Making Flesh Colors in Painting Enamels

Making Flesh Colors in Painting Enamels

Many have asked about making flesh colors. This hula lady is an enameling technique of cloisonne. This means the wires are forming the figure. Inside the wires I used Bovano’s flux #3 on fine silver, then the following layers of flesh are 209 Bovano’s. It is a opal enamel and you have to be careful not to over fire it. If opal enamels get too hot too long it can become opaque. When finished and polished it should look like it is a simi-transparent enamel, that is the color of flesh.

Alohi Lani Designs, cloisonne jewelry


Below is a color plate of mine of opaque flesh colors from left to right, the lower row.

Bovano =B

B157 is a soft enamel, B88 hard enamel, B220, B226, B224, B233, B227 With these opaque enamels you could create figurative work.



Below is a figure  jewel is by Larissa Podgoretz. She uses painting enamels. You can get a kit from Thompson. The way she accomplished the look of flesh is to start with a plate of copper.  And apply and fire a hard white opaque enamel such as Thompson’s 1010, or Bovano’s 101. A hard enamel is used so the foundation is harder than you color layers, this assures the layers of colors will not sink into foundation and look washed out. As their pigment is very thin.

Once you have this base coat of the hard firing white enamel, you sand and polish it to make a smooth canvas to paint on. Now you would take the painting kit and mix colors to get the shades you are imaging.   As if you were doing an oil painting.

As you fire many layers of color you will loose a little intensity of the colors, so the last layers will be the darkest.


The photo below is one I have started painting. First i painted an outline of the lady. And fired it. Then I start adding my background color, and fire it. The colors you want to be more subdue  you apply first as they fade into the base enamel a little. The later the color is applied will be more intense.

With painting enamels you can mix them together, say brown and white with a little orange to get a flesh color.They are oxides= enamels without silica.   They really give you the opportunity to create the color you need.

To apply the painting enamels you need experiment the medium to mix them with.  You choose water or oil. I prefer oil. Once you get the kit I recommend you order the enameled steel tiles and mix colors and fire them just like any test plate to see what you like or don’t. And the same theory applies to these enamels as all others, reds and yellows burn. So you will be applying them toward the end of you journey.


Hard firing enamels

When you need hard firing enamels in painting technique.

Good luck, Patsy