The Art of Living by Making Art

Jewellery inspired by nature and made by hand.
How I make it, why I make it, the challenges I face and the successes that come my way.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Make it matte

Sometimes glossy is great but othertimes matte is marvellous, modern and makes me happy. I am talking about enamel, the wonderful material otherwise known as glass. Yes, transparent coloured enamels look luscious when they are fired to a smooth gloss, like wet pebbles look wonderful, but there are times when a subtle matte finish is just right.

Today I was working on my piece for Influx Gallery's 'Fiat Lux' juried show and getting a matte finish was exactly what I needed for my piece. In fact I combined the matte finish with a 'sugar fire', the two enhance each other wonderfully. This is what I did...

  • fire your first coat until fully fired and glossy
  • sift on your second coat of enamel and fire until it just starts to melt (it is quite tricky to get the time right, if you take it out too soon the enamel will flake off, for our purposes it is better to go a little bit longer rather than underfire too much)
  • the piece should look like its name - sugary but not orange peely
  • you may want to practice on scrap metal first
  • now submerge the piece in some Etchall glass etching liquid, usually takes 20 minutes or so, rinse well and dry
  • any parts of the enamel that had gone past the sugar stage will now look beautifully matte
  • of course you can use the Etchall on fully fired enamel too, to give a smooth matte finish
Have fun and remember to break all the rules!


  1. A great idea Anna. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Studio Sylvia
    Thanks for commenting, it is so nice to know I'm talking to someone! I'll try and do more hands-on type posts. Let me know what you're interested in talking about.

  3. I have a question. I have had difficulty overlaying transparent enamels over etchings, on copper. Have you had success with this procedure? I have used/not used flux and am not happy with either results.

  4. Hmm, to be honest I have not used transparents on copper. How are you cleaning the etched copper before enamelling? It may be that it is not completely clean in the etched areas. I 'heat clean' my pieces before enamelling, that is, I put them in the kiln for a minute. With copper I put it in until it just starts turning coloured, take it out, let it cool, then apply the enamel. If I think of anything else I'll let you know.