How to make your pottery work look a marvelous one? Simple, you only need to add some glaze onto it, and see the magic. Adding a glaze to your pottery gives completion to your piece of art. The glaze is applied onto the pot like a coating to provide it with the look and color of your choice. Glazing is done onto the surface of a pottery work not only to give it a beautiful look but also to increase the longevity of the pot and give it a waterproof coating that ensures the product’s long life. Glazing enables the earthenware pots to become capable of holding liquids by sealing the pores in it.
Glazing requires several ingredients to get mixed first, and then the application is made onto the surface of the pot. After that, the pot is placed into the kiln to lock the glaze on it. There are no limits or particular types of glazing; every time you do something innovative, it becomes a new type. Also, there are not a few numbers of techniques; instead, glazing is done in plenty of ways and procedures, and there is no hard and fast rule about it.
Nowadays, readymade glazes are also available in the market. But making your own pottery glaze is always a better idea. Why is it so?
- You can have all your control over it. If you have created your own pottery, then you must have some plans about the glazing that can be applied to it. Making your own glaze gives you the freedom to decide exactly how much gloss or matte finish you want to use on your pottery. Also, the color and design of glazing you choose to put onto the surface makes your pottery piece a unique one.
- Moreover, budget-friendliness is also a factor. Making your own glaze allows you to do your glazing at a very cheaper rate, which is quite affordable and also brings authenticity to your work.
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the essential tricks and tips that you can apply while glazing your own pottery work to avoid problems or mistakes that may ruin your entire work. You only need to be conscious of a few simple steps, and you’re ready to rock the art. Here, we are going to tell how to apply glaze on pottery.
How to glaze your pottery?
Before making your own pottery glaze, you need to have some ingredients and mix them up properly to get a consistent glazing mixture. Here in the following table, we have listed all the necessary components along with its standard measurements to form a pottery glaze.
|Calcium borate frit||200|
Now, as you have gathered the said ingredients, let’s start preparing the glaze. The following steps describe the process of making your own pottery glaze.
- Mix all the ingredients into a fine mixture along with 2 liters of water and whisk them evenly into a big bucket to avoid the creation of dust.
- You can apply more water to give the mixture a creamy and milky consistency.
- Take another empty bucket and place a sieve onto it. Make your glaze mixture pass through the sieve evenly to avoid lump formation.
- Let the mixture set aside for 24 hours before you use it.
- Before using it, whisk the mixture again and apply the glaze onto your pot using a brush or by pouring it evenly onto your pot.
- Place your pot carefully inside the kiln.
That is how you can make your own pottery glaze to give your creation a unique appearance. There are many other ways of glazing that you can use rather than the mentioned one. However, not only the ingredients and techniques matter here, but also, there are some tricks that you need to follow to lower the chances of errors and get better results every time you glaze.
Just take an ordinary piece and add some glaze onto it to create an extraordinary artwork. Let’s proceed to the tips and tricks that you may follow to get the best results ever.
Choose the kind of glaze that goes with your clay
Before proceeding further for your glazing work, make sure you have chosen a compatible glaze for your clay. Choosing a different type of glaze that doesn’t go at all with your clay may lead to glazing related problems such as cracking, crazing, and bubbling of your clay. And definitely, no one would want their result to turn out like this. The firing temperature of your clay needs to get along with the firing temperature of your glaze. This matching is vital for preventing those glaze related issues. So, make a study about the firing temperature for both your clay and glaze before choosing the glazing mixture.
Do cleaning and sanding of your earthenware before applying glaze
Smoothening the surface of earthenware is essential. A nice and smooth surface allows your glaze to spread onto it in a fine and even way, which prevents the formation of bubbles or cracking. Use sandpaper to scrape the surface of your earthenware and get rid of the bumps and sharp edges from the body of your pot. Make it a smooth surface.
Not only the smoothening of your pot is enough for glazing, make sure that the pot you’re going to work with is clean. Take a sponge or fine fabric and dip it into the water, and then go on by applying it onto the pot and clean it properly. Especially after sanding, you need to get rid of the extra dust on the pot for better glazing results. Avoid dipping your pottery into water or placing it directly under running water, as it is not so good for the potteries being moistured much while putting it into the kiln. Rather, sponge it adequately to make your pottery get dried faster and easily. A clean surface helps in sticking of the glaze properly.
Mixing of your glaze properly is essential
All the ingredients of your glaze should be mixed appropriately. Whisk it continuously to make sure there are no lumps, bubbles, or crystals. Either whisk it by your hands, or you can use some electric mixer with a drill attachment to get rid of all the lumps. Then, you need to make it pass through a sieve by placing it on a bucket. Make sure there’s a nice creamy and milky thickness before you apply the glaze onto the pottery. Perfect consistency leads to a better glazing result. Any debris or particles present in your glazing may ruin the entire work. So, be careful about it and whisk it the more you can.
Choose the right tools to apply your glaze
Your glazing remains incomplete and doesn’t achieve the fine finishing if you don’t use proper tools. There are some corners and edges that you can’t reach without using any pin-point or thin tools, especially when working with a complicatedly designed piece. So, consider some tools first.
Also, to achieve appropriate finishing, effects, designs, and blending of multiple glazing to create some artistic pottery works, you need the help of proper tools and equipment. Here is a list of tools that you need for various purposes.
Purpose of use
|Jiffy mixers||To mix the glaze mixture properly.|
|Glaze sprayer||To create a beautiful and even effect of glazing by spraying.|
|Dust masks||To protect yourself from dust while sanding.|
|Sandpapers||To smooth the surfaces and edges of the potteries.|
|Sieve||For sieving the glaze to get rid of lumps, bubbles, and crystals.|
|Brushes||For applying the glaze.|
|Metal scrapper||For scraping off the extra glaze.|
|Tongs||To control the glaze dipping|
Choosing the right type of brush helps in covering all the places according to the requirements. For example, a hake brush can help you in covering the areas of your pot quickly and evenly with smoother work experience. So, use the right type of brushes as per the need of areas. Also, for the perfect application of glaze onto your pottery, you can shop the best-quality brushes like the Duncan Ceramics 5 Piece Economy Ceramic Brush Set BB109. However, make sure whatever brush you use, it is fully loaded with glaze to avoid the streaking of glazes. Let the glaze flow onto your pottery for a beautiful finish.
A handheld rotary tool helps in grinding the melted down or too much thick glaze. Also, it helps in fixing the sharp edges of your pot before glazing. Scraping tools help in scraping off the unwanted glazing that you want to get rid of. Just use a metal scraper and scrape off the glazing that may hamper the beauty of your pottery.
Handle your pottery with care after bisque firing
A proper kind of bisque firing of your pottery before the application of glazing helps in appropriate adherence of the glaze onto the surface. Bisque firing your clay at a cone of 04-06 helps in eliminating all the unwanted gases from the clay. So, try to bisque fire your clay before applying glaze onto it.
After bisque firing, the pottery needs to be treated carefully. Oils or moisture from your hand can leave stickiness onto the surface that prevents the glaze from adhering onto your pottery evenly. Use a pair of disposable gloves during the process to avoid various problems for a beautiful and smooth appearance. Such uneven spots make your pottery look cheap. So, it’s crucial for your pottery to handle with care post bisque firing.
Changing the direction of application of the glaze with every coating is a better option
For the glazing that requires multiple times of coating to get the perfect finishing, you should opt for the change of direction with each application of the glaze. Change the brush strokes with every coat you apply. If you initially start doing it in a vertical direction, then opt for horizontal direction for the next coating and probably diagonal direction for the next-to-next coat. In this way, the thickness of the glazing spreads onto the surface of your pottery evenly. Too much thickness at one place and uneven thinner layers at other places might lead to cracking or other such problems. Moreover, it doesn’t look good too. So, keep changing the direction with every application of the glaze.
Dry each coating properly
In the case of multiple layers of coating, allow every coat that you apply to dry up properly. Give some time after applying a layer. If the coat feels too cold to touch, then it means it is still wet from inside. So, wait for some more time. Once it’s totally dry, opt for the next coating. Applying another coating without properly drying the pottery leads to the messiness of your work and leaves uneven spots and thickness on the surface. Also, it prevents adhering to the glazing properly onto your pottery. So, make sure every coating is dry first, and only for the next one.
Start with glazing the inside of your pot first
Proceed with your work systematically. Smart work helps in reducing your labor and gives you the perfect result that you want to achieve. While you start with your glazing work with the help of brushing or pouring technique, glaze the inside part of your pottery first. Because you would not want to ruin the outside glazing by touching it and leaving unwanted spots onto it. So, start with the inside and gradually glaze the outer parts to avoid messiness or spots for a beautiful, neat, and clean result.
Try to use one type of glaze at a time
If you are planning to give your pottery, multiple glazing, then try to work with one glaze at a time, and after the firing and drying of it, opt for the next one. Sometimes, you may use multiple glazes simultaneously to save time, but it leads to some problems. Let one glaze sit onto the surface of your pottery first, and after that, start drying and firing it. Then, apply the next glaze. Also, you should keep in mind that your glazes can get mixed if you don’t fire one by one in case of multiple glazing. So, be careful about it.
Be quite careful while pouring the glaze
You need to be careful enough while pouring the glaze onto the surface of your pottery. Try to move your pottery in a rotating direction while pouring the glaze to make sure it sits onto the surface in an even way. Avoid the overlapping of glaze while pouring on the outside of your pottery. If that happens, wait for some time to let your glaze dry and once it has dried up, scrape off or sand off the extra glazing with the help of sandpaper, and you will be good to go for performing furthermore procedures.
Check the thickness before applying the glaze
The thickness of your glaze plays a vital role in giving the desired results. The thickness or consistency of your glazing must be a perfect one. Too much thick glazing doesn’t flow on the surface of your pottery and takes time to get dried, whereas too thin layer won’t stick on the surface properly. So, consistency should not be too thick or too thin; it should be a creamy one. The creamy thickness spreads evenly and makes your glazing work easier.
Pay extra attention while dipping
While dipping your pottery into the glaze, make sure it is submerged completely, and there’s no plopping or splattering, and the sides and edges of the pottery can’t touch or hit the vessel. You may use dipping tools like the Actopus Dipping Tongs Glazing Tools for Pottery Ceramic Polymer Clay Glaze; it can help you to get smoother work experience while glaze dipping, and make your job easier.
Also, be careful enough about the dipping time. Do not leave your pottery to stay dipped into the glaze for a long time. Few seconds are enough for dipping. You may adjust the dipping time as per the thickness of the glazing you want. Dip for few more seconds to get a thicker layer.
Dry your pottery before putting it into the kiln
It is essential to dry the coatings of glazing properly before placing your pottery into the oven. Since glazing doesn’t take much time to get dried, it is a fast process. So, you can leave your pottery at the room temperature. After some time, touch the pottery to check if the surface of the pot is cold. The cold surface indicates wetness inside the pottery. So, let it sit for some more time. As your kiln doesn’t like any moisture, make the moisture evaporate from your pottery before you put it inside the kiln.
No work is complete without proper techniques and tricks. Though there are no routine-bound techniques or rules for glazing, it’s better to use some hacks to obtain the best results. The tips mentioned in this article will make your work easier, and the result will turn out to be an appealing one. Keep experimenting and keep glazing your pottery to create extraordinary and aesthetically beautiful and unique pieces. Happy sculpting!