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Colored pencils on metal

I would like some help with applying colored pencils to metal. I tried
applying colored pencil directly on Sterling Silver and have also tried
applying them over a liver of sulfur patina. I didn’t have any luck with
either. How does one get the color to stick? Is it necessary to apply
some kind of coating before attempting to apply the colored pencil?

Laura H.

From a peaceful little farm near the Columbia River, with a view of Mt.
St. Helens and Mt. Hood. And, on a clear day, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

“Dullcote” a Testor spray enamel should work… would probably matte the
surrounding silver surface though. Hairspray even? Robb

I don’t see color pencils working on any metal. To add color to metal
(even silver) make sure you’ve scrubbed off all grit and dirt and oil (use
pumice with soap on a brush . . .) clean until the COLD water doesn’t bead
on the surface of the metal . . . Then, I was instructed to, mix 330 epoxy
with artists pigment (dry) and apply that to recessed areas. This can be
filed, sanded and/or polished after the appropriate drying time. (In my
opinion, try not to file, sand or polish - these proceedures seem to dull
the finish, rather than enhance.)

Have fun!

G’day Laura;
Sorry, but you’ll have to leave your peaceful little farm and go to the
Big Smoke and call at a good stationer’s shop, where you will ask for
Chinagraph pencils or, if they are ignorant, tell them ‘glass writing
pencils’ or grease pencils which will write on practically anything.
(tried lipstick?) But don’t expect it to be anything other than very
temporary - you can easily wipe it off with a cloth or even a finger. I
used to use them for marking and identifying chemical and bacteriological
glassware. But it also comes off in a steriliser. Why do you want the
pencils anyway? Cheers,

       / \
     /  /
   /  /
 /  /__| \      @John_Burgess2
(______ )       

At sunny Nelson NZ (in late autumn/winter)

How about a brush finish or sandblasting & using pastels instead?

Hi Laura -
What kind of pencils are you using? I was taught that the "only"
ones that worked were the prismacolors, which can be a bit pricey in an
art supply store, but oftentimes places like BJ’s Wholesale or Office
Depot will have sets of them relatively inexpensively.
Have only used them once or twice, most recently on an
electroform piece. I remember that if I got the tip wet, it applied more
like paint than a pencil.
I also remember that the only way to keep the color was to use
lacquer afterwards. However, the colors can tend to run together.
My 2 cents worth
Laura Wiesler
Towson, Maryland

Helen Shirk, who teaches metalsmithing at San Diego State University,
makes large repoussed bowl shapes from copper and then uses prismacolor
pencils to color them. She has also done some scaled down pieces as
jewelry (all in copper I believe. One of her students uses the same
technique to make small copper tiles which she then assembles into picture
frames, candle holders and decorative objects. Don’t know the exact
process, however it seems to me you would have to start with a surface
that would accept the color. Perhaps a sanded surface or an annealed
surface. After the color is applied the surface must be sealed. and not
subject to much abrasion. You might be able to reach Helen through the
SDSU website:

She showes her work nationally and it can be found in back issues of
Metalsmith and American Craft.
Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Using colored pencils on metal requires that you give the metal some
texture for the pencils to grab. I’ve found that sandblasting works best
for me. You may try steel wool if you don’t have access to a sandblaster.
I’ve used either a spray clear or wax to seal it when finished, though
not sure if that’s neccessary. Hope this helps.

in cloudy Los Angeles

Marilyn da Silva works with coloured pencil on raised and fabricated forms
very successfully. Have you seen her work?

I attended a talk at SNAG’94 in Portland where she showed what she does.
Let me try now to say it in a few words:

Prepare the metal, apply gesso, use turps-based pencil, spray with

Across the seas, far away, on a litle island, getting wet 'cos it’s
raining again.
B r i a n � A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r �
@Brian_Adam1 ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND Recent Work across the bench from me

Thank you! I would never have thought to wet the tip. By the way, my
source for Prismacolor was a company called Nasco. The have a variety of
catalogs, but one can ask specifically for the Arts & Crafts catalog. I
find their prices to be amazing in some cases. It has been awhile, but I
believe I saved just under 30% on the Pirsmacolors. They offer quite an
impressive selection of supplies. Phone Nasco at (800) 558-9595.

Laura Hiserote

From a peaceful little farm near the Columbia River, with a view of Mt.
St. Helens and Mt. Hood. And, on a clear day, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

Hi everyone. I’m new to Orchid - have been hanging around the
background “listening” for the last couple of weeks - have enjoyed it

Regarding colored pencils on metal - I took a patination seminar from
Helen Shirk a few years back at which time we experimented with colored
pencils on metal. She uses them frequently to add color to her vessel
forms. I can’t remember specifics, except we needed a matte surface and
used clear acrylic spray over the pencils afterwards to set it. I’m
looking at a bracelet form I made during the seminar, all colors are clear
and didn’t run together - I believe 2-3 light layers of acrylic spray
paint does the trick.

Oh - I guess I should introduce myself: I studied metalsmithing at
University of Houston, Texas in the late 80’s. Before I finished my
degree I was uprooted and moved to Columbus, Ohio just when the metals
program at The Ohio State University was terminated. I wasn’t able to
return to metals until recently - I’ve built a small studio and have
been designing and fabricating jewelry part time.

Glad to have found Orchid,
Jonna Brandon