Tutorial of the Week: Swellegant Metal Coatings

LouAnn Tutorials

Happy Thursday, everyone!  Are you ready for another tutorial?  This week, I am totally switching it up and going to start sharing another fun product you can use for altering all sorts of things, be it metal, clay, wood, resin, glass, sea shells, leather or pretty much whatever else you can think of 🙂  …are you ready to get messy again?

Swelle-what?

Swellegant is a series of jewelry-grade low toxic, non-hazardous metal coatings, patinas and dye oxides developed by polymer clay artist, Christi Friesen.  They can be used individually or together to create some really cool effects.

Today, I am going to focus on the metal coatings.  These coatings are comprised of actual pulverized metal suspended in a clear base and come in five different colors – bronze, copper, brass, silver and iron.

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The beauty of these coatings is that they are flexible when dry and are resistant to cracking, flaking and chipping.  They are even durable enough to use on items intended for outdoor use!

The metal coatings are super easy to use…all you need is a paint brush or sponge.  You can even apply them with your finger, though you are likely to want to use latex gloves when you do this.

Even better yet, these coatings dry quickly without heating, clean up easily with soap and water, and have absolutely no odor that I could detect.  Seriously…can it get any better?!?!

If you’d like to hear from Christi herself, there’s a great video produced by Fire Mountain Gems where she tells you all about the metal coatings:

 

Materials

A complete list of the materials and tools you’ll need is as follows:

  • Swellegant Prep & Clear Sealant
  • Swellegant Metal Coatings
  • something to alter (I used metal filigrees, of course)
  • protective non-stick work surface
  • steel wool, fine grit sandpaper or burnishing block
  • small pieces of sponge
  • paint brush
  • latex gloves
  • rag
  • heat gun (to speed dry time, if desired)

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Preparation

Before you start slapping the coatings on your metal filigrees, you must do a little bit of prep work.  To ensure the longevity of your coatings, it is always best to start by buffing the surface of your pieces using a little bit of steel wool, a super fine grit sandpaper, or burnishing block.

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After buffing, wash your filigrees in some warm soapy water and dry them thoroughly.  If you do nothing else, ensure you wash the filigrees.  The manufacturer typically adds a thin oil coating on them to prevent rusting, and the coatings will not stick to oily surfaces very well.

Now you’re ready to get messy…bwahahaha!  I started by brushing on a thin layer of the Swellegant Prep.  Although this is not always required, it is recommended that you use it on non-porous surfaces.

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Application

Basic Application

Because these coatings have pulverized metal suspended in liquid, it is really important that you give them a good shake before you use them.  When you use them for the first time, them up before removing the seal.  Sometimes some of the metal cakes up on the underside of the seal…and who wants to waste the good stuff, right?

After shaking the coatings, I just put a small amount on my non-stick craft sheet to work with.  You can also use a painter’s palette if you prefer.  Then all you do is use a sponge to “pounce” thin layers of the coating onto your filigrees.  You can use a paint brush, but the sponge does help prevent streaking.

It is recommended that you apply at least 3 layers of the coating.  I definitely found that the bronze, copper and silver had the best coverage.  Here’s a look at what all 5 coatings look like after 3 coats:

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…not too shabby if I say so myself!  BUT…why stop there?  Although these coatings provide awesome coverage and can turn anything into pretty much any color you’d like, it’s always nice to add a bit more depth and bring out some of the texture in those filigrees 😉

Layering for More Detail

You can apply the Swellegant Metal Coatings similar to what you would do with Rub ‘n Buff, Inka Gold and Gilder’s Paste (just to name a few).  First, you’re going to want to put on some latex gloves.

The coatings do have the consistency of a really runny acrylic paint, so you gotta thicken them a bit to avoid getting the coating into the recesses of your metal piece.  Just pick up a little bit of the coating with your finger and tap in onto your craft mat a couple of times so that it dries a teeny bit and is easier to control when applying it.

All you need to do now is rub the coating onto your filigree using your finger.  Kinda like this:

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With 5 different coatings, can you imagine the number of combinations?  Okay, I could turn all super geek on you right now and calculate that, but I never was a fan of statistics 😉  Here’s a few of the combinations I tried.  The coating on the left is the base coat with the one shown on the right being applied over top with my finger.

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Mix it Up!

Wanna keep going?  Okay…sure!  You can apply these coatings one on top of the other, but you can mix them up, too!  Just put a little of each metal onto your craft sheet and mix them with a paint brush…kinda like you would with acrylic paints.  I chose to mix a little of the bronze and brass on the left half of this filigree.  I used straight bronze on the right just so you can see the color difference.

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Finishing Touches

Although it is not completely necessary, it is always a good idea to protect your altered pieces using the Swellegant Clear Sealant after the coatings have dried.  The recommended dry time is 72 hours before adding the sealant.

All you do to apply the sealant is brush on a very thin layer…too thick and it will look milky.  The sealant does have a matt finish, so you don’t risk seeing any brush strokes once it dries.  If you’re not too crazy about the matt finish, you can always add a clear glossy finish using Krylon spray, or something similar 🙂

 

Well, that about covers how to use the Swellegant Metal Coatings alone…next week, I’ll break out the patinas and we’ll really start to have some fun.  I’ll not only show you how to use them alone, but we’ll also start to mix the metal coatings with the patinas to create some cool effects…squee!

As always, I thank you for your time today.  Have a great weekend!  Cheers!

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