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Tips & Techniques

Get tips and techniques to become a better beader at Lima Beads.


Melting Pot Basics

Are you looking for a quick, easy, virtually no mess way to begin your adventures in enamel work? This tutorial will teach you the basics of the Melting Pot as well as provide a spring board for unleashing a new side to your creativity.

Think of it as “Art Fondue”

You don’t have a torch and kiln in your garage? You don’t have a garage? (for the city dwellers among us.. ;-) ) Well, Melting Pot to the rescue!! This tool, developed by the folks at Ranger, is the answer to creating beautiful enamel-effect metal pieces with much less risk of burning the house down! (Kate speaking, here, folks). The name of this product might have you day dreaming of bread and cheese (or chocolate strawberries!) but we’re talking about Jewelry Art, not Food Art. The Melting Pot is an electrical driven heating device that allows you to melt Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE, pronounced “YouT-ee”) and Embossing Powders and apply classy bursts of color to your metal. You can also cast a mold in the “enamel” and make your own enameled beads and charms! See below for a video tutorial on how to do each of these. I bet you can come up with even more creative applications for the Melting Pot (beeswax candles, anyone?)– and all from the comfort of your kitchen table!

The Basics

Out of the box, the Melting Pot tool comes with the heating base, a lid, a spatula (again, not for food!), and an instruction manual. OK, so we won’t get too bogged down in the specifics, since that manual will give you step-by-step instruction on how to operate, but you’ve got to get an idea of what is possible, right? That’s where we come in. You’ll need some additional components to really get the most out of this tool, especially to use it to pursue all of your enamel adventures.

Things to consider

  • Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE): these little canisters contain specially formulated large particle embossing powder that when heated, melt into a liquid and then are able to fuse to metal, glass, or ceramics.
  • Embossing Powders: can be used just like the UTEE to melt down and then embellish your piece with color. Use with UTEE for a glossy finish. Use with slow-drying inks to create an embossed stamp.
  • Heat It Inks: these are inks specially designed to withstand the heat of the Melting Pot. Even under extreme heat, the colors stay true, unlike alcohol inks. With these little droppers, you can color the white or clear UTEE. Mix it evenly for solid color, or drop and swirl gently for a more tie-dyed look.
  • Project Pan: this extra project pan is great for melting wax, glue, soap, candy, and for curing polymer clay. (Candy!? I guess so!) Because UTEE powder is basically little bits of glass, it’s probably best to keep the trays separate, one for things like wax or soap, and one for your straight-up enameling projects.
  • Project Craft Sheets: these are a must– just watch the first video here where Ali demonstrates applying enamel to a metal filigree. The craft sheet is non-stick and stand up to the heat, so when you’re melting all your UTEE and then you want to coat a piece of metal, your metal won’t melt into the project pan. Plus, these guys are reusable, too. So bam! Bang for your buck!
  • Mold-n-Pour putty: this two-part molding putty allows you to make your own molds, pour UTEE in there, and volia! You’ve got a 3D enamel wonder! Ali demonstrates this technique in the second video below when she makes a replica of her grandmother’s cameo.
  • Perfect Pearls Pigment Powder: easily brush this powder on to add a layer of pearlsescent effects to your project. In fact, you can mix in with watercolors, inks, or acrylic paints, besides UTEE and embossing powders.

Let’s get started!

Coloring your metal pieces

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This is one step in the process… check out this necklace design using the piece from this video!

Casting a three-dimensional object

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Some great tips gathered along the way, eh? Here’s a few more:

  1. Air bubble reduction: Stirring can create air bubbles in your UTEE. To prevent this, either don’t stir, or stir very gently. If all else fails, using your Heat It craft tool will provide a heating (melting) element for the top of the UTEE and melt it all back into place!
  2. UTEE use: A little goes a long way in most cases, but the great part about using these with the Melting Pot– if any extra cools down and dries without being part of your final product, you can save the dried bits and re-melt them for next time! No waste!
  3. A watched pot never boils: Use the Melting Pot’s lid to speed up the heat up. It’s fun to watch, the first time, when all the little specks melt into an oozy liquid, but as you continue to create, you’ll appreciate puttin’ a lid on it and cutting the wait time down. (In the video, we fast-forwarded a good 10 minutes of heat-up-wait-time.) It’s not a great idea to leave your Melting Pot plugged in, on, and unattended all at the same time, so…embrace the wait. Or attempt to speed it up! :-)
  4. The UTEE is acid free. What more can you ask for, really? But at the end of the day, it’s little plastic-resin bits melted into a big plastic-resin bit. We do not recommend allowing children to play with this unsupervised. We’d also recommend steering clear of eating the enamel.


Designs using this Technique:

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Asia
    Asia says:

    I was thinking about an enamel project for this summer, maybe I should start with this!

  2. Peaceful Beader
    Peaceful Beader says:

    Oh! the possibilities! I can’t wait to try this!

  3. Cheryl Black Tag Jewelry
    Cheryl Black Tag Jewelry says:

    I just watched the UTEE videos and now I want all of it. I am so bad, but fun…

  4. Kate
    Kate says:

    yes, watch out– it’s addictive. ;-)

  5. Elis Mom
    Elis Mom says:

    That’s pretty cool! Do you think one could achieve the same effect with an electric skillet set to 350 degrees?

  6. Cheryl Black Tag Jewelry
    Cheryl Black Tag Jewelry says:

    What is the different colors in the two packages of the ink?

  7. Linny May
    Linny May says:

    OH I want this soooo badly , and Cheryl, If your talking about the Heat it ink , One pacage is called “Brilant Gems” & it includes Red,Yellow & Blue. However I’m sure that the colors have fancier names because the other pack is called “Organic Gems” and the colors include jade,coral,&turquoise. hope that helps , however you’d think they’d be more discriptive on this site … anyway i can’t wait to get this , the only thing is the craft stores here carry theUTEE and the melting pot , and or course the stores always carry embossing powders , and the mold n pour and the pearl powders…however they never have the heat it inks in any of the craft stores , or the melting pan , i guess i’ll get that stuff on here !

  8. Kate
    Kate says:

    The Brilliant Gem inks come in Garnet, Citrine, & Sapphire while the Organic Gem inks come in Jade, Coral, Turquoise. Expect to see a swatch of these colors posted momentarily. Thanks!

  9. Cheryl Black Tag Jewelry
    Cheryl Black Tag Jewelry says:

    Thanks Kate. And Linny I find this site has better prices unless you have 1/2 off coupons.

  10. Linny May
    Linny May says:

    yes cheryl i’ve found that to be true , i dont have much of a choice because our stores dont carry anything but what i mentoned and i did look around and here has been the most resonsably priced and with she crossword puzzle sale going on and i plan on buying things anyway why not get the last 2 things i need to use the UTEE

  11. No Photo
    Kansas c says:

    where are all the eggs i’v been on here alday today and havent found not evon one egg are thay all gone?

  12. Celine B
    Celine B says:

    This has been on my list of new media I want to learn for so long I guess I will watch the videos. LOL

  13. No Photo
    V Delmotte says:

    can the powders be used with polymer clay?

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