Understand and Use Glaze Recipes

How to get creative and use and understand glaze recipes

If you are unfamiliar with them , it can be hard to understand and use glaze recipes. Some pointers will help make glaze recipes more understandable and allow you to be more comfortable using them. Creating your own glaze recipes will also give you great freedom in your work and allow you to get really creative, making one of a kind ceramic work. 

  • 01 of 05

    What are the Benefits of Creating your Own Glaze?

    Making your own glaze
    What are the benefits of making your own glaze?. Getty

    There are so many benefits to creating your own glazes, the first being the fact it gives you so much freedom and control in the work you are producing. It's like having a cookery recipe, where you can experiment with different levels of materials to create unique results. Having your own color range in your glazes is quite rewarding and you can develop every shade and tone you could imagine. Giving you much more flexibility than you would if you just stuck to shop bought glazes. The opportunities when it comes to making your own glaze are quite literally endless. When making your glazes you can test, test, test, meaning you can tweak the recipe to create the exact color you want, eliminating any frustrations with ready mixed glazes not coming out quite as you would like. A note to remember is to always wear a respirators mask when mixing and using your own glazes, as they will create a lot of dust, which has the potential to get on your lungs. 

  • 02 of 05

    How to Read a Glaze Recipe

    Reading a glaze recipe and making notes
    How to make notes and read a glaze recipe. Getty

    It is quickly becoming the standard for potters to write their recipes in percentage-based notation. All the basic glaze components will add up to 100. All additions such as colorants and glaze modifiers are given at the end of the recipe as percentages, which are in addition to the basic 100%.

    In doing it this way, it makes it much easier to change the colorants and modifiers for a particular base glaze. Or, should you need to, you can more easily change the glaze's basic structure through changing basic ingredients.

    Should you have an older recipe that does not have the basic ingredients adding up to 100, see How to Read a Clay Body Recipe for directions on how to convert it.

  • 03 of 05

    Collecting Glaze Recipes

    Man dip glazing his fired work
    Man using one of his mixed glazes. Getty

    Collect glaze recipes whenever you come across them. You can find recipes in books, magazines, on the Internet, and from other potters.

    Use a collection system that makes sense and works best for you. There are software programs designed to store and work with glaze recipes. These are geared more for those potters who are creating or modifying their own glazes. For many potters, the older methods may work better. Glaze recipes may be kept on index cards (either 3x5 or 4x6), in notebooks, and in three-ring binders.

  • 04 of 05

    Organize Your Glaze Recipes

    Woman using her mixed glazes on fired work
    How to organise all your different glazes. Getty

    Whichever system you use, catalog your recipes in the way that makes the best sense for you. Generally, this will mean setting up major sections for various firing ranges. From there, it can be helpful to categorize glazes by their primary firing atmosphere, or the main flux used. For example, you may want to place potash feldspar glazes in one section and soda feldspar glazes in another.

    I do suggest you do not categorize mainly by color, unless you are working with a system that can easily cross-reference sections. The reason I say this is that one base glaze can have many variations in additives, resulting in different colors.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    How to Store your Glazes:

    Making your own glazes can have incredible results
    How to store your glazes. Getty

    ​Potters who regularly make their own glazes tend to have their own storage system, and once you get into the swing of it, you'll usually find one that suits you. The majority of potters use things like tupperware tubs with sealed lids (or jars with sealed lids) to keep powders in and also fluxes, oxides and frits. For mixing and storing mixed glazes, it's a great idea to use a large plastic bin with a lid. It can be helpful to place the bins on dollies or trolleys, so they can sit right underneath your work bench and you can just roll them out whenever you need them to dip glaze your work in.