How Do You Mix Iron Oxide For Pottery?

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Iron oxide is a crucial component in the pottery-making process. Although the use of it depends on an individual’s crafting style, one can always experiment and make the best out of it to create some unique textures and colors. As is known, iron oxide is generally used by pottery artists to impart beautiful effects, textures, and colors that range from brown to red and from green to yellow depending on the firing temperature and mixing ratio. In this blog, we will learn all about the right ways to mix iron oxide for your pottery work. So, without further ado, let us get started!

Steps To Mix Iron Oxide For Pottery: The Right Way

If you are new to the world of pottery, it is crucial to mix iron oxide the right way to get the best results. So, how would you get started? Let us narrow down the steps involved in mixing iron oxide the right way!

1. Determine The Type Of Iron Oxide You Need:

Yes, you heard that right. Iron oxide has different forms with varying properties and colors. So, you need to pick the right one depending on your project’s needs. The ones that pottery artists commonly use are Fe3O4 or black iron oxide and Fe2O3 or red iron oxide. Depending on the desired texture effect or the intended glazing effect, you can pick the color that works best for you.

Remember, the black and red iron oxide won’t necessarily turn black or red. The final color you get would vary depending on the temperature it is fired in and the ratio in which it is mixed with the clay or water. So, make sure you test out the iron oxide to determine the color it produces after the final firing.

2. Use Mandatory Safety Gear:

While iron oxide is considered mostly safe for use, it is important to use the mandatory safety gears to ensure you are safe during the crafting process. In most cases, iron oxide comes in a fine powdered form that can enter your airways when you are pouring it out for your project. So, it is important to prioritize safety by wearing safety goggles, using dust masks, and wearing gloves to protect yourself from accidental inhalation or contact with iron oxide.

3. Always Start Small:

Even if you have a big batch of clay or iron oxide available with you, it is important to always start small when using iron oxide the first time. Start by mixing a small amount of iron oxide for your text batch. This will allow you better control over how the final color and texture turn out. You can get better output with this without the need to waste your expensive product.

4. Always Use Clean Containers For Mixing:

When mixing iron oxide into your clay or using it as a glaze, it is important to do so on a clean surface or use clean containers to do that. Any type of contaminant that makes its way into the iron oxide mix can create a big difference when it comes to determining the final result. However, you can surely mix other add-ons to your iron oxide to produce a range of colors that include:

  • Cobalt Oxide- It produces a varying range of blue shades when mixed with iron oxide including everything between light blue and dark cobalt blue.
  • Chromium Oxide- the addition of chromium oxide to iron oxide helps impart a greenish hue to the pottery work. However, the final ratio varies depending on the ratio of these two oxides.
  • Copper Oxide- If you aim to achieve a beautiful greenish or turquoise hue, mixing copper oxide with iron oxide works great.
  • Manganese Dioxide- This compound, when mixed with iron oxide, tends to produce a brownish color post-firing.
  • Vanadium Pentoxide- When you combine vanadium pentoxide with iron oxide, it produces a range of colors that include green, yellow, as well as brown.
  • Titanium Dioxide- If you are a fan of yellow or tan shades, mixing iron oxide with tin oxide produces spectacular results.
  • Tin Oxide- When you mix tin oxide with iron oxide, it produces a beautiful yellowish hue that adds to the beauty of the artwork while keeping it all natural.

5. Always Weigh The Amount of Iron Oxide You Use:

A digital scale can come in very handy when you are working in batches. When working with iron oxide, the amount you use in the mixture plays a crucial role. For example, if you use 10 percent iron oxide in the glaze of your choice, the final color can vary from the color that comes with using 20 or 30 percent.

So, it is always important to weigh your iron oxide and use it appropriately in your clay. This works well especially if you plan on working in batches. Using digital scales will help you get uniform results regardless of your batch size. A great option to try out is the Fuzion Digital Scale which comes with 2 trays and is perfect for measuring in small units. Packed with smart functions and a compact design, this digital scale is also light in weight, yet durable.

6. Decide Your Glaze Or Water Medium:

The right way to use iron oxide is to mix it with water or a glazing medium that helps create a particularly consistent suspension. The amount of glaze medium or water you add to create this mixture will depend entirely on the final color or texture you wish to achieve. However, it is important to add the water or glazing solution slowly with a continuous stirring action to avoid lumping issues. This helps achieve a smooth mixture and ensures even distribution when applied to the clay.

7. Always Sieve The Mixture:

Even if it is commercial iron oxide, it can carry some form of contaminants that can make it into your final mixture. So, you must pass the powdered iron oxide through a fine sieve to get rid of any possible impurities or lumps. This gives your clay work a uniform texture and color.


Keep in mind that you should always keep a record of your mixing process to ensure that you get uniform results each time you mix. If possible try to stick to one brand of iron oxide to get more homogenous results. Switching between brands can also affect the outcome of your project. So, always keep this in mind before you start the iron oxide mixing process for your pottery work.

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