Stop Making This Mistake Using Wax Resist For Your Pottery

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Wax resist is a popular decorative option when it comes to firing your pottery piece. However, the effects can only be seen if you implement it the right way. There are several types of wax resists available for use. It can be used for both bisque ware and greenware, including latex and wax. So, what is the one major mistake that you can commit when using wax resist for pottery?


But, before you understand the mistake, you need to decode the basics.


What is a wax resist?

As a potter, you might have wondered if there is a way to prevent the glaze from entering certain portions of the pottery piece. Well, there sure is a product that can help you do just that. It is a wax-resist. Its water-based coating helps repel the glaze & prevents the color from sticking to the surface. When the piece is fired within the kiln, the wax starts to dissipate. Post complete dissipation, the surface under the wax resist is left as it was before firing.


The basic role of wax-resist is to repel color once it is brushed over the underglaze or below the glaze to create a beautiful effect. It can further be applied on the foot of the thrown pieces prior to glazing. This can be a great decoration technique. Most wax resists are tinted blue when straight from the jar. This makes it easier to see and place it accordingly over the pottery piece. However, you don’t have to worry about the colors staying as it becomes transparent during the firing process and melts off completely.


Types of Wax Resist and Effects Provided

Types of Wax Resist

Effects Provided

Carnauba Lubricity, Slip, Abrasion Resistance, and Anti-Blocking
PP Anti-Slip, Abrasion Resistance, and Anti-Blocking


Paraffin Water Repellency and Anti-Blocking


PTFE Anti-Blocking, Excellent Slip, Abrasion Resistance, and Lubricity
Amide Slip, Soft-Feeling, Sandability, and Lubricity


PE Abrasion Resistance, Slip, and Anti-Blocking




Now that you know the basics of wax-resist, what is that one mistake that you need to be careful about?


Do Not Double Coat Your Pottery Piece With Wax Resist

The first thing you need to keep in mind when using wax resist on your pottery piece is to refrain from the double coating process. Any type of wax-resist would work only with the first coat. Wax resists work in a manner that helps repel the layer on top of it. So, technically speaking, a wax-resist layer would repel another on top of it. So, applying a second coat is worthless and a complete waste of time and product.


Even if the wax-resist dries off completely, the next layer won’t stick to the base wax resist. Even if your coat is a thin one, it will successfully repel the glaze on top and create your desired effect. But, what if your coat is too thin or applied unevenly or not in the way you desired it? How would you remove it to apply a fresh layer?


It takes a couple of minutes for the wax resist to dry off. So, the best way to remove the wax resist from the pottery piece is to use a damp and clean sponge and gently wipe off the wax resist in a tapping action. Another way you can remove the wax resist is when it dries off completely.


Once wax-resist has dried off, it can become flaky and can be scraped off from the required areas. For example, you have accidentally topped a section of the pottery piece that didn’t require waxing. You can remove the same with a thin scalpel or butter knife.


Other Wax Resist Mistakes You Need To Avoid

1. Avoid applying a thick layer at the base of the pottery piece:

A common use of wax-resist, when used for pottery, is to glaze the bottom portion. Applying the wax resist on the bottom prevents any glaze on the bottom from sticking to the kiln shelf. Glazing the bottom portion of a pottery piece is a challenging aspect. Any glaze in the bottom portion has the potential to fuse with the shelf during the firing process.


However, you must refrain from applying a very thick layer on the base portion. Even a thin coating would work just as well. The key is to quickly dunk the bottom portion in the wax resist or dab the same with a sponge. This is the best and the fastest way to coat the bottom layer of the pottery piece. You can also apply wax-resist with the help of a brush, but that would be much slower. To ensure even application of the wax-resist, you need to do that in one go before it dries off.


2. Use a different brush for wax resist:

Another mistake most potters make is to mix the brush used for slipping or pottery painting for the application of wax-resist as well. This is a big blunder and can affect your work in the worst way possible. This could cause the brushes to be ruined. In most cases, the wax won’t completely come off from the brush. So, it is important to use a different brush to apply wax-resist.


Moreover, you need to clean the brushes with the help of hot water post-application of the wax resist. You can use Pro Grade Paint Brush Set that features synthetic bristles. It helps create an even finish without the need to invest a lot.



3. Not allowing your wax resist to dry:

Whether or not your wax-resist will work the right way depends on how it dries off. If the coat hasn’t dried off completely, it can affect its ability to work in repelling the glaze or tint from a certain section. So, an ideal move is to allow the wax-resist to dry out completely.


The time taken for the wax resist to dry out would vary on the thickness. To fasten the process, you can place a fan by the pottery piece or keep it in an airy space.



Wax resist is a versatile product that can be a boon for potters when used the right way. If you aren’t confident with your painting capabilities, wax-resist helps with a glitch-free decoration process. Always allow your wax resist to completely dry out while ensuring the right application consistency. As a beginner, you can go slow but keep it even.

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