Painting on silver

Does anyone know if we can use Testers enamel or lacquer paints on
sterling - will it hold up, will it stick, etc. Do you think it is
better than ceramit or the other enamel type products. Do we need to
use a base coat or a cover coat to keep it on? This is for wearable
jewelry, so I am curious if it will hold up under wear?

Thanks in advance.

There are some specialty paints for painting on metal as well.
Pebeo, the same people who make Porcelaine 150, also makes Vitrial
which does metal.


Yes, you can paint on silver (and copper) and it will be durable
depending upon how you design it. The key is that the metal must be
ABSOLUTELY clean and dry and the surface of the metal should NOT be
highly polished. A buffed or scratched finish will provide the tooth
needed for a good bond with the paint.

Depending upon what you’re trying to do, you may want to consider a
metal paint such as those created for the automotive and model-making
industry. They’re available in tiny little cans at a good model/craft
store and are ideally sized/priced for experimentation.

One thing I’ve done is a series of traditional artistic oil
paintings on copper, set as little pins and pendants in handmade
frames. The inspiration was seeing the wonderful Dutch master
paintings that were done on copper supports instead of canvas… the
colors are more vibrant and just “pop.” After doing a bunch of
research to find out how they prepped the metal, I found that they
pumiced to clean the copper, then used garlic oil (the oil pressed
from garlic cloves) to further clean the metal. Following that, they
gessoed, allowed to dry, and then painted as though on a canvas.
That’s the process I used and the paints have held up beautifully
with no darkening or color shift in the ensuing 8 years since I first
tried that technique. You do have to allow ample curing time (as you
would with any oil painting) of up to 3 months for a complete
oxidation (oils don’t “dry” they oxidize) before setting and wearing

Hope this helps!
Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


I’m using the Rio product Colores and the colors are AMAZING. There
are stunning royal gold, sapphire, and emerald colors. You can mix
the most beautiful raspberry, cobalt and turquoise ever imagined. It
has a mixing time of several minutes and a 36 to 72 hour drying
time. You cannot put a second color on until the first color is
completely dry. You can remove it if needed with a 3M radial disk but
only after it is completely dry. It took me a while to learn to use
the syringes but the 22g syringe can draw the fine lines needed for
three palm trees on a 2" sterling oval. I like the results but I
would like to know what else is out there. If you are near Medfield,
MA you are welcome to come to my basement studio and watch and
experiment a little.

Would love to hear what others use on sterling and their successes.

Mary A.