Thursday, 16 February 2012

Enamel Paisley Brooch Project Step by Step

This was my second champleve enamel project (champleve is an enamelling technique - cells are cut into the metal, in this case through etching, to be filled with enamel).
After the Roman style brooches, I learned that I needed to etch the cells deeper, and also use thicker copper as I'm not a fan of counter enamelling (enamelling on the back of the piece).
The copper I used here is 1.5mm thick, bought from Ebay. It takes a long time to saw, but it doesn't warp in the kiln and doesn't need enamelling on the back.

Here's what I did:

I chose this paisley design

The brooch pierced out of 1.5mm thick copper

Simple findings soldered onto the back with hard solder

I freehanded this design - painted on with stop out fluid.
The edges and the back of the brooch are painted as well.

Once the fluid is dry, you can refine the lines with
a needle tool or scalpel

I made some colour mock ups using my test samples

I chose this one!

Here is the etched brooch - etched away too much in places!
Have a look at the tail - the line etched away completely...

The enamelled brooch...

The result is better than the Roman brooches but still not perfect. I have to practice more!

So next time I will be careful not to use lines that are too thin and could etch away. Also the red still burnt out a bit, even though I thought I was being careful!

I haven't decided how to finish this - I'm not a fan of shiny copper, oxidised black copper looks a bit harsh, and silver plating is expensive... Maybe I'll just leave it as it is for now, and move on to the next one!

I might not use red this time though :-)


  1. Really interesting to see the stages. I think the end result is amazing! You could oxidise it then clean up gently with wire wool for a rich dark brown colour maybe?

  2. Tania,
    I am enjoying your creative process with enameling. I think it is really fascinating.

  3. I think it is beautiful!
    If you use liver of sulphur chunks and cold water instead of warm, you can dip it in and out and control the colour much more easily.

  4. It's great to see all the steps you go through! The brooch is beautiful.


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