This is quite intriguing for someone that hasn’t heard of techniques in adding more colors to their metals and has just been doing beaded jewelry making. Actually, there are three common materials that can be bonded, glued, or dripped onto metals to add more colors.
The first one is the epoxy; this is a low-tech material that you can use in your work. This is inexpensive medium that can produce numerous results.
Resin and hardener are the two part of epoxy mixture. It’s a matter of time that it becomes hard, durable, super glossy plastic substance that can be drilled, glued and sanded, when they are mixed. This is equal to 50 coats of varnish and dries to a mirror finish. Here is where the color comes in, use acrylic paint, gouache, jelly powder, makeup powder, or anything else that can think of.
Try playing with epoxy to some of your jewelry designs. You can try layering, drip it into etched or stamped depressions on sterling or copper sheet, and pour into bezels; you can try dipping things into it as well. Important reminder, you must suspend any dipped work while waiting for it to cure. Epoxy is glue; you don’t want to glue it to anything. Epoxy cures up fast, epoxy that are available in hardware store usually comes in 5 and 11 minute varieties, and others are quick too, so be sure of your working time, only mix up as much as you can use in the 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t mix it with anything you ever want to use again, or just mix them up on a piece of scrap paper with a stick. And, don’t inhale or touch epoxy with your bare skin before it cures. Epoxy can be hazardous in your health, always consider proper precautions in working with this kind of chemical.
Two-part epoxy is available from the hardware store in little 2-sided syringes, and you can find it in large two bottle kits from craft and hobby suppliers.
The second material you can use to add colors to your metal is the polymer clay. Polymer clay comes from variety of colors. This is made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and goes under various brand names, like Fimo Bead Making, Sculpey, and Friendly Clay.
In designing metal with polymer clay, to make polymer clay jewelry, cut metal sheet components to make mosaics, and then fill the slices of sterling tubing with clay. You can try experimenting liquid clays and colored powders that are available on the market.
However, polymer clay is made slightly different when it comes to quality from each manufacturer. So when using it, especially when baking it is important to read first the instruction. You also have to condition the polymer clay before using it. Exercise conditioning by kneading the clay with your hands, or running it through a dedicated food processor just make sure to use dedicated tools.
The third material you can use is the enamel. Enameling is different from the two materials we’ve discussed earlier. Enameling uses powdered glass or glass granules, and torch and kiln. These are all needed in making glass beads. We all know that glass beads can be very colorful, so you can add this up to put more colors in your metal.
In this process, the glass is melted in thin layers onto a metal form, often on copper. The layers of melted glass are often vibrant and doesn’t fade or cheap under normal condition. But, bending metal can cause crack to enamel.
Explore enameling with the use of powdered glass from enameling suppliers and a butane torch. Enameling suppliers also sell copper blanks. And try enameling sterling silver etchings and stamping.
In working with these materials for this techniques, always be careful. Read and understand first all the instructions and precautions to avoid accident and putting hazard on your health while having fun in this craft.
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