Pam East DeNamel™
Removing enamel is not a cost-free eraser. After de-enameling, the
surface of the metal may become coarse and pitted. If the metal was very thin,
it may warp. Before making the
decision to de-enamel a piece you should ask yourself some questions. Did
the enamel come out really badly? Is it pitted, burnt, or bubbled?
Or is it just that you didn’t get exactly what you were expecting? Maybe
the color is a bit off, or it doesn’t look quite like you envisioned it?
If the answer is in the latter category, I suggest setting it aside for
a while before jumping into enamel removal. Enameling is a constant
source of surprises and design opportunities. Embrace the
unexpected! Remember, others looking at your work won’t know what was in
your head when you made it and will judge it differently. We often focus
on what we didn’t get, and lose sight
of some of the beautiful things we did
If the piece is truly destined for the recycle bin, and nothing of value
will be lost by de-enameling it, then DeNamel™ will do the trick! Please read the section on re-enameling
before attempting to re-apply the enamel.
DeNamel™ is non-toxic.
You cannot selectively remove
enamel. You must remove all the
enamel. If your piece has counter
enamel, remove the enamel on one side, and then repeat the procedure for the
NOTE: Wear safety glasses when de-enameling. Sometimes bits of enamel fly off during the process and it’s
necessary to protect your eyes.
Tools and supplies:
- Firing rack
- Mica sheet
- Wire Brush
- Safety glasses
a spoonful of DeNamel™ into a small mixing cup.
water a few drops at a time, mixing as you go along. DeNamel™ saturates
quickly, so take care not to add too much water at once. The paste should have a “cake
frosting” like consistency.
the paste to the enamel, coating it very thickly.
the piece on a piece of sheet mica on a firing rack and place it in the
kiln at 1450°F (790°C) for 2 minutes. The mixture will burn, smoke and
your safety glasses in place, pull the piece out of the kiln and while
it’s still glowing hot, drop it into a bucket of cold water. You will hear a loud popping or cracking
sound. This is the enamel
popping off the piece and is normal. The more enamel is on the piece, the
louder this sound will be.
a wire brush to remove any remaining DeNamel™ residue. If the enamel was very thick you
may have to repeat this procedure more than once.
After de-enameling, attempts to re-enamel may result in the enamel
pulling or failing to adhere to the metal. In order to improve
re-enameling results, the piece should be completely re-fired without enamel
using a high temp firing sequence. Re-fire at 1600°F (871°C) for 10 minutes for
fine silver, and follow the manufacturer recommended firing for copper.
If any black marks appear after this firing, try removing them with a
wire brush. If that doesn’t work, repeat the de-enameling process and then
re-fire it again. The piece must be clean and free of both enamel and DeNamel™
before attempting to re-enamel it. Once it’s clean, burnish it well.
Tumbling for a minimum of 2 hours is a good choice. If you are enameling
smooth areas, use a hand burnisher as well. Clean with PreNamel™
Who is Pam East?Pam has been enameling since 1997.
She was named a Master Instructor for Art Clay Silver in 2005.
Over the years Pam has appeared on the highly acclaimed Carol Duvall Show on HGTV, and also on Jewelry Making on the DIY Network. She has written numerous articles for such magazines as Lapidary Journal, Art Jewelry Magazine, Glass-on-Metal, and Step-by-Step Beads. Writing about jewelry topics such as metal clay and enameling continues to be a big part of her life. Kalmbach publishing released Pam's first book "Enameling on Metal Clay" in 2007. Pam has also been an invited speaker, giving classes and lectures at such gatherings as the Enamellist Society Biennial Conference, the Metal Clay World Conference, and the Pan-European Metal Clay Conference.