Demo for the Week! Making Color Test Plates of Enamels
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.
* 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.
* Remove excess liquid with the brush, turn the test plate over and add enamel flux to the front of the test plate.
* Here in images 5 & 6 I am sifting on the flux to the front side of the test plate. If I wet pack the flux and get too much water it can disturb the enamel on the back of the test plate if it runs under. This is the only time I sift enamels, as I do not care for it to be airborne.
*Fire the enamel test plate, I use 1450 degrees, for 1 minute to 1minute and 15 seconds, in my kiln. Images 6 & 7 front and back fired.
*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. I am using foil to fire test of transparent enamels on instead of using fine silver sheet. It is just less expensive.
*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 side of the test plate of copper.
*After removing the plate from the kiln burnish the foil down.
*And fire in kiln. This image shows the foil fired on and 1/2 had flux added, then fired again. This way I can test transparent enamel on flux and the same colors without flux. Info I might use later.
* Last 2 images shows my color dots of enamel I wanted to test. These enamels were washed in distilled water before applying. Then fired in the kiln.
Now you know how to make a test plate of enamels
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.