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Cloisonné Earrings

Cloisonné Earrings
08/03/2022

Cloisonné is the ancient technique of decorating metalwork objects with coloured material held in place or separated by metal strips or wire. Create these beautiful Cloisonné Earrings, using enamel colours of your choice, with our step by step tutorial.

Step 1: Draw & Trace Draw or print out your design onto paper and trace around the lines with the fine Silver wire using a pair of fine tweezers to achieve the sharp bends. Keep checking the shape against the drawing and the fine Silver blanks to make sure that they fit. While wearing safety glasses, use a pair of snips to cut the wire once you have achieved your desired shape.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 1 Step 2: Prepare Prepare the enamels by washing them in distilled water. I used Kingfisher (860 408), Pale Blue (860 425) and Medium White (860 523). Once washed, leave the enamels immersed in the water ready for painting onto the fine Silver blanks.

SAFETY TIP: While working with powdered enamels always use a cup mask to prevent breathing them in.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 2 Step 3: Apply Apply a thin base layer of Silver enamel flux onto the surface of the fine Silver blanks and fire for one minute on a steel mesh at 820˚C. Carefully remove it from the kiln using a firing fork and place on a heat resistant rest allowing the pieces to cool down fully before handling.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 3 Step 4: Dip Using Blu-Stic gum adhesive, dip the wire shape in at an angle covering just the base. Position the wires onto the pre-enamelled blanks and allow them to dry fully before firing in the kiln.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 4 Step 5: Fire Fire the blanks in the kiln at 820˚C for one minute to allow the wire to stick to the surface as the enamel melts. Straight after removing the pieces from the kiln, gently press the wires with a pallet knife to make sure that they are fully attached and have no gaps underneath. Ensure that you are properly supporting the piece on the wire mesh while doing this as it will be extremely hot.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 5 Step 6: Pack Begin wet packing the enamels into the wire shapes. Don’t build up the layers too thick. It is best to work with thin layers to prevent cracking after firing. Allow the piece to fully dry before firing in the kiln. Once dry, fire again for 1 minute at 820˚C.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 6 Step 7: Build up the layers Continue building up the layers and firing in the kiln until they are level with the edge of the oval blank.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 7 Step 8: Sand Using a Diagrit sponge, start to sand the cloisonné wires and enamel so that they are flush to the surface. Always do this under water and wear a cup mask. Once the enamel is completely flush to the edge of the oval blank, wash off any dust and re-fire to restore the shine of the enamels.

Step 9: Finish To finish, sand the backs of the oval blanks using wet and dry paper. Work your way through the grits starting with 600 and finishing with 1200. Take your time to make sure you are removing any scratches on the surface.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 9 Step 10: Shine Once you have finished sanding the pieces with wet and dry paper, move onto micromesh to bring the backs up to a high shine, starting with coarse and finishing with fine.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 10 Step 11: Polish Use a fine rubber wheel and pendant motor to gently polish the edges of the fine Silver blanks to bring them up to a high shine.

HEALTH & SAFETY Always wear safety glasses when polishing.

Create these Cloisonné Earrings - Step 11 Step 12: Assemble Hook the finished enamel pieces onto the creole hoops to complete the earrings.

We want to see what you have been making! Share your creations with us on social media, tagging in Cooksongold on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information on  Cloisonné Earrings  talk to  Cooksongold

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