Pebeo Porcelaine or Vitrea Colors

Anyone have any experience with these colors ? I found them at a
local art shop whilst looking for standard enameling pigments (funny
how everyone looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked for
enameling pigments) and I was intrigued by the fact that they are
water soluble but fire to a hard porcelain finish in a standard oven
at only 300F, obviating the need to invest in a kiln right now
(enameling is something I’m just beginning to work on). I just got a
bunch of sterling disks today which I will dome and then would like
to enamel, possibly with a tub set gem in the center, for some nifty
earrings. I just wondered if anyone had any pros and/or cons about
the Pebeo colors before I go and buy umpty-two bottles.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286


I have been using the Pebco colors for about a year. I found that
they work best at 250F instead of 300 F. The 300 temp makes the
colors come out darker than it should. I have put black,white brown &
Tan on my small Arabian horse and they came out good.

I did some of my snow Geese Pendants in black,white and light orange
and it looked verry good.

The company has a large selection of colors to choose from and they
can be mixed to get different shades of colores. I think you will
like to use the material, and run some tests before you make things
to sell.

Billy S. Bates

I can understand your attraction for the Pebeo “enamels,” especially
if you haven’t invested in a kiln yet. I have tried them – and as
an enamelist, I have to say, they don’t come close to the beauty,
transparency and elegance of true enamel. They are basically
imposters… however for some art and craft applications they are fun
to play with. I think they would bring the quality of fine jewelry
down a notch or two. I enamel mostly on fine silver and gold with
transparents. sterling will have its challenges, but you just need to
do a little depletion gilding first. My vote is for the “real thing.”
Kelly Indigo Flameworks

Dear Brian,

Well I had a very unhappy experience with Pebeo colors. I contracted
to make some sterling pins for the private school at the end of my
street They were to depict the logo of the school which is a little
house and a star above it. I did not want to get into vitreous
enameling on silver because of firescale and the problems of
attaching the pin findings and all that and when I found the Pebeo
colors I thought I had found a great solution. The colors of the
logo were a sort of peridot green which I was able to mix with a
couple of their colors and a very rich dark blue which I found
straight out of the bottle. I made the first batch of pins and all
went well. Time passed and they ordered another dozen. This time tho,
I could not get the colors to cook properly. I tried changing ovens.
I bought an oven thermometer thinking maybe my oven temp was off. I
bought all new colors thinking maybe they had gone bad or something.
The colors looked burnt but I could not figure out what was going
wrong. I tried cooking them at lower temperatures. I kept having to
etch and dig the bits of color out of the depressions. I wrote to the
company but did not get much info from them. It was incredibly
frustrating. Finally, we made a mixture of two part epoxy and oil
paint to get the colors into the pins and get the damn job done. It
wouldn’t have been so weird if I hadn’t had it work so well the first
time. So–you asked if anyone had experience with these colors and
that’s mine. If you discover the secret to using these things I’d
love to know it. They’ve ordered more pins…

Janet Alix
Alix and Company
55 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Thanks, Kelly. I think I may play with the Pebeo colors just as an
introduction and to see if I really want to create enameled jewelry.
I don’t have a kiln yet. Gotta sell some of those excess gems to get
a nice kiln. :wink:

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286

Thanks for the warnings, Janet. I’m going to give it a swing. As soon
as the boss comes back from the beach (i.e. She Who Must Be Obeyed)
we’re going to discuss where we’re going to keep the kiln that I
might have already ordered by then. I’m going to work with the Pebeo
colors, since I’ve had one very positive response, but I think it
won’t be long 'til I move on to standard enamel colors. I just
ordered some copper, silver, and silver wire. I need to dust off my
engraving tools and get ready to try my hand at cloisonne and
champleve. Hey - Outlook 2007 just put the accents in the right
places for me ! (I’m a descendant of French-speaking Swiss
immigrants, so I’m fussy about that).

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286

Hi Billy,

I did some of my snow Geese Pendants in black,white and light
orange and it looked verry good. 

Light orange is one of the colors I have never gotten to look good
on bare sterling, but I heat at 275 F for 17 minutes. Is your Snow
Geese sterling? And how many minutes do you heat at 250 F?

Glad you wrote,

Hi Brian,

I have used Porcelaine on vitrified but unglazed porcelain. I’m not
sure what it is, and it definitely doesn’t fire to what a ceramicist
would consider a “hard porcelain surface.” I assume it’s some kind
of epoxy. It’s fun to play with, but I decided to stop because, at
the time, I didn’t have an oven with a “true” thermostat and the
stuff was easy to burn. I was making porcelain jewelry elements, and
setting up a porcelain glaze firing for tiny pieces is essentially
insane, never mind that most colors burn out at that temperature.
But I never actually used any of the elements I “glazed” with the
Porcelaine, because they just looked too funky. So… I recommend
playing around with it before you invest in more. And I have no idea
how it would work on sterling–you’d probably be better off with a
dedicated product like Durenamel (lots about this stuff in the

Good luck!
Lisa Orlando
Still in Oakland…

Hi Brian,

I have been using Porcelaine 150 as one of my materials for about 3
years. There isn’t much written about its use on metal so I have
done a bit of experimentation. As with learning any new material,
you will have a ramp up time and have to do your own experiments.

Porcelaine 150 is not enamel. Use the word enamel only for glass
enamels. Porcelaine 150 is a “thermo-hardened resin-based paint”.
Since you are going to have to spend some time and money, you may
want to consider first what kind of customers you sell to. Do you
sell to the “fine jewelry” crowd or the “art jewelry” crowd? You’ve
seen comments on the list before like: “Ceramit is a second rate
substitute for enamel” or “Learn on copper and brass but when you
are ready to make real jewelry use silver or gold”. If you or your
customers think either of those statements are true, then just go
straight to learning enamels. If your customers don’t think like
that, then you can sell either enamels or paints, both enamels and
paint on one piece, or even paint on top of enamels! Even though I
make a “product”, I am an artist in head and heart. The women I make
jewelry for are intrigued by the idea of paint on jewelry and since
"thermo-hardened resin-based paint" is such an mouthful, it almost
always gives me an opening to further discuss my work.

Here’s a couple of my findings if you decide to try them. I would
start with just a couple colors. Some are opaque and others
transparent. Many of the colors will not turn out well on sterling
or copper. Like red. I use a base of white underneath to get a
bright red. Transparents won’t turn out well on sterling or copper
either. They all turn out well on fine silver. One thing I do, is
brush PMC onto sterling pieces in the area I want to paint and then
fire that. Then I’m putting the paint onto fine silver. Since you
don’t have a kiln, you may want to depletion gild. I haven’t tried
that. There is also a thinner, that adds transparency to some of the

I started with using a gas oven and you really have to experiment
with time and temp. I now use a kiln and I fire for 17 - 18 minutes
at 275 F. It says its non toxic, but I use ventilation when painting
and firing and close them off when they are drying. Let them dry for
at least 24 hours, for thicker paint or two coats, I dry for 48.

You’ll have to think about durability and how the customer will
clean the piece when you design. Most of the time, I want to use the
paint in unprotected areas. Not indented. I like to add blobs of
color to things. I’ve only had one blob pop off once - it was a very
smooth surface underneath. Make sure the metal is really clean and
if you can rough it up or have something for it to hold, its better.
I put it in my pickle, but I do it for the minimum amount of time
necessary. I just rinse it really well, I think baking soda dulls
the shine of the paint. If you rub the paint with a cleaning cloth,
it will abrade. If the paint is protected in a recessed area, then
the customer can clean the silver without abrading the paint. I’ve
also put them in my tumbler with stainless steel shot for 10 minutes
or so with no problems. (I use a non ammonia based soap). I’ve also
cleaned pieces with a paste silver cleaner and sponge successfully.

Because it is resin, you can use it in areas that have a slight
spring to it.

If you decide to try it, and have specific questions, let me know.


Hi Brian,

I didn’t see your original post or Kelly’s reply, but felt compelled
to respond. I would argue against playing with Pebeo to see what it
is like to enamel. Not the same creature at all. That’s like eating
an orange to find out what an apple tastes like–both are great,
just not the same. The way glass reacts with different metals is not
the same as the way the Pebeo paints will react. There are so many
amazing enameling techniques to discover. I highly recommend taking
a weekend intro class in glass enameling. It’s an amazing process
and highly addictive.

Are you familiar with Glass on Metal? It’s a great resource for

By the way, I have used Pebeo paints to decorate tiles–lots of fun
and quick too.

In CT, where it is finally drying out!

Brenda Schack

Thanks very much for the info, Lauri. I bought a few colors of Pebeo
150 plus some undercoat and I’m going to try baking it on silver and
copper. I already have my eye on a kiln and am pricing enamels (Dick
Blick seems to have a good price on a starter kit of Thompson
enamels). Having just done my gem inventory, I think I’ll divest
myself of some excess gems and put the money into the kiln, colors,
and metal.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286

Hi, Brenda,

I’m fully aware that Pebeo and enamels are not the same thing, but I
was curious about the Pebeo stuff anyway. I plan to go straight to
the “real thing” ASAP. Having been trained as a painter, enameling is
up my alley.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286