5 Easy Ways to Glaze Your Pottery

Pottery class observing glazing demonstration

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Once a pot is ready to be glazed, how do you get the glaze onto it? From dipping to sponging, here are the most commonly used ways to apply glazes to pottery.

  • 01 of 05

    Dip Pots into Glaze

    Pot being dipped into glaze

    The Spruce Crafts / Beth E Peterson

    This sounds exactly like what it is; in this glazing method, the pottery is immersed in the glaze batch for about three seconds. Dipping pottery into a fluid glaze, about the consistency of heavy cream, is one of the fastest ways to glaze large quantities of pottery. It also is a good method to ensure an even glaze coat.

    When dip glazing, it is almost always a very good idea to make certain you have prepared your pots well, including giving their bottoms a good coating of wax resist. You also need to make sure that the glaze has been prepared properly. Stir it thoroughly but gently (ensuring no air bubbles get into it) with a stick before you put your pot into it. The thinner the consistency of the glaze, the longer the pot will need to be dipped. 

  • 02 of 05

    Pour Glaze In and On

    Pouring glazes into and out of pots

    The Spruce Crafts / Beth E Peterson

    Glazes for pouring need to be the same consistency as dipping glazes and is often done in conjunction with dipping.

    To glaze interiors, glazes can be quickly poured into a pot, left three seconds, then quickly poured back into the glaze bucket. Any excess glaze can be flicked off using a sharp rotation of the wrist while keeping the pot's rim parallel to the floor, it can be wiped off with a sponge or towel, or it can be left as it is, for its decorative effect.

    Glazes can also be poured over the outside surfaces of a pot. This is often done to apply a thinner coat of glaze over the top of a base layer of glaze. The two glazes will interact, at least to some degree, often resulting in a more interesting glaze with greater visual depth. Be careful not to mix different glazes if you are using different colors.

  • 03 of 05

    Brush Glaze On

    Applying glaze to pottery with a brush

    The Spruce Crafts / Beth E Peterson

    Many ready-to-use glazes are formulated to work well when applied with a brush. These glazes tend to be much thicker in consistency than dipping and pouring glazes. Some are a little less fluid than heavy cream, while others are so thick as to be pudding-like. Make sure you read the instructions carefully, as they will tell you how many coats to use for your desired color. 

    Commercial glazes are made to smooth out most brush marks, so if you want to use the brush marks as part of your pottery's decoration, make certain to noticeably vary the thickness of the glaze coat as you apply it. You still need to make sure that the glazes have been stirred well before use. 

    The best brushes for this job tend to be the synthetic sables. They are both durable and can spring back from such use. Always wash your brushes fully after use.

  • 04 of 05

    Sponge Glaze On

    Sponging on glaze

    The Spruce Crafts / Beth E Peterson

    Sponges can be used at nearly every step of pottery creation, including glaze application. For basic glaze coat application, use a fine-textured pottery sponge, either synthetic or natural. For applying a decorative second layer of contrasting glaze, you may want to use a porous sponge. The texture of the sponge can translate into very interesting patterns in the fired glaze.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Spray Glaze On

    Spray guns and airbrushes are two tools which potters use to spray glazes onto their pottery. Care should be taken on several counts when considering this option:

    • The nozzles used must be large enough to handle glaze particles without gumming up and becoming plugged.
    • Spraying glazes should always be done in a spray booth with adequate ventilation for safety reasons.
    • A well-maintained dual-cartridge respirator which is NIOSH/MSHA approved should always be worn whenever spraying any ceramic materials, including glazes.