Design and decorate your own Silver Plate
This silver teapot is not Chinese, as it was made in Dublin, Ireland in 1819 by the silversmith James le Bass. It is part of a three-piece silver tea service and is decorated in the Chinoiserie style with Chinese figures, flowers and scenes. Chinese wares were hugely popular in the 18th- and 19th-centuries and European craftsmen copied the style to their wares to sell to willing customers.
There are three ways to hand-decorate silver:
This is where a sharp tool is used to scratch the surface of the silver. It can be done very lightly or quite deeply, depending on the effect required.
This is where tools, often used with a small hammer, are used to push the silver from the back so it stands proud on the surface.
This is where a combination of engraving and embossing is used to produce a richer and more luxurious effect.
Have a go at decorating a ‘silver’ plate with Chinese images and symbols. You can find lots of them on the internet to inspire you. It is very easy and we think you will be delighted with your results.
You will need:
- Tin foil dish. These come in packs of 6, are very reasonably priced and allow you to have more than one go.
- Pencil. Not too sharp, as it might pierce the metal.
- Pair of scissors
- Piece of cardboard, or something similar that allows the metal to stretch and protects the surface you are working on.
Trim the edge of the plate, leaving a few millimetres to form your border. Be careful as the metal is sharp once it’s been cut.
Carefully press the border down around the front of the plate. The edge of the plate will now not be too sharp.
Decide whether you want to engrave, emboss, or chase. To chase, engrave lightly from the front deeply enough so you can see the reverse image underneath.
Turn the plate over and use the pencil to push the metal through to the front in the areas of your engraving that you want to stand proud. It is almost like ‘colouring in’.
Now check the front to see if you want to add some more engraving to your image.
Enjoy experimenting with other images to complete your plate.