Underglaze can be used to create many different finishes, depending on the application method. To achieve a smooth, opaque result on bisqueware you must first analyze the materials. Bisqueware is porous and dry, which means a very thirsty surface. It may take only a couple of seconds for underglaze, which has a high water content, to dry. It’s difficult to tell if you’ve achieved a smooth, even application until the piece has been glazed and fired again so I’ve added this one simple step to my underglazing process.

Quickly rinse your piece under water just before painting to give you a bit more time between when your brush touches the piece and when the surface is dry enough to accept the next coat of underglaze. This will allow you to smooth out the underglaze for a thin, even layer. Do not oversaturate your piece. A quick dunk or pass under a faucet is all you need. I recommend this technique for large areas such as backgrounds, but it can be used for patterns if you’d like a smoother brush stroke. I do not recommend this for thin line work, as when underglaze is applied with a syringe bottle. With this technique, the pigment will not be absorbed into the piece quickly enough to lay flat. This will create holes in the glaze where the underglaze forms a bead, usually at the start and end points. Give it a try and don’t forget to have fun! See more on Instagram @liss8clay.

1 Quickly run your piece under water. 2 Use a fluffy brush for a smoother application over large areas with fewer brush strokes.