How Many Coats of Glaze Should Go On My Pottery?

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Pottery is one big, never-ending learning process. In pottery, there are quite a few tricks and wonders ever potter has to master. From throwing at the wheel to drying down to glazing and firing; there are top tier skills and secrets you need to know before you are a master at pottery. Today, we are going to be talking about glazes. If you have been following this blog, the glaze shouldn’t be a new thing for you. Glaze is used to decorate, preserve, and strengthen pottery pieces. It is also a way of preserving the heritage and history of cultures. For example, Poland is widely known for its Polish pottery which is attributed to a white underglaze and a blue coating. Or vice versa.

Glaze is essential in pottery but what is more important is knowing your glazes. There are different types of glazes and also different coats of glaze. Today we are going to be talking specifically on the various Coats of glaze that should be used on your pottery and how it can be applied. Also, there will be a segment for the techniques you can use to glaze your pottery. Without wasting time, let’s dive into the different coats of glaze available.

 

TYPES (COATS) OF GLAZE

There are specifically two types of glaze:

  1. Underglaze
  2. Overglaze

UNDERGLAZE

According to Wikipedia, Underglaze is a method of decorating pottery in which painted decoration is applied to the surface before it is covered with a transparent ceramic glaze and fired in a kiln. Because the glaze subsequently covers it, such decoration is completely durable, and it also allows the production of pottery with a surface that has a uniform sheen. An underglaze is mostly used in the pottery designing process to make glossy and beautiful designs on the fired pottery. Underglazes contain metal oxides that react with the transparent ceramic glaze on the potter’s piece to form a range of colors. `Underglazes allows you to make a limitless design on your pottery, as the underglazes come in a range of different forms.

OVERGLAZE

Overglaze is also known as “on-glaze”. This is decoration or second coat of glaze applied to glazed pottery. Overglazes are used for finishing the surface of the pottery. Overglazes are an accent product that is applied over a fired glaze and then kiln-fired to a relatively low temperature. They are sometimes referred to as “third fire” glazes. It is the second coat of glaze being applied to pottery (it is obvious overglaze comes after underglaze). There are various kinds of Overglazes and each kind has its special effect on the pottery piece. For instance, a matte glaze surface will yield a soft matte Overglaze, while a gloss glaze will yield a bright glossy and shiny Overglaze. The colored decoration is applied on top of the already fired and glazed surface and then fixed in a second firing at a relatively low temperature.

 

 

HOW MANY COATS OF GLAZE SHOULD GO ON MY POTTERY PIECE?

Like earlier said, glazes strengthen the clay body of ceramics, the more glaze you add to your piece, the stronger it is. Generally, there are no rules about the number of glaze coats to add to your fired pottery. There are pottery pieces with as much as 6 coats of glazes and there are ceramics with just one coat of glaze. For a standard pottery piece, two coats of glaze are enough; one underglaze and an overglaze is enough to make your pottery look amazing. You should consider the clay body of the piece you are about to glaze and the required temperature for the glazes. Note that excessive glazing can ruin the beauty of your ceramic.

 

WAYS TO GLAZE YOUR POTTERY

METHOD OF GLAZING RATINGS (OUT OF 10)
Brushing 7. Brushing is not complex as other methods and there are limited complications.
Spraying 6. It is recommended if you are applying Overglazes
Dipping 9. This is the most popular method of applying glaze on pottery although it might be a little bit complicated
Pouring 5. This is mostly done for the interior of the glaze. If not careful, you might ruin your project.

 

1.    Brush the glaze on your pottery

Many ready-to-use glazes that are being sold. You can order yours by clicking here.

These glazes tend to be much thicker. Some are a little less fluid than heavy cream, while others are so thick as to be pudding-like. Make sure you read the instructions carefully, as they will tell you how many coats to use for your desired color. Since these glazes are thick, it is easier to brush on your piece. Synthetic sables are the best brushes for brushing glaze on a pottery piece. They are durable and be reused anytime. Kindly wash your brushes fully after using them on a piece to prevent bacteria.

 

2.    Spray Glaze on Pottery

Spray guns and airbrushes are two tools potters use to spray underglazes and overglazes onto their pottery. Spraying is more recommended when applying overglazes on a piece. Care should be taken on several counts when considering this option. Spraying Glaze should be done in a well-ventilated area. A NIOSH/MSHA approved face mask or respirator should be used when spraying glazes on ceramic.

 

3.    Dip pottery into the glaze

This is the most popular method of applying glaze on your pottery. The pottery is immersed in the glaze for about three seconds to six seconds. This is one of the fastest ways to glaze large quantities of ceramic pieces. It also is a good method to ensure an even glaze coat. Make sure the glaze has been prepared properly and stirred thoroughly (make sure there are no air bubbles).  I usually advise pottery beginners to get a premised glaze instead of preparing a glaze themselves as it involves some technical measurements and components.

 

4.    Pouring glaze

 

 

This is usually done along with dipping glazes. Dipping is for the exterior while pouring is for the interior. To glaze interiors, glazes can be quickly poured into the ceramic, left for three to five seconds, then quickly poured back into the glaze bucket. Glazes can also be poured over the exterior surfaces of the piece.

Whether your project is a tiny mug or a large vase, glazing is still an essential aspect of the pottery process. For a standard project, two coats of glaze will do the magic on your piece. In this article, I have talked about the two types (coats) of glaze and how they can be applied to ceramic.