metal clay, art clay, pmc, bronze clay, copper clay, steel clay
FAQ HomeFAQAsk us a QuestionSave your Favorites
Metal Clay Academy Excellence in Art Clay and Precious Metal Clay PMC
Search Advanced Search
Categories
Beginners (49)
Advanced (14)
Glass (2)
Hollow Forms (1)
Patina and Colours (8)
Stones (8)
Technical (30)
Training (2)
Firing (9)
Finishing (10)
Business (3)
Money saving tips (3)
Search
Advanced Search
FAQs
Search our FAQ to find resolutions to common issues.
How do I remove enamel from my silver clay piece?

You need to ask yourself some questions before attempting to de-enamel the piece. De-enameling is NOT without risks. Did the enamel come out really badly (as in pitted, burnt, bubbled.) or is it just that you didn't get exactly what you were expecting? If it's the latter, my advice is "Learn to love what you got".

Enameling is a constant source of surprises and "design opportunities" (as opposed to "Mistakes"). It's a good idea to embrace the unexpected. Remember, others looking at the piece won't know what was in your head when you made it and will judge it differently than you will. We often focus on "what we didn't get" and lose sight of some of the beautiful things we DID get because of that.

Here's the thing with De-enameling. It's not a cost-free eraser. It's not like you can keep applying enamel and taking it off until it's perfect with no side-effects. When I put the de-enameling section in my book Enameling on Metal Clay: Innovative Jewelry Projects, I did so thinking it was understood that de-enameling is a course of last resort, something to do when the alternative is tossing the piece in the recycle bin; but now I'm finding people are using it if they are only slightly less than satisfied with their results and that wasn't how it was intended.

Once you de-enamel a piece the surface may become coarse and pitted. Also,
attempts to re-enamel may result in the enamel pulling or failing to adhere to the silver. In order to improve re-enameling results, the piece should be completely re-fired without enamel using a high temp firing sequence (1600 for 10 minutes or so). If any black marks appear after this firing, try removing them with a wire brush and/or pickling the piece. If neither of those methods work, hit it with the de-enameling formula again and refire it again. The piece must be clean and free of both enamel and the de-enameling agent before attempting to re-enamel it. Once it's clean it needs to be well burnished. Tumbling for a minimum of 2 hours is a good choice. If you are enameling smooth areas, get in there with a burnisher too.

Here's the instructions for de-enameling:

Mix equal parts table salt and Cream of Tartar. Add just enough water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the enamel, coating it very thickly. Put the piece on an old piece of sheet mica (you won't be reusing this mica for enameling. Keep it aside for de-enameling only) and place it in the kiln at 1450 for 2 minutes. The mixture will burn, smoke and blacken. After you pull it out of the kiln, while it's still glowing hot, drop it into a bucket of cold water. Use a wire brush to remove the de-enameling residue. If the enamel is very thick you may have to repeat this procedure more than once.


Print  Email  Save  Comments  Notify Me  Delete from Favorites 
Article ID: 10068 Article Created: 07-25-2008 17:05 PM

How well did this article answer your question? 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

Most Recently Viewed Articles
How do I remove enamel from my silver clay piece?
Pam East's book Enameling on Metal Clay: Innovative Jewelry Projects outlines this process. Here Pam gives some basic information to consider....
How can I keep the patina on my jewellery?
Liver of Sulphur can produce a beautiful patina on silver but it changes over time. This short article talks about this and offers some suggestions for how to preserve the patina. ...
What is PMC?
Precious Metal Clay (PMC) consists of microscopic particles of silver or gold suspended in an organic binder to create a pliable material with a consistency similar to modeling clay. PMC can be worked in the fingers and with simple tools to create a vast range of forms and surfaces unobtainable or laborious with traditional metalwork techniques. When it is heated to a high temperature, the binder burns away and the metal particles fuse to form solid metal that can be sanded, soldered, colored and polished like conventional material.    From the Mitsubishi Materials website...
How do I find out where to put the holes on a pendant to make it balance right?
Unusual shaped pendants can be difficult to hang so this article by Lorrene Davis gives a simple technique for placing the hole or bail so the pendant hangs as you want it to....
Is there any such thing as Platinum Metal Clay?
Mitsubishi made PMC in platinum for a while but it was discontinued....
What is the process for firing Copper clay with Dichroic glass?
The original copper clay (Copprclay or Hadar's clay) that needs to be fired in carbon can't really be combined with glass in one firing. The glass would pick up the carbon during firing . You could design something that allowed you to connect the glass element after the initial firing, like a traditional prong setting.  There are several reasons why Art Clay Copper Clay or Hadar\'s Quick Fire Copper Clay won\'t work with glass. It needs to be fired at a high temperature so the glass would probably liquify too much. Also the Art Clay Copper works best if you put it in a hot kiln so this would crack the glass due to thermal shock. After firing, it has to be dropped into cold water, another reason why it can\'t be used with glass. Question courtesy of Susan Potter...
Polishing
Tip on how to get a tumble polished finish without buying a tumbler....
How do I use Aura 22?
Adding gold to your metal clay work can be achieved in a number of ways. You can add gold foil using the Keum Boo process. You can also use Aura 22 or gold paste. This article contains the processes used for adding Aura 22 from three experienced metal clay artists and teachers - Pam East, "Sarasota Sarah" Triton and Mary Ellin D'Agostino....
How do I get the brushed finish look achieved by Gordon Uyehara?
Gordon Uyehara's work is much admired for its attention to detail and finish. This article was written by Gordon as a response to a question on the Metal Clay Yahoo! Group. Learn how Gordon achieves his distinctive results. ...
Top Tips for Paste
Always stir the paste with a plastic or metal spatula, never with the brush. If you're making paste from scratch, use the spatula on a flat surface, like a ceramic tile or piece of glass or plastic. Squash the lump of clay and add distilled water slowly, working this into the clay bit by bit. Time spent bringing the paste to the right consistency slowly will pay off with smooth paste. ...