RE: Efcolor & Silver Clay
by Fee - written 13/07/2011 14:40:30
Mandy emailed me a similar question back in February - she had a book about enamelling onto metal clay and had wondered if it used the Efcolor powders or not. And if not, could she use the Efcolor powders anyway.
The answer is yes, provided you work and fire your silver clay first as this requires much higher temperatures - usually between 650-800°C in a kiln or by torch. Efcolor powders only need 150°C to melt and will scorch or burn if heated to temperatures beyond 180°C. So, if you create your piece in silver clay, fire it as usual and then, when cool, 'fill in' the areas you want to colour with Efcolor enamel powder and reheat to 150°C, it should work fine. As I haven't actually tried it myself (my silver clay kit having gone to Australia with a friend who emigrated there!) so I would suggest you try a small test piece first.
If you have a book showing enamelling onto metal clay, unless it states otherwise, it probably uses traditional enamel powders which have been around for centuries and are made of powdered glass. These tend to by fired in a kiln at temperatures ranging from 780°C to 850°C, similar to metal clay. The Efcolor enamel powders are made of resin which only require low temperatures to fire them.
Both types of powders have their good points:
Traditional Glass Powders tend to be more hard wearing because glass is stronger and fuses with the substrate when fired. There are also rods and chips that can be used in combination with the powders to create designs. However, due to the high temperatures involved it is more dangerous and setting up costs are high as a kiln is required.
Efcolor Powders, being resin based, are not quite so hard wearing as traditional powders and can crack. However, due to the low temperatures involved they are safer and setting up costs are a lot cheaper as a domestic oven can be used to fire them. It is possible to decorate many more items such as chipboard, mountboard, ceramics and paper mache, and to combine them with gemstones, some fabrics, beads, rub ons and some glitters etc. - basically anything that can take 150°C. It is also safer and cheaper for older children (appropriately supervised) to get involved in enamelling with the Efcolor powders. (And, if you have the little tealight oven you can carry on enamelling even if there's a power cut!)
I hope this helps Jules. If there is anyone out there who has had a go at enamelling with the Efcolor powders onto Silver Clay do get in touch and let us know what you think.
Jules wrote (13/07/2011 11:08:24):
I've just started working with silver metal clay and was wondering if the Efcolor powders would be compatible with this. Is there anyone out there who has enameled silver clay? What do you find works best?
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