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
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)
Advanced Search
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
Tip on how to get a tumble polished finish without buying a tumbler....
What is Cubic Zirconia?
A hard and relatively inexpensive synthetic stone, created in laboratories and often cut to resemble a diamond. It is available in a variety of colours and different shapes....
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. ...
Can I use Art Clay and PMC in the same design?
As long as you use appropriate firing times and temperatures and take into account the differences in shrinkage, you can use products from both brands in a design, just as you can use different types of clay from the same brand in a design. ...
How do I weave paper type metal clay?
There is an excellent tutorial on this on Squidoo written by Margaret Schindel. ...
Where can I buy fine silver findings to use with my metal clay?
Using fine silver findings with your metal clay means you can enbed and fire them without risking fire stain or oxidisation that requires pickling after firing. Using sterling silver findings is possible but you will have to pickle them after firing. ...
Photopolymer Plates for Enamelling Textures
Pam East uses Photo-polymer plates extensively both for making custom textures and images, and for champleve enameling. She's learned a lot about photo-polymer from Maggie Bergman, Tonya Davidson and many others. She's also developed a few tricks of her own along the way. Here are a few tips that may help....
What is Bronze Clay?
Bronzclay™ was launched at the PMC Conference in July 2008. Several classes were run by Celie Fago and Hadar Jacobson prior to the conference. Both Celie and Hadar had been involved in experimenting with Bronzclay™ in collaboration with the inventor Bill Streuve. ...
How do you make hinges?
This article contains information about resources for making hinges....
Can I use a song title as a texture for my metal clay?
Copyright law differs from country to country so you need to look at the copyright law for your country. ...