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Coloring Jewelry with Swellegant | Recipe Ideas and Tutorials

I've only ever used Gilder's Paste to color metal.  Then my friend and reader, Aims sent me some pictures of her gorgeous pendants which she had colored with Swellegant.  She painted the Swellegant colors onto metal pendants and charms as shown in her carefully photographed examples. Thanks, Aims for sharing them!

Swellegant with Inka Gold Metallic Rub

Each photograph below shows an uncolored piece so you can see how dramatic the transformation can be.

She did not mix the colors. All the pieces were thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed with isopranol (rubbing alcohol which you can purchase from any drugstore) before the Swellegant and other metallic color applications.  She then sprayed with an acrylic protector, Pymll.

As you can see from her photographs, Swellegant dramatically changes the look of the pendants.

I really like the fact that Swellegant is liquid which is easily painted on and with some precision.  Gilder's Paste is a solid and can dry out with time (you can moisten it with a suitable thinner).

There are actually 3 types of Swellegant colors - Metal Coatings (metal with a resin binder), Dye-Oxides (dyes which react with metal)  and Traditional Patinas (like the rapid darkening one).  B'Sue Boutiques has an excellent article which explains more about Swellegant as well as compares with Gilder's Paste and Vintaj/Ranger Inks.

While Aims did not do any patina designs, others appreciate Swellegant for getting the look of aged metals. If you've ever used liver of sulfur to patinate metal or some of the more noxious examples, you'll be glad to know that Swellegant doesn't stink, has low toxicity and low VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  You do have to wear gloves otherwise you will be staining yourself!

Here is a basic tutorial on how to use it.  The trick is to build up the effect with different colors.  You also need to allow some time for the patina to "bloom".

Also check Heather Powers of Humble Beads' wonderful blog post where she shared her tips and patina recipes!

And then there is the delightful Christi's Friesen's video tutorials.  A polymer clay artist, she rocks Swellegant!  My first pick is the one on the Tips, Tricks and Techniques with Swellegant.

You are not limited to metal either!  Swellegant can be used on leather, wood and polymer clay.  This is Christi's tips and tricks for using Swellegant for polymer clay. Very important to know which to use it on - unbaked or baked clay!

Here is a little trivia for you.  Swellegant is obviously a portmanteau (blended word) - swell and elegant. It was first coined by Cole Porter in the 1930's during the Jazz age.

I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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  1. Colouring is a very satisfying process no matter which way you go about it.

    I had purchased a large amount of these plain pendants all at once and they have sat in my studio for about 4 years as I actually couldn't come up with zingy designs with them. I had in fact only used one of them in the 4 years I've had them.

    Colouring them has changed everything about them. I can pair them with all kinds of beads and stringing material that wasn't really an option before.

    For me - whatever I offer for sale has to stand out in some special way - if not I know it won't be something others are interested in.

    I purchased the Inca Gold in the Lava Red colour from Michaels for a different way to add colour. I was at Michaels yesterday and they no longer carry it which is a shame.

    If you go to their website you'll find that it comes in 18 different colours and is considered a metallic finish.

    What I liked about it was the beeswax quality to it that left the metal feeling silky smooth...yum!

    Since Michaels doesn't carry it any more I purchased DecorArt Metallic Lustre yesterday. It also comes in 18 colours and has a beeswax base. I'm eager to give it a try on different metals etc.

    Pairing these products with Swellegant was quite easy to do and I loved the option of adding the different colour of the lava red.

    I first came across Swellegant when I took a week-long course at Red Deer College from Christi Friesen. She knows how to use that product!! I've done items with the additional patina but wanted a stark contrast between the colours for these pendants. Being able to add patina out of a bottle in different colours is a wonderful option!

    Now that Christi has added the oxide dyes I could get the beautiful blues and purples quite easily on the metal. You can see the combination in the first picture - especially the pendant on the right. I used Inca Gold (Lava Red) to give the bird the look of a Robin and then used Swellegant brass on the wings streaked with Swellegant dye oxide in violet. It gave the bird more dimension.
    The ferns were done with Gilders Paste.

    With the other pendants I noted the difference in colouring when the original pendant was a brass base instead of a silver base. Brass was more of a challenge to colour then the silver...

    Using Swellegant and Inca Gold to colour the metal was tons of fun and very satisfying. My resulting necklaces are far more fun now that they have colour!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your tips and links! All helpful!

    2. Another hint from a B'Sue Boutiques video is that you can add paint solvent to guilders paste until it's thin enough to use as a paint. (I use a craft stick to mix a small chunk of the paste with solvent in the lid) Then use a brush to paint it on metal.

    3. Thanks so much for your tip, Mary! I do have some dried up Gilder's Paste!


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