Friday, April 29, 2011

From the Workshop

More fun with enameling pennies!!! I really enjoy working with the enamel and playing with the colors and blends......and after making two bracelets and a necklace (picture of that to come soon!), I realized I was going to have a LARGE amount of enameled pennies - too many for l'il old me to use up for sure. So, I brought some in to my LBS (Beads on the Kennebec in Augusta) to perhaps place a few of them and see what kind of interest would be there.  I was thrilled (to say the very least) when the dozen or so I brought in sold out in one day, and the owner requested "about 100" more!!!!! Yowzer!  More play time with colors and the torch!!!!
Here is the first batch (I actually ran out of gas for my torch!!!) I brought over to her today:
As well as a large amount of the turquoise (specifically requested by one of the LBS customers) mix pennies, I did some red:




and some purple:

Monday, April 18, 2011

More enamel happenings

After the success of my enameled penny bracelet (see it here), my mother decided she wanted a bracelet of her own - with the same "turquoisey colored ones" I used in the last bracelet.  (yes, those were her words!)

I couldn't help but play with the layering this time - one layer of enamel is not enough for me to be happy with the overall coverage and color, so I experimented with the layers of color this time - and had a really fun time doing it.  The first set of pennies (I do four at a time) I used a gold enamel as a base layer with a layer of light green followed by a layer of turquoise on top.
You can see the gold layer a bit around the edges, and the second layer (the light green) helped the turquoise layer come out a bit darker.

I used a base layer of light golden brown on these pennies - actually two layers of the brown and one layer of light green.

For the base layer of these pennies I used a brown mix, the light green for the middle layer and a light coat of dark green for the third layer. 

All the pennies were drilled and domed before I enameled them.

Friday, April 15, 2011


In the workshop today to finish up the enameled pennies bracelet and to make another bracelet - I am stuck on pennies right now for some reason - maybe because they are so plentiful here at the house (and most all of them are pre 1979 - a BOON for me because that means they can be used in jewelry making applications!) - as the pictures will prove.

Using the turquoise blue/green pennies I enameled, some 14 gauge copper wire and a wonderful copper toggle clasp, I created a charm bracelet of sorts.
Once I photographed it, though, I thought it looked too, well, copper.  I decided it needed some patina (I use Perma Blu gun bluing), so I dunked it and rubbed it to show some highlights and like it so much more now.

For this bracelet, I used (again) some pennies that I drilled and domed; some 16 gauge copper wire and again a beautiful copper toggle clasp.
A spring connector

closeup of one of the pennies

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kumihimo Necklace with Copper Leaf Clasp

My April 2011 Bead Trends magazine finally arrived.  My Kumihimo neckalce with handcrafted copper leaf clasp was published!  Thank you Bead Trends!

Monday, April 4, 2011

More Torch Fired Enamel Pieces

Another day of working with enamel.  This time I drilled the pennies then domed them before adding the enamel. 
I worked more with layering and colors......trying to achieve a depth to the colors and a more uniform coating of the enamel.  The multiple layers allowed a more varied palette of colors - I stayed in the blue/green family simply because I plan on making a bracelet with these. (the two red ones are from the last enameling session)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Torch Fired Enamel

if you arrived here from a link on Pinterest or another tutorial/craft site, I have posted a "tutorial" on how I enamel the pennies.  It's here

Oh what fun I had in the workshop yesterday.  For the last six months, I have been collecting information and supplies to try torch fired enamel and finally gave it a try this weekend.  And I'm hooked.  I love it!!! Armed with a tutorial or two (and a comprehensive lesson on using the torch from my patient SO) I drilled some pennies; cleaned them thoroughly and then set out to color them like jelly beans!  As a surprise, my DSO bought me a "starter kit" (of sorts) of assorted enamel powders - 14 little bags of color - to play with as I wanted.  I couldn't wait to get started.

Using the first tutorial I found, I mixed my first enamel powder color choice with distilled water (50/50 ratio) and filled in the top of my first penny.......a penny I hadn't drilled.  The tutorial said to let the enamel and water mixture dry but I did not have the patience to let it dry, so I fired away.  I was a little tentative with the torch at first, but wisely started out making some copper head pins which relaxed my fears a little.  After the first penny was fired, I let it cool in a fiber blanket.  Once it cooled down, I was thrilled with the color and look of it and couldn't wait to do more. 

Head Pins

Faced with the 14 bags of assorted colors, I couldn't wait to try more colors.  Using a screen from a faucet (I absolutely have to get a small hand held sifter) I sifted the colors directly onto the cleaned pennies - and did layers of colors. 

Turquoise enamel powder
Base of opaque orange with a layer of red on top

A layer of golden brown with a layer of turquoise on top

Golden brown with a sifting of my run-off waste

Just to prove that I really used pennies!!

A couple of great, informative articles/tutorials on how to torch fire enamel: