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:

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you for the article, the colors are beautiful and what a great use for all those pennies I have in a jar. I'm inspired

mrs beadsley said...

Thank you! Just don't forget when you are choosing your pennies you can only use those that were minted previous to 1981 - the newer ones are more zinc than they are copper and they will melt when you try to torch fire them. And HAVE FUN!!!!

Rita Roundhouse said...

Not to mention torching Zinc can make you feel really funky.

Jami {sgtStamper} said...

What a wonderful idea - thanks for sharing. I just started torch enameling, and I find one of the big expenses is the copper pieces - this is a great and inexpensive way to get round discs without punching and filing too! Another reason to start saving my pennies!

Keri Lee Sereika said...

I really enjoyed this idea - thank you for sharing. I am hoping to start learning how to torch enamel and this is yet another way to use it!

scoutersue said...

These are the neatest things I ever saw..well....you know... So vibrantly colored with brilliant details. I know nothing about this technique but I admit I have placed pennies on the tracks in my youth. I just loved this and totally despise the zincers too since they do NOT stand up to the "make a memory penny" machines either. Thanks for the tutorial
Sue

Carmi said...

Prior to seeing your post, I did not want to try enameling...now I do!

Kim Kozak, SPHR said...

This is very nice. They are beautiful for your first try! Looks like a pro.

I am wondering how you drilled the coins? I have some that I would like to enamel also but I only have a cheap dremmel.

What did you use to keep them steady and make the nice little ridges?

mrs beadsley said...

Kim - I used a cordless dremel to drill the holes - I use a scribe first to punch a divet in the penny. You can't do a lot of them before the dremel runs out of juice, but for getting started it works!

Anonymous said...

Fair warning you might want to avoid wheat pennies, some of them are worth quite a bit... http://cointrackers.com/wheat-pennies/

mrs beadsley said...

Yes, DO pay attention to the wheat pennies - I have a coin collector reference book that I check before I use any wheat penny so I know I'm not enameling a pricey collectors coin!

House of Steward Ragdolls said...

They look very nice. As you are collecting pennies be sure to look for a 1943 copper (not steel) wheat back - it is worth a MINIMUM of $70,000.00. :)

mrs beadsley said...

I do inspect each penny - especially the wheat pennies - very carefully before enameling. My coin book is never far from the jar of pennies! Thanks for looking and taking the time to comment!

Janet Caperton said...

May I ask where your DSO got the enamel powders? Have many pennies to play with ... save all of them past 1964 (why? I don't know, just do) and now looking through all the wheat ones to hopefully find a 1943 ... :)

mrs beadsley said...

Janet - they were found on ebay - not sure what seller had them at the time - if you go on ebay, do a search for thompson powdered enamels - she was selling off a large bunch she had.
I completely understand about the saving pennies thing - I do it too!
Good luck finding the enamels.

Divya N said...

the pennies look great...can we use copper sheet instead? If so what gauge (do they have to be enamelled on both sides?

Nola said...

Love this and have wanted to try enameling for awhile now. I have seen washers enameled on pinterest and they look great. Have you tried that?

mrs beadsley said...

Nola-
I have enameled some copper washers I got from Harbor Freight and they came out great. I recommend using one of the sprays that adheres the enamel to the copper (I use hair spray)because when you put the torch to the washer it has less copper to blow onto. I wasted a lot of powder at first!
Good luck and have fun!

Sarah Lafantaisie said...

Hi there !

Would you consider a custom order? Meaning, any chance you might make some for me?

Sarah
:)

http://undertheindigomoon.blogspot.ca/

mrs beadsley said...

Sarah- I am in the middle of moving right now but when I get situated I would love to enamel some more pennies - is there anything specific you were hoping for?