Saturday, September 10, 2011

Faux Enamel Tutorial One Polymer Clay

Yea finally got the opportunity today to start working on the enamel tutorial so here we go
 I will do two different examples side by side. One will be a butterfly using a few different effects, and the second will be as I build a steam punk themed pin with an enamel feature.

You will need
Pearly powder colors
A pointed end tool
Deep red brown clay
Detail clear or transparent embossing powder
Paper or wax paper
To start chose your clay. I like to use a dark burnt Siena color as I find it shows off the pearlex colors better than others. If you want a light airy look , like with the small dragon fly bead on the latest free bead monday giveaway, use transparent clay.  I will also use black but for the faux enamel on the buterfly, but for the circle that will be with metal tones I find the deeper red brown tones work the best. I

Roll out your clay and cut out your starting shapes, in the case a butterfly and large circle

First is my favorite texture. radiating short line made by pressing a pointed end tool at an angle into clay. As seen in these following photos. Notice on the circle how the lines build outwards with shorter lines towards the edges. This causes a beautiful pattern that will grab the pearly powders and allow the light to bounce back and forth on the surface.  On the butterfly I will build the same effect with the pointed tool but in smaller sections mimicking the veins on the butterfly wings.

To the left side of the butterfly impress your favorite stamp, the impressions in the clay will work like the lines giving the light something to bounce off of and an interesting pattern to play up with the pealex powders.

Next is the fun part, with a soft paint brush start applying your colors. In this case I find applying the darkest color first and building up and out with the lighter works best.
First the dark violet, than purple, blue, and finally green.

On the butterfly start out the same with the violet, purple and blue but before adding the green take a small piece of felt or any low nap fabric and rub of the top layer of powder to expose the black. This will make a surface that has the clays natural tacky adherence ready to accept a lighter color.  Since I only want the light green to be on the top layer I dip my finger in the powder and gently rub across the now tacky top surface.  By using my finger instead of the brush, the green will only adhere to the top surface and leave the crevices the darker contrasting colors. This will help bring out your pattern

Now to finish out the design, on the butterfly I add some curly lines by rolling out black clay and attacking with liquid sculpy. On the steam punk broach I add different elements I've assembled also with the liquid sculpy.  

On the butterfly I want the finished project to be smooth and glossy on the surface. For this I will need to build an enclosed frame around the shape to hold in the embossing powder so it does not simply run of the sloped sides.  Remember embossing powder is basically finally ground plastic that you melt and it will run and pools like any liquid and needs a container when used heavily. 

For the smooth surface you will need to use a lot of embossing powder. Just poor some on both sides and use a clean soft brush to spread around. You want to fully cover all the surfaces except the highest points of the black lines and frame.

The butterfly is ready to go in the oven and bake

On my steam punk broach I have a lot or high relief details, so a smooth surface would defeat the purpose of adding these elements. Instead I want a thin protective coating from the embossing powder and then on the round faux enamel feature I will apply additional powder.  
When polymer clay is still raw the embossing powder will natural adhere even on surfaces that have pearlex powders applied.  I have a separate jar of l powder set aside that I use to build up the following thin layers. I keep all the embossing powder for the next example separate as bits of powder or loose clay can come off. I want clean powder to add thickly with no blemishes when creating a thick layer that mimics epoxy resin.
Place your piece on a clean sheet of paper and sprinkle the powder all over. Lift and gently shake to release any additional. A thin layer of the embossing powder will stay on. Use your paper to funnel back in the left over powder

Now all you have to do is add additional powder to the areas you want a smother surface. In these cases around the gears to mimic epoxy and on the blue faux enamel areas.

Bake in your oven and enjoy

See how the top is smooth and shiny

Here are a few examples of steampunk badges I have made using the embossing powder to create both a sealing protective layer and faux enamel.

This is my first tutorial. So please help me with constructive criticism to improve for the future.
And ask any questions you might have


  1. Nice!You do such beautiful steampunk work you make me drool! lol
    Very well done tutorial. The only suggestion I can think of would be to maybe take the multiple shots of a step ( such as adding the black frame to the butterfly) and place them together into one picture. You can use just about any art program for this ; just open a 'new' file the size you want then paste all the other photos how you want them. This will allow you have two photos side by side in your blog, since the blog sees it as one photo, and will cut down on the amount of scrolling AND keep the written instructions closer to the pictures. I hope that makes sense >.<

  2. Great tutorial. I love the steampunk pendant/pin. I can't think of anything you need to do different or change. Thanks

  3. Love this tutorial!! I did wonder what people used embossing powder on in polymer clay. It had been mentioned in a couple of books and tutorials in passing, but no one ever gave an example. I don't know why I didn't put this together, but thank you SO much for the idea. I haven't used resin yet and was reluctant to try it because I have asthma and it has harsh fumes. This will be a great alternative for me. Also, I love the examples you used, especially the steampunk. I am just starting to try my hand at steampunk and am still trying to figure out how to do so. :) If you are curious, I have my blog at: On there you will find steampunk barrettes that I made, which is my first attempt. Let me know what you think. Thanks again for the tutorial!

  4. Thank you for sharing your techniques, your tutorial is great. Regards from Venezuela!!!!