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Exploring the Many Applications of Powder Coating Techniques in Fine Art Metalwork

by Mary Kay Witmer


This research focused on applying powder coat paints to various metal forms in order to create a series of jewelry designs. Powder coating is a surface technique that creates colorful durable finishes on metals. This process is traditionally used on an industrial scale to coat and color large metal objects, but can easily be adapted for jewelers to create a bold finish on small metal objects. It’s approachable as a medium used in the metals classroom to create unusual, durable finishes. The materials are low cost and a better alternative to the mess of liquid paints. In the process of my experimentation I applied numerous powder coats to various metal textures, learned what this medium was capable of and defined ways I could apply powder coat to my jewelry designs.

About the Author

Mary Kay Witmer is a part-time student at Millersville University focused on developing her Jewelry design skills as well as pursuing a degree in Psychology. She has greatly expanded her knowledge of metal-smithing while studying with Becky McDonah and attended multiple metal conferences including the Society of North American Goldsmiths Annual Conference in 2015. These opportunities updated her knowledge of current artists in the field of fine art jewelry design and furthered her curiosity to work with new mediums. Particularly inspired by color applications on metal, Mary Kay produced many jewelry designs using vitreous enamels in the classroom and developed several bodies of work. She was impressed by the bold color and versatility of powder coat finishes while attending the SNAG conference in Boston. This led to her purchasing supplies and working with powder coat in the classroom. She built flat and hollow surface textures to apply powder coating to and conducted months of experiments with a variety of powder coat colors. During this experimentation, she learned what colors performed well with one another, how to apply paints, and what the mediums strengths and limits were. This experimentation caused her to produce multiple sketches in metal on various surfaces. These sketches will become the building blocks for a new series of jewelry designs and the focus of what she plans to exhibit at Made in Millersville, 2017. Witmer also hopes to develop a workshop in order to share her knowledge of applying powder coats to metals.

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