How to Make Pottery Glaze

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Respirator
  • Safety goggles
  • 5-gallon container with sealable lid
  • Ground pumice stone
  • Rottenstone
  • Antacid tablets
  • Talcum powder
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Cat litter
  • Antacid
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Cleanser
  • Toothpaste
  • Medicated powder
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Sunscreen with titanium dioxide
  • Liquid paper
  • Two 5-gallon plastic buckets
  • Custer feldspar
  • Whiting
  • Silica
  • Kaolin
  • Zinc oxide
  • Copper carbonate
  • White cement
  • Drill with paddle attachment

How to Make Pottery Glaze. The Egyptians added ashes to pottery to generate a glossy sheen. Make your own pottery glaze by using common household goods. Modern pottery makers may want to experiment with the variance in kilns and chemicals. Tweak recipes for ceramic glaze to express your creativity.

Dry Glaze

Choose a container that is two times larger than the total amount of finished glaze. Select a 1- to 5-gallon container. If you're making 1/2 gallon of glaze, use a 1-gallon container. This allows enough room to coat the pottery.

Adhere masking tape 1/4 to 1/2 inches from the bottom of the pottery. Placing the tape around the base of the piece helps later on during the firing process.

Pay attention to the cone number. There are a variety of kilns for firing pottery. Each uses the cone number as an indicator for the kiln type. Unless experimenting, use the specific type recommended.

Create a caramel dry glaze (cone 10) by combining 50 grams of pumice stone and 50 grams of rottenstone. For a satin green dry glaze (cone 10) replace the rottenstone with 14 seltzer tablets and 10 grams of talcum powder to the 50 grams of ground pumice. Grind the solid materials into a powder form

Measure dry ingredients one at a time. Pour them into the mixing container. To produce the best results, weigh all chemicals accurately.

Secure the sealable lid on the bucket. Place the container on its side and gently roll it on the floor for 1 to 2 minutes. Allow the dust to settle for at least 1 minute. Remove the lid after the dust has settled.

Apply the glaze to the pottery by dipping the piece into the dry glaze.

Household Substitutes

Use cat litter for the clay component in pottery glaze. Purchase a bag of clumping litter for the best results.

Substitute the calcium carbonate with generic antacids. Name brand antacids contain additional chemicals such as magnesium carbonate. Visit the hardware store and purchase the powder used to make the white lines on a football field, also known as calcium carbonate.

Locate pumice or rottenstone that contains feldspar, another significant ingredient in pottery glaze. Find ground pumice stone or get an inexpensive stone for foot care and grind it yourself. You can buy rottenstone in paint and hardware stores.

Pour milk of magnesia into the glaze. It contains magnesium carbonate. Baby powder in talc form also offers this chemical.

Replace the required amount of silica with cleanser, toothpaste or gel packs from electronic merchandise.

Peruse the aisles of the local drug store for medicated powder or antiseptic ointment. The zinc oxide necessary to make glaze is found in these products. Find a sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide to use in making pottery glaze. This ingredient is also found in liquid paper.

Liquid Glaze

Measure out 3200 grams of feldspar, 2400 grams of whiting, 2400 grams of silica, 800 grams of zinc oxide, 1200 grams of kaolin, 400 grams of copper carbonate and 15 grams of white cement.

Pour the ingredients one at a time into the first 5-gallon bucket.

Add water into the second 5-gallon bucket until the container is 25 percent full. Agitate the water with the drill and paddle attachment. Slowly pour in the dry chemicals. Add water in increments of 10 percent to thin the glaze.

Mix all of the ingredients until the desired consistency is met. Apply the liquid glaze to the pottery with a brush, spray or by using the dip method.

Tip

Before firing the ceramic piece, remove the masking tape used to prevent glaze from coating the bottom of the pottery which could melt and glue the pottery to the kiln during firing. If you use household goods as alternatives, be aware that it may produce dramatically different results than pure chemical additives.

Warning

Work in a well-ventilated area. Be sure to wear a respirator and safety goggles to avoid injury. Don't eat or drink out of pottery fired with homemade glazes. Lead and other toxins leech into the product consumed and cause illness. Oxide and carbonate chemical are toxins. Handle them with extreme care.

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