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Kiln firing decals on enamel

Hi all!

I need help… I’ve been trying to kiln fire decals on enamelled copper. I am able to do this by torch firing the pieces, but can’t seem to do it using the control of the kiln. I burn off the paper first by keeping the pieces in a 700 - 800 degree F kiln for 15 - 20 minutes. I then bring up the temp of the kiln to 1500F and put the piece in. The decal ink seems to disappear… or it’s very faint. I tried only firing the piece to 1300F but again too high. How do I get the laser ink to bond with the enamel and not have it disappear? I’m very frustrated!!!

Thanks for any help you can give me!

I’ve fired a lot of enamel decals, especially the kind you make with the laser printer. You have to soak the decal in water and slide it off onto the fired enamel. I’ve had good results with this and my students did, too. I always use the kiln to fire the decals.Donna in FL

Hi Donna, I have applied the decal to the enamelled surface as you suggest… it’s the firing that I’m having trouble with. What temp are you firing at? As I said in my original message, the image disappeared at 1300 degrees. Could you tell me step by step how you fire the piece once the decal is applied? I would be forever in your debt:)

When I said I burned the paper off in my first message, I meant that I slid the decal off and then put it in a kiln for 15-20 minutes to get rid of the decal film and just leave the ink behind. I know the film incinerates prior to the ink bonding with the enamel. I can’t seem to keep the ink from disappearing;(

I have made a lot of pendants with decals on clay body. Soak in water, not
burn off the paper, then slide the picture carefully off the paper and
place where you want it, smoothing down. I have never used anything but a
kiln. It takes a relatively low temp.

there are both low fire and higher fire temp decals - do you know what you
have? And what the recommended temp is? Your kiln might be firing hot.
If it is a Paragon, they often do.

Here’s a link from our local enamel guild…

We’re using the water slide decals from Delphi, which do have to be fully dried before you put them in the kiln, but do not require any ramp up. If your image is disappearing it’s most likely that you’re leaving it in the kiln too long and it’s sinking into your enamel.

Hope this helps.

The fusing assembly in a laser printer fuses the toner to paper at a temp
of approximately 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Much hotter than that and
it gets gooey and eventually disintegrates. Perhaps the key is a lower temp
to fuse to your enamel pieces?

After attaching the decal and letting it dry. I put the piece in the kiln and the decal clear paper flames up and I continue to fire it till about 1350. I don’t take it out and in. If I take it out and I can rub some of it off. I put it back in.

I’ve done this process and you need to let the piece fully dry after the decal is applied. I heat the kiln to 1500 roughly and put it in and keep in for about 2 minutes. Keep the temp between 1350 and 1450. When you are taking it out of the kiln look at it from an angle and if you still see the toner on top it may need to go in longer. The decals I use are from a laser printer with the iron oxide toner, not sure about others. It’s difficult to give a time because of size pieces and the toner coverage so you really need to eyeball it.


We just covered this in my enameling class.

The decals need to be printed with a laser toner that works. Some do, some don’t. I know Delphi Glass recommends using a MICR laser toner cartridge with their decal paper. (Those are the kinds of cartridges that are used for printing checks. I think they have a higher iron content, but I don’t know for sure on that.)

Like any water slide decals, do what the others have mentioned, soaking in water, then sliding the image onto the enameled surface. Let dry.

Our Paragon kilns have windows, so we put the piece into the kiln (at regular enameling temperature), watch for the flash (the plastic burning off), then time / watch it for about 50-60 seconds. It’s usually ‘done’ by then – decal still clear, but securely on the enamel.

Without the window, I’m not sure how to judge the timing on it, except maybe do a number of tests.

So many factors involved. I hope this helps a bit.

Hello again! Problem solved… hurray:) I want to thank you all for your responses - it turns out that it was the laser ink (laser print from Staples). Special thanks to Tricia Adams with her MICR toner advice which got the ball rolling for me. After calling several printers this morning to enquire about the availability of MICR printing services, one knew exactly what I was talking about and said it would be very difficult to find a print shop using that laser toner. He told me that he had some alternatives that we could experiment with. One was a traditional HP laser printer and the other was an OCE 110. Low and behold the decals from both printers worked on the first try! So it was the ink all along;). Again thanks everyone:)

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Hi Jane, I was taught to put them in at the same temp and let it burn off at 1350 to 1450 in the kiln. It may be that it is heated for too long to burn the paper off and you are burning it out from heat for an extended period of time. I took an online class with Anne Dinan. I think she has another one coming up in Dec. This is her Facebook:

She goes through step by step, the process and what to use.

Good luck!


Thanks Susan! I figured out what the problem was - the laser ink!!!

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