Super-Easy Enamel Look!

I am often asked how I achieve the glossy enamal-like finish I use on some of my ornaments and jewelry.  Over the years I have tried what has seemed to be an unending array of varnishes looking for that perfect enamel-look for jewelry surfaces and ornaments.  Most that I tried had at least one negative, some had several including being smelly, messy, requiring precise mixing and needing strong solvents for clean up.  One (water-based, thick finish) even turned my jewelry yellow/orange, ruining several pieces.  Then I discovered 3D Crystal Lacquer. 

3D Crystal Lacquer is an odor-free, water-based, no mess, easy-to-use, high gloss finish!  When shown several samples viewers are not able to consistently choose which sample was finished using the smelly two-part epoxy and which was the super-simple 3D lacquer.  This finish has the added benefit (over other water-based options) of being compatible with leafing.  I have used it over both composition gold and aluminum leafing with no darkening, spotting, verdigris or other negative reaction.

Here is the basic process. No brush required.  Snip the tip of the pointy bottle to create a small opening.  Gently squeeze the bottle as you trace the perimeter of the surface.  After completing the perimeter squeeze the bottle to fill the interior area.  Allow to dry.

This finish can be applied with precision accuracy.  Try applying in selective areas to add dimension the specific elements such as christmas bulbs, like the example shown at right, or a single component in a painted or stamped design.  In addition to applying lacquer to the bulbs I also filled the stamped lettering with 3D crystal lacquer after heat embossing with silver and washing color within embossed letters.

3D Crystal Lacquer Tips
  • The lacquer is self-leveling so the surface must be flat. 
  • Trace the area with the lacquer to create a dam before filling the center.
  • Allow to cure overnight even though it may appear dry in a shorter time.
  • Use on a variety of surfaces including paper.
  • The best results are realized on areas no larger than an ornament.