How to Glaze Your Ceramics

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How to Get a Glaze on Your Ceramics

The glaze on a ceramic item is not purely aesthetic, but also seals the surface to waterproof and strengthen it. You can find a wide selection of ceramic glazes on eBay. Before shopping, learn about the firing techniques you can use to glaze ceramics. Knowing the types of ceramic glaze finishes and ceramic glazes available allows you to choose the perfect glaze for your next creative project.

 

Learn Firing Techniques for Glazing Ceramics

Firing techniques vary and different methods affect the strength and finish of the ceramic product. These techniques typically depend on the type of kiln, temperature, and the glaze. In ceramics, artists use pyrometric cones, which bend when they absorb a certain amount of heat. Cones have approximate temperature equivalents.

 

Firing Technique

Description

Temperature

Oxidation

Possible in all kiln types

Air circulates freely throughout kiln

Metals in glaze oxidise

A range of low and high temperatures

Reduction

Fuel-burning kilns only

Restricted oxygen during firing

900 to 1000 degrees Celsius

Cone 10 to 06

Biscuit

Work fired after drying

Increases strength for glazing

Recommended for Raku

980 to 1100

Cone 07 to 03

Raku

Glaze firing in a Raku kiln

Produces interesting lustres and crackle glazes

760 to 1000

Cone 17 to 06

 

Raw glazing is the process of glazing an item without biscuit firing it first. This saves time and money, but is riskier because remaining moisture can cause a steam explosion during firing. Temperature ranges vary between glazes. Pastel colours tend to require lower temperatures than bright hues. Generally, the optimum temperature for earthenware is 950 to 1150 degrees Celsius, and for stoneware or porcelain is 1200 and 1340 degrees Celsius.

 

Choose the Type of Ceramic Glaze Finish

Glazes create various surface finishes. A gloss glaze is shiny and smooth, and it creates a highly reflective surface. A matte finish is dull and reflects little light. A satin glaze falls between these two categories and resembles an eggshell. Dead matte reflects the least light and is duller than matte. An opaque finish is transparent, and glazes come in various degrees of opacity.

 

Choose the Type of Ceramic Glaze

You can apply glaze in numerous ways, including dipping, pouring, sponging, brushing, and spraying. Glazes come in wet or pre-mixed forms as well as dry forms. Most wet glazes are low-fire glazes and are ideal for brushing, while dry glazes are for dipping and pouring. Low-fire glazes are suitable for firing at cone 06 to 04, mid-fire glazes for cone 08 to 07, and high-fire glazes for cone 10 to 09. Adding an underglaze produces consistent colour, while an overglaze adds lustre.

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