Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Experiments with Metal Leaf & Alcohol Inks

In my last post, I included a couple of photos showing new pieces with metal leaf and alcohol inks.  These are new surface techniques for me, and I thought you might be interested in seeing the progression of my experiments which have covered several days.

So, let's go back to where I began.  I wanted to try making a couple of polymer cabochons, and I wanted an antiqued and crackled look.  I started with a black clay base, layered on gold composite metal leaf (not foil) and then used alcohol inks to color the metal leaf.  I used Pinata brand colors, and loved the way they blended as they ran into each other.  Since the metal leaf was still exposed, and I wanted to be able to bend the sheets to create crackling, I covered the sheet with a very thin layer of translucent clay.  I ran the resulting sheet through the pasta machine a couple of times in different directions until I liked the look of the crackle.

 I formed a few cabochon bases, and covered the tops with pieces from the prepared sheet.  I baked these, then added a sheet of black clay to the back of the cabochon, and a narrow strip of black clay around the edges to create an outline or bezel look.  After these were baked, I sanded a great deal, but found that the color was still  clouded by the translucent clay.  I decided to try using an acrylic varnish designed for polymer.  A few layers made things shine and brought out the colors and the detail.  As a last step,  buna cording and clasps were added to create necklaces.


  1. Wow, fabulous! YOu really wouldn't guess they were polymer clay! Thanks for the inspiration

  2. wht is epoxy? wouldnt jus using varnish protect da metal leaf surface?

    1. Hi, Sherry,

      Yes, varnish would protect the metal leaf surface. Epoxy resin is a special coating that dries to a very hard, almost glass-like finish. In addition, resins have a depth that gives an extra dimensional look to the pieces - and it is exceptionally shiny. So sometimes I use varnish and sometimes an epoxy resin. It all depends on what I want the finished product to look like. Hope this helps answer your questions. ~Kristie