Combining PMC and Epoxy

Straight from the PMC Guild archives! Artist Jay Humphreys explains the rewarding process of combining PMC and colorful epoxy in this how-to.

Last edited: 9/10/2018

Artist Jay Humphreys explains how to combine PMC and colorful epoxy in this excerpt from the PMC Guild archives. 

I like to forge ahead with my mind open to all new adventures, and PMC is such a wonderful new product that its potential is unlimited. I’ve recently been using
epoxy in combination with various substrates and colorants along with PMC.

 

Substrates

An excellent substrate is a fine mesh screen, found in craft stores. It comes in brass, copper, or aluminum, and in different mesh sizes. The large-size mesh will need to be backed with cellophane tape to keep the epoxy in the holes. After the epoxy has set up, turn it over and coat the backside: you now have a laminated sheet. For more dimensionality, 80-mesh screen can be bent into free-form shapes.

 

Mixing Epoxies

Work on a nonstick surface such as a Teflon® cooking sheet, which you can get at kitchen stores or the grocery baking section. Mix epoxy with flat toothpicks or small wooden skewers on a small square of aluminum foil. Use a folding motion to reduce air bubbles. Add a small amount of your chosen colorant until you have the color and depth you want. The colorant can thicken the epoxy, so try a small amount and work fast. Surface air bubbles will usually disappear if you blow gently on them. Epoxy is self-leveling, so make sure your work surface is level. Think disposable because epoxy sticks to almost anything you are working with.

 

Adding Color & Texture

A colorant is any material you can use to impart color to the epoxy. For example, rubber-stamping mica pigment such as Pearl Ex made by Jacquard Products, ultra fine pearlescent, glitters, and tinsel may all be used. Try powdered tempera paints, old eye shadow, crushed ore as used wood or jewelry inlay work, enameling powders, even masonry stains. Everything but oil paints or water-based acrylics is fair game.

Rio Grande makes a product called Colores, which is wonderful to use. The kit contains everything you’ll need. You may want to sprinkle the colorant on the epoxy; this gives you a different effect, and can be used alternately with clear layers of epoxy to give depth to the area. Layering also allows you to visually blend colors without muddying them. Other effects can be achieved by layering in plastic netting--it looks like insect wings. Small pictures from magazines,scraps of paper, stickers, even photographs can be used.

 

Finishing 

The PMC elements I use with epoxy are completely finished before joining epoxy and PMC since no heat can be used with epoxy. I plan for cold connections. I like to tumble my pieces because this gives a harder surface. Tumbling compacts them and I like the shiny surface. The whole object is to let your mind explore and new horizons will be opened to you. Since many of my students don’t have traditional metalsmithing skills, we need to develop new techniques that enable them to have truly creative experiences.

I hope you’ll find epoxy to be a new source of adventure in your work with PMC.


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