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 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...
How do I add pearls to my metal clay creations?
Adding pearls, which can't be fired in place, is a simple process but requires certain rules to be followed. This posting from Pam East on the Yahoo! Metal Clay group outlines that process....
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 turn a dried out lump into metal clay I can use?
If it's just dried lumps, break or chop it into the smallest pieces you can, add a little water and mix. Be careful not to over water or you'll get slip. Put it in cling film or Saran Wrap, let sit for a few hours or overnight, knead it through the plastic and add more water. Keep kneading, adding water and/or drying until you get the desired consistency. ...
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. ...
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. ...
How do I get small clay pieces to stick to a larger piece?
You should always use slip or water to stick two pieces of clay together. Although fresh damp clay may stick together, to be sure, you need to use water or slip between them. ...
What is slip?
Slip is a watered down version of metal clay. You can buy slip or paste directly from the suppliers or make your own by adding water to a small lump of clay, filings or dried out clay. Slip can be used to attach two pieces of metal clay together, fill in small cracks or painted onto leaves, flowers, pods etc to make unique designs....
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 I use titanium with metal clay?
Holly Gage has a great tutorial for combining titanium with metal clay....