Dip glazing offers many benefits, but a key disadvantage is the volume of glaze needed to submerge the bisqueware. This can be particularly challenging when glazing larger work. Glazes are typically stored in a bucket, but what if your work is wider than your bucket? Transferring the glaze to a wider container like a plastic tote box is an obvious choice; however, the volume of glaze needed to submerge the piece increases exponentially. Creating a tailor-made box for unique pieces is too hard and time consuming. I use glass bottles filled with sand to displace the glaze in a tote box, effectively making the box’s volume smaller.

Glass bottles are ubiquitous and easy to clean. Glazes are a suspension of water and minerals (aka rocks), so they are very dense. The bottle’s total density needs to be higher than that of the liquid it displaces. The bottles must not float when the glaze level rises as the pot is dipped into the glaze, so I fill them with sand all the way to the top (1).

1 Add sand-filled bottles into the tub of glaze to displace its volume. 2 Dipping the pot further displaces the glaze.

This pot is about 12 inches wide and the tote box is about 14 inches wide. These tall, narrow glass bottles don’t get in the way of the dipping. I needed a depth of 6 inches of glaze, but I only had about 4¾ inches of glaze to start with. With the bottles, the glaze depth increased to 5¾ inches, plenty once the pot is dipped in and starts to displace the glaze. When the pot was fully dipped, the total depth was 7¼ inches, giving me plenty of leeway with the same liquid volume of glaze (2).

Topics: Glaze Chemistry