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
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. ...
How do I get an iridescent patina on metal clay?
Liver of sulphur mixed with various other things will give wonderful patina to your finished work. Katherine Palochak has a recipe for iridescent patina on Ganoksin. You can also use liver of sulphur mixed with brewed (not instant) coffee. This has been used to create some wonderful colours. Sometimes the quality of the water you use can also affect the outcome of your patina. Different minerals in the water can create some wonderful effects. ...
How can I become a supplier of metal clay?
The distribution of metal clay is controlled by the manufacturers. ...
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 can I do with my already fired mistakes?
Sometimes the mistakes can become a wonderful piece of work!...
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. ...
Where can I buy investment in the UK?
Cooksons or Walsh...
Is it better to add Liver of Sulphur patina before or after tumble polishing?
The general advice is to tumble first and add patina afterwards. But read on for more information....
How can I publicise my work?
There are a number of very simple ways to publicise your work and raise your profile as a metal clay artist....
My hollow bead has got full of shot in the tumbler. How do I get it out?
Shaking will get the shot out eventually give it to a man or a child to shake! You can put it back in the tumbler without shot in and tumble again, it will come out. Sometimes a magnet can help to get it out....