Powder Coating

This course is currently full. Spaces do occasionally open up so if you would like to be put on the wait list please call our office at 781-891-3854 or email [email protected]

Powder coating is an excellent way to create rich and colorful components for your artwork. Powder coat is very durable, cures quickly, and is available in an astounding array of colors. It is a polyester-based plastic coating that acts like the most chip, scratch, and drip-proof paint ever. It is commonly used on metal furniture parts, auto parts like metal wheels, and bicycle frames. It is a coating that sprays on as a powder and is then baked to a smooth liquid looking finish. It is a fast process that can generate brilliant components ready to be attached to your artwork in as little as 20 minutes. It is a great way to add color to your art jewelry, sculpture, or functional metal constructions!

In this workshop, Michael Dale Bernard will share all the DIY details about the equipment needed to set up a powder coating workstation in your own studio and the best sources for supplies. He has many tips about creating spray booths, storing and preparing powders, choosing an inexpensive curing oven, and metal preparation. Through his many years of experience he has developed several clever tricks to achieving successful, smooth, and complete surfaces on complex metal objects.

Michael will demonstrate various ways to clean and prepare metal pieces for the coating process. He will explain the mechanics of how this static-charge coating system actually works. He will discuss the importance of setting up your space to suit your movements as well as safety considerations. He will also discuss trouble-shooting strategies that can be used to fine tune results. This true understanding of the process will help participants utilize powder coating equipment with ease and confidence.

Basic spray methods will be demonstrated as well as masking off areas and striping surfaces. Sifting and stencil effects will be shown as well as tricks for "building" complex patterns through many layers of lightly fused applications. Then, Michael will discuss methods for more painterly and organic surface development through liquid application of the powder coat and intuitive "torch firing" techniques. Finally he will share ways to create illustrative designs, hand drawn details, and shading through pencil-work processes. Participants will also have the opportunity to work with various additives like glitter, pearlescent beads, metal flake, and even fusing semi-precious stones and rhinestones into the powder coat surfaces.

By making several powder coat samples and components, participants will work toward the creation of a few colorful focal components. Michael will then demonstrate several ways to incorporate these refined powder-coated elements into larger jewelry and functional constructions. There will be visual examples of bezel setting, tab setting, and prong setting possibilities. Other cold connection components such as micro bolts, rivets, and stitching materials will be provided alongside examples of their use. The goal of the workshop is for every participant to leave with several samples of powder coating techniques and at least one finished piece of jewelry or small sculpture that has successfully incorporated a powder coated color element. By work through samples and on to a constructed piece, participants will discover how they can incorporate these bold color elements into their own artwork.

If you'd like to see more of Michael's work, please visit his website michaeldalebernard.ning.com

Meet the instructor

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Michael Dale Bernard is a metals artist and educator currently living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his MFA in metalsmithing in 2007 from California State University, Long Beach. The 13 years that Michael spent in the Los Angeles art scene have clearly influenced his highly stylized artwork. The dynamic forms of urban architecture and the vibrant colors used by street artists are both visible in his jewelry. Salvaged materials, welded trellis forms, and colorful powder coated elements combine to create his lively pieces. He currently teaches Jewelry and Metals at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.


Materials & Tools

There is a materials fee for this class that includes use of all powder coating supplies during the workshop. It costs $15 and is payable upon registration.

Students should bring

Students should bring:

  • Metal samples to powder coat - some sheet metal for sifting and layer techniques (any type of metal is okay as long as it is CLEAN) and also some 3D metal forms (silverware, drawer pulls, kitchen utensils, old tools, etc.) to demonstrate powder coating's full coverage capabilities! Not too big though, as the parts will need to fit inside the toaster or kiln used for firing the powder! Michael will be bringing a variety of found metal objects as well that participants can alter, coat, and keep. Metalwerx also has base sheet metal and wire available for purchase if needed
  • A simple image stencil cut into metal or cardstock paper - We will use this for a sifting technique. Michael can help participants create this during the workshop, but if they have one prepared ahead of time they will be able to focus on the powder coating!
  • A good particulate mask or respirator. No flimsy coffee filter-looking masks! Powder coat is a fine particulate when spraying and a fume hazard when curing.

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