Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Enameling with silver foil

I’ve read different things & hope someone can confirm.

When applying silver foil - you put it down on top of fused enamel ( got that) ,but do you put transparent on top of foil before firing again OR do you fire the foil first ?? Or does it matter ?
Any tips appreciated
Thanks ,

No, you need to refire the piece with nothing on top of the foil so that the enamel below it can grab onto it and flow into the voids underneath. After that you add another layer of enamel, fire that, then in the instance of cloisonné that’s the layer you’ll set your cloisons onto and fire them into.

I’ve just been learning this myself, so it’s top of mind. Thanks for the opportunity to infodump. :laughing:

ETA: are you familiar with piercing the foil to help prevent air bubbles under it? I’ve only done small pieces of foil so far and haven’t noticed a problem, but I read that it can happen with larger fields. I read that you can either use a pin to poke a few tiny holes, or lay the foil over a sheet of sandpaper and gently roll over it once with a brayer or dowel. When held up to light you’ll see tiny holes all over, but when laid flat they’re invisible.


Thanks Jen.
I appreciate your input- I feel more confident trying the foil now.
Confusing , as you read different things in different places - so thanks for that confirmation.

Speaking of which - I’ve read that the needed holes was really only something that has carried on, although not necessary anymore , and that the foil now has holes in it .
Yet, my new sheets straight from Thompson do not have holes ( I just checked) . I think I like the sandpaper idea, the foil is so thin .

Thanks again,


Fire to stick the foil down. You are looking for a flat, grease free surface prior to adding more enamel. I add water to the surface to help with getting the foil to lay flat & rub out any air bubbles. Allow the foil to dry before firing. Use a surficant to help with first layer of cover enamel after you are satisfied with the silver layer. The surficant is just a tiny amount of liquid dish detergent. Don ‘t add water, you are making a slightly sticky surface. Do rub off with a soft cloth to leave the barest amount of soap. Surface should look tacky. This
helps the first layer of enamel grains stick, leaving less chance for air bubbles to form. Another sifting of grains over that, fire to glossy then proceed with colored enamel, wire or other planned design elements. Hope all that makes sense . Important to take notes as you work. What you did each step, results, etc. Warm colors tend to fight with silver - chemical reaction & reds tend to burn out, so add as last colors before final firing. *I have not done dish soap as a tack for silver foil, but have used a thin mix of Klyr fire w /water.


Interesting Eileen - thanks for the tips, just what I was hoping for.
I never read that, about putting some kind of surfactant on top of the foil- I shall try it.

Notes- notes- notes - how right you are .
Lots to learn.

Thanks again,

1 Like

Amazing information! Thank you so much for sharing! I love enameling in my spare time and try working with different techniques. I’ve copied your information and will certainly refer back to it time and time again!