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  Add to 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
What type of cores can I use to build my metal clay pieces?
Pretty much anything that's combustible and non-toxic can be used as a core to build metal clay pieces. Organic items like snacks, bread, cereal, pasta etc can be used to give support to a piece of work. ...
How do you solder onto metal clay?
This short article gives you some basic tips and hints about soldering onto metal clay. It's written by Deb Jemmott. ...
What can I do with my already fired mistakes?
Sometimes the mistakes can become a wonderful piece of work!...
How can I stop clay warping as it dries?
Metal clay can warp if you try to speed up the drying, especially if it's a thin piece....
How do I remove Liver of Sulphur patina from specific areas of my work only?
There are various ways of shining up certain bits of your work after adding a Liver of Sulphur patina. ...
What are the problems associated with quenching hot metal clay?
If you want to refire, enamel or solder on a piece of metal clay that has been quenched, you may find that moisture has got trapped in the metal. When you heat it again, especially if you heat it fast, the moisture turns to steam and may cause a blister on the surface. You need to dry the piece thoroughly if you have quenched the metal following the initial firing.It is also important to remember that you should not quench a piece which has glass or stones as part of the design. The sudden change in temperature from the firing to the cold water may cause shock and the stone or glass could be damaged or break entirely. Leave your piece to air cool, it should only take a few minutes....
How do I roll out a consistently thick slab of clay?
There are several ways of doing this. The simplest and most inexpensive way is to buy some playing cards and use these in equal piles on each side of the lump of clay as you roll it out. For instance, if you want a fairly thin piece of clay for a simple pendant or earrings, you could put a pile of three cards on each side of the clay and use these as a guide for your roller. ...
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 do I laminate PMC sheet?
Cut two identical sized pieces of PMC sheet. Lightly brush water onto one piece and immediately put the other piece on top, being careful to line up the edges. Press down gently to get as many air bubbles out as possible. If you want a completely flat laminated sheet, put something heavy on top of the piece to keep it flat while it dries....
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. ...