Painting Enamels with John Killmaster

Master John Killmaster has shared his painting enamel technique with us. Here he uses liquid enamels.



Vitreous Enamel Flux Test Plates =Various Findings

Vitreous Enamel Flux Test Plates =Various Findings

                     In building a good foundation get to know vitreous enamel flux. 

Here I have created to share my enamel flux test plates.

Like any painting technique there are various primers for various jobs. In art of enameling we have quite a few fluxes but they produce various findings. You have heard of a car having the rust primer coat = flux, before the color coat, If you ever finish a beautiful wooden object you would have the sand and sealer = flux, before the varnish coat. And preparing metal to enamel is the same way, as an enamelist I have prepared an enamel flux test plate.

Enamels are reactive to metal, not all but 90% I would say. So flux coats are usually necessary, and there are several hardness of these fluxes from available manufactures.

Next, I know what does that mater? visit my thoughts, understand vitreous enamel flux, with my enamel flux test plates

Vitreous Enamel Flux Comparison

Vitreous Enamel Flux Comparison with what is on the market today.

Enamels are reactive to metal, not all but 90% I would say. So flux coats on metal before enameling is usually necessary, and there are several hardness of these fluxes.

First, view my test plate.

Flux Test Plate 1 Soyer #3 not fired

Flux Test Plate 1 Soyer #3 not fired

Here you have Ninomiya 3 Shippo 110, Vintage Thompson 757, Hirosawa S-1S and Soyer 3. These are all vitreous enamel flux, from different manufactures.I have fired at 1450 for 1 minute and as you can see all the flux has fused except the Soyer 3.

With another firing for 1.5 minutes you can see Soyer has fused.

Second firing of enamel Flux Test Plate

Second firing of enamel Flux Test Plate Soyer #3 far right.

                                         Right! so Soyer 3 is the hardest firing flux.

Ideally we want our flux, in enameling, to keep the reactive enamels from touching the metal surface. If this is the toughest barrier why not use it!

There are other good products here, and some might use these brands of enamel flux, but when it comes to reds which are usually the most reactive enamel colors, it is the best barrier.

I have spent most of my enameling career as a cloisonne jewelry artist, and making cells to hole enamel can create different challenges that other enamel techniques.

Here are a couple of diagrams to explain.

Flux Fired Correctly

Flux Fired Correctly

Over heating the jewel causes this..

Flux Over Fired

Flux Over Fired

Cells contain more heat than open surface techniques of enameling.  When enamels are over fired they travel to the hottest point, up the walls of cloison wires, lowering your base layer of protection = thinning the flux at the center point and what do you get?…Enamels the color of MUD.

Happy Enameling


Graphite on Enamel, How to use.

Graphite on Enamel, How to use.

As Lisa Bialac-Jehle puts it “Simple”  How to use Graphite on Enamel

Graphite on Enamel

Lisa Bialac-Jehle Graphite on Enamel

How to use graphite on enamel?

  • Counter enamel on copper: Fire
    • White or other light enamel: Fire
    • Lightly etch the surface with glass etching cream. I use Etch-All For around 10 minutes. (Follow container instructions for use.)
  • Rinse off Etchant. Dry.
    • Draw on the etched surface with graphite: Fire
    BTW: If you don’t like the finished results? Etch-All will etch the graphite off easily.”

PS: I tend to use whatever random mechanical pencil or sharpened pencil I have laying around. 😉

Love these jewels, and such a nice simple effect of using graphite on enamels. Thank you Lisa for sharing!

A link to more of Lisa’s work.



Settings of Enamels

Settings of Enamels

In some incidences setting of enamels from the front is not always an option.

Techniques of painting enamels

Setting of Painting Enamel Jewels

For Larissa’s chosen designs her amazing enamel jewels are set from the back to allow her to create beautiful metal work on the front of the jewelry piece. I have been asked to show how she achieves this by setting the enamel jewel from the back.

Setting of Painting Enamel Jewels

The setting of enamel jewels from the back, you can see here by using tabs.


And more on setting enamels