Hand-cut Enameled Hearts


Enameled Hearts by Janet Crosby

I posted some steps I take to create hand-cut copper enameled hearts on Instagram over the last few weeks. Here are the photos, along with more detailed explanations, to show what is involved when making these heart charms.

I started making hearts this way for two reasons:

1) I like each piece to be unique.

2) I had a customer request for ‘bracelet charms’ and I didn’t feel that my other enameled hearts (with a large loop at the top like these) would be sturdy enough for a bracelet.

I also love how lightweight they are and, of course, all of the delicious c-o-l-o-r-s! 😍

Hand-Cut Enameled Hearts

I start the process by torch-firing my raw sheet copper. Raw copper is what you would expect when thinking about ‘copper’ — it is shiny and copper-colored like a shiny new penny.

I fire it and then dunk it in water to anneal it. This softens the metal and makes it easier to cut. And, it is a very pretty process! The copper undergoes several bursts of color before turning black. Here is a video I made of copper annealing, using a circle shape instead of a heart.

After annealing, the copper is largely black. Sometimes red. Sometimes a little copper peeking through. I don’t use a template or pattern for my hearts. I sketch out some hearts with a Sharpie to maximize the use of my copper sheet and start cutting. These hearts are sitting on top of a piece of black graphite.

After cutting and punching, I hammer them flat. I file any rough edges. After the enamel is applied, I cannot straighten or otherwise bend the pieces, since that will crack the enamel (which is a fine layer of glass). So I need to make sure that the shape is what I want it to be and that it is as flat as possible at this stage.

Heart Shapes

Here is a bunch of hearts — ready for enamel!

Fresh Cut Copper Hearts - janetcrosby.com

Mid-way through the process. The containers of colored powder are the enamels. Enamel is a very fine glass powder. I sift it on each copper piece, then into the flame it goes. This melts the glass and fuses it to the metal. I use several (7 – 9+) layers of enamel on each piece. I do this for both sides of each heart.

Enameling Process - janetcrosby.com

Here are the freshly enameled hearts. The next step is to solder a copper ring on the heart.

Enameled Hearts by Janet Crosby

Here are the hearts with copper rings. I solder them closed (seal the metal using a small torch) so that they are durable for applications such as charm bracelets.

Enameled Hearts by Janet Crosby

They also work great for necklaces.

Enameled Heart Necklace by Janet Crosby

Here is a photo from my customer who did not want name credit given, but who DID give me permission to use this photo of her lovely work — a charm bracelet and a necklace. Thank you!

Enameled Hearts Bracelet - designed by a customer (photo used with permission)

A Heart For You

Enameled heart charms are available in my shop. Click here to go straight to the heart charms. I will be adding more of these hearts and I am happy to take color requests. Please contact me to arrange a custom order.

I offer a 15% discount for orders of 10 or more charms. Free shipping for all orders in my shop over $50.00 (discount applied automatically at checkout).