Adventures in Glazing

We recently got a new line of Tibetan Style beads that are absolutely gorgeous.  They combine colored enamel, silver plate bali style spacers and links and even acrylic crystal flatbacks to make stunning vintage looking beads that are a designer’s dream.  When I first saw them I studied them really closely and thought… I want to make these!  Well, I’ve never worked with enamel, but the inspiration stuck.

I’ve always known that glaze can be dyed, but I’ve never tried it.  So, I went to a Kroger five minutes from our warehouse and picked up a four pack of food coloring and began my glaze dying adventure.  I poured a small amount of 3D Crystal Lacquer onto a paper plate and carefully dropped one bit of red food coloring into the center.  It just sat there, maintaining it’s perfect circular shape in the center of the glaze, staring up at me like a big red eye as if to remind me that I didn’t know what I was doing.  I started mixing, and slowly but surely little bits of dye began to disperse through out the glaze.  Ignoring my natural inclination to assume that I was probably doing this wrong, I kept mixing.  Sure enough, after about two minutes of mixing, my glaze was a beautiful, deep red color. So I spooned it into my pendant and dropped in a a couple of bali spacers, a pewter daisy link and a pewter cross charm.  I loved the look, very reminescent of the Tibetan Style beads I love so much.  I felt accomplished and set it aside to dry.
Dyed Glaze Pendant

Dyed glaze heart pendant strung on brown leather

Two hours later, I dabbed it with my finger.  It wasn’t even close to dry.  Four hours later, it was the same deal.  So back came the worry that I was an incompetent beader and had probably failed in my glaze dying attempt.  But, I left the pendant sitting on a level surface, hoping it would still turn out a success.  Sure enough, when I came to work the next day, it had dried!  Adding the dye diluted the glaze just a bit and required a little extra drying time, but after sitting overnight, it was all I had dreamed it could be.  The result was the project of the week for 1/17/2011, Perfect Pendant Necklace.

So now I am excited!  I have red, blue, green and yellow food coloring to work with and an endless number of colors that can be made from those four.  I think I’m going to try a pretty turquoise blue next!
Kelly Henderson

Kelly Henderson is a jewelry designer and editor of the Auntie's Beads blog. When she's not beading, you might find her chasing her one-year-old son, Sawyer, watching bad reality TV or reading a good book.

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