Add some colour! Thank you to our article sponsor: PMC Connection.
What I tried: I cleaned up several metal clay pieces with nail-polish remover (acetone). I painted the pieces with alcohol inks. I tried mixing colours and diluting the colours, but in the end I liked the colours straight out of the bottles best. As you can see in the photos the colour fades when it dries. (After image has been buffed and polished. But on the edges you can see the pure colour. I took some of the colour off the middle of the leaf to show the silver.)
What I learned: The rougher the surface the better the colour adhesion. Metal pieces will need to be coated with a spray on sealer. I did not try the ink on base metals.
What I tried: I painted guilders paste on to several metal pieces. My paste was quite dry, so I diluted it with a bit of paint thinner. Some people like to rub the paste onto the metal with a soft cloth. I had better luck painting it on thick. The next day (almost 24 hours later) I gently rubbed off the extra with a light sanding (1000 grit paper).
I think I would have better luck with the colour staying on if my pieces had deeper crevices and carving recesses. Like the alcohol ink I found the colour adhered better to a rough surface rather that a highly polished one. What I learned:
What I tried: I heated copper rings with a butane torch, just long enough to see the colour change on the surface.
What I learned: The prettier the heat patina, the easier it is to rub off. I still like the colour and will hope that the spray on sealer will keep some of the colour. When I was making raku pottery I was told often that the colour would not stay it will oxidize and change over time… I’m sure this is true here. But many of my pottery pieces still look good 20 years later–so I’m hoping for a similar result with heat treated metal that is sealed. And just a word about this torch.This torch would be a great one for a student. It is so easy to start and to shut off.
Liquid Patinas: Copper Sulfate (base metals), liver of sulfur (silver).
What I tried: I painted the liquid copper sulpate patina directly onto the copper rings. I liked how easy it was to turn the copper rings a dark black.
Base Metal Copper Sulfate:
Liver of Sulfur:“LOS”, is a staple to a metal clay artists’ repertoire of techniques. I use dry LOS pieces from a container I bought 10 years ago. I dilute it in a cup of boiling water. I let it cool and either dip my silver piece in or paint it on certain areas.
What I learned:The
copper liquid colourant has a distinct cat pee odor. My poor cat was kicked out of my studio until I discovered the source of the smell. About half of the black patina rubbed off when I vigorously polished the rings. I will try this product again and see if repeating the process would give me a more solid black colour. The design potential is encouraging.
Liver of Sulfur: LOS has a distinct rotten egg odor that some artists cannot stand. For those I’d recommend using the liquid LOS that comes prepared rather than dropping a chunk into boiling water. Fine silver holds its polish and patina well and so I’ve never used any sort of sealer. Where to find products I used:
Guilder’s Paste: https://pmcconnection.com/embellishment-finishes/gilders-paste.html
Heat Patina: https://pmcconnection.com/firing/torch-kits/butane-torch.html
Copper Patina: https://pmcconnection.com/embellishment-finishes/patinas/antique-patina-1-oz.html
Liver of Sulphur: https://pmcconnection.com/embellishment-finishes/patinas/liver-of-sulfur-gel-squeeze-bottle-xlgel-1-oz.html
Metal Sealer: https://pmcconnection.com/pym-protectant-pump-6-oz.html
Jeannette Froese LeBlanc is a jewellery artist and the editor of www.cre8tivefire.com. She is definitely “A glass 1/2 full kind of person”! She has learned to enjoy the journey and not solely focus on the destination, which is something her kids taught her. Look down, look around, enjoy where you are.