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Ceramics 101

Which Type of Paint should I use?


General Guide to Using Glazes

Glazes are used almost exclusively on bisque. Occasionally, with certain techniques, you may apply glaze to greenware, but it is generally not done. The reason for this is that greenware should be fired to cone 04 and glaze to cone 06. During a greenware firing moisture and gases escape from the clay. If glaze is applied to greenware those gases and the moisture can be trapped by the liquid glaze. When the gas and moisture try to escape large bubbles, craters, etc. can be formed in the molten glaze, leaving the surface of the piece unpleasant looking and completely useless. Have patience and do the job right the first time. Fire your greenware to cone 04, apply 3 good coats of the glaze, then stilt and fire to cone 06. When your piece turns out beautifully you will be glad to took the time to do it right.

Never mix leaded and non-leaded glazes on the same ceramic piece. The difference in these two types of glazes can cause your glaze to crackle or your piece to shatter and break.

Note: Most glazes require three coats for complete coverage whether you are using opaque or semi-transparent glaze. Heavy glazers may get by with 2 coats.

Most American glaze manufacturers formulate their glazes to be applied to cone 04 bisque, and fired to cone 06.

When glazing with a non-toxic glaze you must be careful to apply each layer of glaze in a smooth even fashion. Non-toxic glaze moves very little, if at all, so any brush strokes and uneveness in the glaze will show up in your final firing. Here are a few ideas to combat this problem. Apply first coat of paint smoothly and allow to dry. Don't worry about minor flaws at this point. When dry, use the tips of your fingers to gently sand away any high spots and give a general smoothness to the entire painted area. Dust off any excess paint dust. Apply the second coat, again trying to apply as smoothly as possible. When dry, again sand away any ridges. Apply third coat and allow to dry thoroughly. If you are a light glazer you might want to apply a fourth coat. When all glazing is done use the same glaze brush to gently wash the outer layer of glaze with clean water. Do not apply so much water that you create runs or drip, just enough to smooth that final coat. When smooth quickly lift the brush so it doesn't leave more marks or ridges. If the glaze gets too wet allow it todry, then smooth with water. When dry, fire to cone 06.

Note: 1oz glaze covers approximately 30 square inches.
One 6" x 6" tile uses less than 1oz underglaze and just a bit more than one ounce glaze. One 8" x 8" tile uses almost 2oz glaze.

Page 3 - Ceramics 101

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