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Published May 18, 2018

majolica design

I think everyone who has a passion for making pottery has experienced the heartbreak of making a great pot and then ruining it in the glaze stage. I certainly have. In fact, I think glazing and decorating is the most challenging part of this medium, which may be why I have never attempted the majolica glaze technique. But majolica is a great technique for bright colors, which I love, so I decided to turn to expert Linda Arbuckle for some majolica design tips.

Today I am sharing this video clip from Linda's majolica video. Not only does Linda give excellent majolica design advice and show examples for how to develop successful decoration. But she also shares a number of great technical tips for painting with majolica colors in this clip. Enjoy! - Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor

PS. Go here for majolica glaze recipes!

Add Pizazz to Your Work with Majolica Designs the Pack a Punch!


To learn more about Linda Arbuckle or see more images of her work, please visit

Majolica Design — Application Suggestions

Both the best and worst thing about majolica glaze is that it doesn’t move when you fire it. Having a decent base glaze coating goes a long way toward being happy with the final product. Additionally, large bumps and voids in the raw glaze will leave evidence of brush strokes on top of them and emphasize your glaze application issues in your majolica design.

For errors in glazing (and there are bound to be some) 400-grit wet-dry sandpaper will sand down lumps, or they may be gently scraped down with a sharp knife. When sanding or shaving glaze, do it over a container of water to trap the dust and prevent it from circulating in your studio environment. Apply glaze in the thinnest coating that will give you opacity, and attempt an even glaze coat. Dampen pieces slightly before dipping to remove any dust and moisten the ware for better glaze pick up. Dipping is my mode of choice, although I do know potters who spray effectively. I want to have a container that will allow me to do one dip of the bisqueware.

If I have a piece that will not fit in my glaze bucket, say a long, oval platter, I use a different container for dipping. Garden stores often carry metal or plastic 5-gallon oval tubs. Oil change pans can be useful. I have flexible plastic tubs from a garden store that are wider than my 5-gallon glaze buckets, and will allow me to flex the bucket for longer-than-wide shapes and to form a spout to pour my glaze back into the bucket. In a pinch, I have used cardboard boxes reinforced with duct tape or dresser drawers double-lined with heavy trash bags to hold glaze for dipping.

Check out this archive post for more on majolica design and decorating tips.

**First published in 2013