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Applying Gold Paste to Silver

by Pam East

The rich look of 22K gold accents on silver is lovely and a wonderful way to use gold affordably.  Getting it to stick to the silver, however, can be a challenge.  In the past I had problems with it peeling up and flaking when following the manufacturer's instructions for application.  Finally though, I stumbled on a technqiue that works beautifully.  Just follow these simple instructions and your own gold overlay will come out perfect every time!

Step 1
Fire your silver clay using the appropriate schedule for your brand and type of clay.  Do NOT brush or burnish it after firing.  The metal should still appear white from the firing when do the following steps. The unbrushed state gives the metal some tooth to hold the paste.

Step 2
Apply one thin coat of Art Clay Silver Overlay paste where you want to add the gold accents and allow it to dry.  ACS Overlay paste creates a very strong bond between fired silver and new additions.  This is the trick that really makes the gold paste work.

Step 3
Apply two thin coats of gold paste over the dry ACS Overlay paste, allowing it to dry between coats. Either ACS Gold Paste or Aura 22 will work fine.   Be sure to keep the coats thin.  If the gold goes on two thickly it's more likely to peel.

Step 4
Once the gold is dry, fire it with a torch. Bring the piece to sintering temperature. The silver should appear a light salmon pink, and the gold should be a brighter orange color. There is no need to hold it at this temperature for any length of time.  Once the gold is glowing it's sintered enough.  The gold areas may appear patchy at this point. Don't worry about it, it's going to be fine.

Step 5
Allow the glow to fade, but while it's still hot burnish the gold areas with an agate burnisher.  I usually hold the piece steady with a pair of bent nose tweezers while I do this.

Step 6
When the piece is burnished and has cooled, use a soft brass wire brush with soap and water to brush the entire piece, including the gold areas.  If the gold has been applied correctly, this will not harm it at all.

Step 7
At this point the piece can be tumbled for up to an hour.  Again, properly applied and fired gold will not come off in the tumbler.

That's all there is to it!  It's easy and you'll love elegance gold accents will add to your work!

Last updated on Wed, October 21, 2009 by Metal Clay Guru