How to Do Enameling on Aluminum

The density of the powder application affects the richness of the resulting color.
The density of the powder application affects the richness of the resulting color. (Image: Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Enameling is the process whereby a fine layer of powdered glass is fused to a metal surface to provide a durable and often decorative covering. While the process dates back to the ancient Greeks, it has most recently been adopted and improved by the automotive industry, which has developed it into a commercial powder-coating application to produce a high-quality finish for car bodies and parts. Providing you have access to a kiln, you can learn how to enamel aluminum at home. The technique takes practice and experience to perfect, and you should initially practice on inexpensive aluminum objects.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum item
  • Heat-resistant masking tape
  • Glass glue
  • Spray bottle
  • Enameling powders
  • Enameler's spoon
  • Tweezers
  • Kiln
  • Heat-resistant tongs

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Preheat your kiln. It must reach a temperature of 1,600 degrees F.

Clean the aluminum object you want to enamel. In order for the enamel to adhere well, the object must be dry and free of all dirt, grease and other particles.

Pour a 50-percent glass glue and 50-percent water solution into a spray bottle, and agitate it well before spraying.

Mask off any areas of the aluminum object that you do not want to enamel with heat-resistant masking tape.

Spray the area that you want to enamel with a fine mist of the water and glass glue solution. This will keep the enamel powders in place.

Apply the colored enamel powders to the object using your enameler's spoon and tweezers.

Place the object into the pre-heated kiln.

Check the piece after five minutes and wait for the powders to bake into enamel. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Do not leave the kiln unattended; you do not want to over-bake the piece.

Remove the object from the kiln, using heat-resistant tongs, and allow it to cool completely.

Check the piece for coverage and color density. If you are not satisfied with either, place more powder on the object and return it to the kiln. You can repeat the process until you achieve a satisfactory result.


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