface, just like with resin.
5. Don't be afraid to mix colors! Some of my favorites combined several colors together.
Are you dying to get your hands on the ICED Enamels to try at home? I have compiled for you a super awesome kit that includes six colors of ICED Enamels that were my favorites to work with: Garnet, Amethyst, Turquoise, Glitz Copper, Glitz Silver, and Raspberry. I loved how these colors looked, so I hope you all do, too! Plus, with the enamel medium/base, paint brushes, metal blanks, resin to seal the enamels, and two of Susan's DVDs for all kinds of enameling included, you have everything you need to try this technique at home in one convenient package! (Just add your own heat gun or stove!)
Get yours today and start enameling at home! Share what you create on Jewelry Making Daily's forum and galleries; I would love to see how you're inspired by these fun materials, too!