How to Remove Gilt From Porcelain

Porcelain plates and fancy dinnerware often have gold edges called gilt. Unlike some applications of gilt, most porcelains have gold that is applied under the finished glaze of the porcelain. After the gold is painted on, the glaze is applied and the plate is fired in a kiln that bakes the gold into the glaze, making the gold edge durable and part of the plate. The best way to remove the gilt edge is by having the plate repainted or reglazed and refired. Mechanical means to try to remove the gilt, such as sanding, will damage the plate.

Wash your porcelain plate to remove any grease or debris.

Place your plate on a turntable. These are available in the kitchen section of most department stores.

Apply premixed food-grade porcelain overglaze to a white glazed tile. The glaze will form a glob on the tile. The white glazed tile is used as a palette for the overglaze so the artist can see the true colour of the glaze against a bright white porcelain surface. This makes it easier to select the correct colours. Use an overglaze colour that is opaque and matches your plate.

Load your paintbrush with overglaze. Most gilt is along the outer edge of the plate or bowl. Place your plate in the centre of the turntable. Turn the turntable at an even speed, holding your paint-filled paint brush lightly against the edge so the brush can coat the gilt area evenly. This will cover the gilt with the new overglaze.

Fire your plate in a kiln based on the recommendations of the glaze manufacturer and the kiln owner. Apply a second coat of overglaze after the plate has cooled if the gilt isn't covered completely.


Covering the gilt may lower the value of the plate in some cases.

Things You'll Need

  • Turntable
  • Food-grade premixed porcelain overglaze
  • White glazed tile
  • Brush
  • Kiln
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About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.