I’ve enjoyed the Martha Stewart Crafts line for a while now- the tools, paints, and papercrafting items are all on my “faves” lists. But now there is something completely new- a line of jewelry crafting items created by Plaid Enterprises and available at Michael’s Stores. The first of our series of reviews will be on the Jewelry Enamel.
Jewelry enamel mixes like paint and can be added as translucent or opaque shades. When dry, the paint has an amazing gloss finish. The 2-part enameling system air dries within 24-72 hours. Choose from a variety of colors. Mix enamel with activator to create enameled jewelry. 1. Mix 1 part enamel with 2 parts activator. 2. Wipe jewelry with alcohol to clean. Apply with toothpick. 3. Let dry for 72 hours.
So let’s dig in! To use the enamel, you need to mix the activator and color on a safe surface. There is a silicone mat in the line that I was sent to use.
You can also see that there are some nice colors in the line, 10 in all. And you can mix them to customize your colors as well.
So I started by getting my activator and color ready to mix.
You need to mix two parts activator to one part color. I kind of eyeballed it. By the way, you should note that this stuff is kind of stinky. It’s in the epoxy family (from what I can tell) and there is a strong odor much like fingernail polish or a Sharpie marker. Make sure that you open a window or use a fan, and the precautions advise using gloves and not eating or drinking during your creative time. My advice? Not for kids, either.
I mixed up my color and began applying it to the brass charms. The instructions say that you can apply it immediately after mixing for a translucent look, or wait 2-3 hours for it to thicken up for a more opaque look.
What this also means is that it’s pretty runny when you first mix it- kind of like cream. It runs and settles and that’s what gives you a more translucent look.
I applied it with a toothpick, as suggested.
I guess I got a bit heavy-handed, though, because as you see after a few minutes the color started to run off the edge. You can wipe it away with the silicone-edged brush and use a damp paper towel to remove the excess enamel.
I left it just to see how difficult it would be to clean up. The piece above had set overnight, about 15 hours, and the piece was still tacky to the touch. I used a blade to scrape off the excess enamel and it worked pretty well! So if you make a mistake, you can fix it to a point.
I decided to use the enamel on a variety of metal surfaces- a pewter sticker, bead, key, soda can aluminum, bottlecap, beads, frames, tags- even some plastic tags and shapes. The color took well to each of them.
Now, I did notice that I had some pooling/puddling involved. I attribute this to uneven surfaces. In the instance of the blue embossed pick shape in the photo above, the piece itself was a bit warped so there was some puddling. With the plastic tag, the paper it was sitting on was a uneven, so it pooled as well. With the flaming heart charm, there was just too much product on the piece for surface tension to hold it, so it bled over the side.
My take-away? Make sure you have a nice, smooth even surface for best results!
After 18 hours, the pieces were no longer tacky to the touch. (PS- the day that I started painting the weather was 82 degrees and rather humid.) Once we turned on the air conditioning, the curing process seemed to go much faster. However, these pieces took over 48 hours to lose the tackiness:
But be aware- this is NOT a “quick and easy” craft. Between the mixing, the time it takes to do, (considering you are painting with a toothpick) and the cure time all mean that this is a slow-and-steady type of craft, especially suited for folks who are patient, have good eyesight, and a steady hand.
Oh…and I quick note about durability. I took the embossed, aluminum can piece and bent it over….and then straightened it back out with no creasing, lines, or lifting of the MS jewelry enamel! Now that’s something, right?
We’ll have to see how the pieces hold up to wear and tear with actual use. I’ll make sure to report back!
OH…and one little tip from me. Rather than eyeballing the two-to-one ratio, just make evenly sized dots on your palette. This is how we mix colors for polymer clay and it works well for this product, too.
SO! All in all, I did enjoy this product. I found the smell to be a bit overwhelming after a time, so PLEASE open a window or use a fan!
- Easy to mix
- Unique product on the market
- Great color palette
- Takes time (just plan for it)
- You need a steady hand and good eyes for working in small areas
- Learning curve!
Is this a product you would try? I’d love to hear your questions and comments !
Note: at this time, the product is available at Michael’s stores and prices were not available.
Disclosure: This product was provided for the purposes of review, but all opinions are honest and my own.
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