Demo for the Week! Making Color Test Plates.  

How to make a test a plate of enamel. Necessary to see the true enamel color once fired. What you see in the container un-fired is not what it looks like when fired.

First big reason I go about it this way, is all colors of the same family are here. Making a color test plate as you see below allows me to see how close the colors are to each other which gives me the opportunity use them to shade from light to dark.

Second and even more important is to see the different melting times of each enamel. These enamel dots were all applied at the same time and fired all at once. One did not melt = means it is a harder firing enamel.  If you lay it down next to one that melts quicker you will have cracking between the two enamel colors.

Third, I can see which pink enamels have yellow in them or blue in them. This tells me the ones with a yellow base will burn sooner than ones with a blue base.



On to making the plate,

You can pause the slide show when you need to.

[slidepress gallery=’test-plates-4′]

Clean the Copper sheet of 18ga.using comet cleanser or penny brite. The copper will be bright and the water should run off. A good sign the metal is clean.

My counter enamel is moist and I add a mixture of one part Klyre-Fire to five parts water. The Klyre-Fire acts like glue to keep the enamel from falling off when you flip it over the add the flux on the front side of your test plate. Add counter enamel to the back and remove excess liquid with the brush, turn the plate over and add flux.

Fire the enamel test plate,  I use 1450 degrees, for 1 minute to 1minute and 15 seconds, in my kiln.

Next prep fine silver foil, using 120 grit sand paper.This is accomplished by burnishing the fine silver foil on the sand paper with a small flat tool, like a ruler. This puts small holes in the foil so it will not trap air bubbles when fired.

Gently brush off the back of the fine foil so no sand from the paper is on it.

Lay the foil on the fired fluxed plate of copper.

And fire in kiln.

After removing the plate from the kiln burnish the foil down.

Now I am ready to apply flux for fine silver. I am only applying flux here to one side, I want to leave some of this fine silver exposed as I want to use this plate also to test some enamels directly on silver. There are a few that you can fire directly on fine silver with no flux, but you have to test to know.


Add my color dots of enamel I want to test. These enamels have been washed in distilled water.


And now you know how to make a test plate for enamel. This test plate is for enameling on Fine Silver. If you want to enamel on copper just skip adding the fine silver foil. Also if you are enameling on copper turn the temperature up to 1550 and fire to get a beautiful gold color to the copper sheet.

I would like to mention this plate with all the pink colors on it is .5″ x 3″. And the dots are small that would equal one layer of enamels. Not very much. Just remember you want to see the true color of the enamel and be able to see through it specially if you are enameling on fine silver.  If this is one layer think about how much it will darken also with 4-5 layers.


Color Plates and Understanding Expansion of Your Enamels