Three Helpful Tips for Layering Glazes, Plus Great Glaze Combinations

Learn some general guidelines for layering!

Glaze Combinations

While applying one single glaze to a piece can be lovely, there are some effects that come only from certain glaze combinations layered on top of each other. But you should follow some simple guidelines when layering glazes to have success.

In today’s post, an excerpt from Amazing Glaze, Gabriel Kline shares his best advice for layering glaze combinations. He also shares three glaze recipes and instructions for layering them to get what he calls the “Oasis” effect. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

Before we dive in, here are some general guidelines for layering:

  • Glazes in combination can form what is called a “eutectic,” which is two or more materials that, when combined, have a lower melting point than any of them individually. For our purposes, that means glazes that do not run very much individually might run down the side of the pot when combined. For this reason, always use cookies when firing glazed work. (Cookies are fired disks of kiln-washed clay that your piece can sit on.) Until you get to know the combination well, keep the second layer of glaze no more than one-third of the way down from the top of the pot. For tiered layering—that is combinations that involve a third or even a fourth glaze—keep these on-fourth of the way down the pot, or at the very lip, at least to start.

15 Tried & True Cone 6 Glaze Recipes

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  • Layering multiple glazes will build up increasing amounts of glaze on your pot. If the glaze is too thick, it will eventually begin to crack and fall off the work. Use a lower specific gravity on the second and third layers, submerge the piece in glaze for a shorter period of time, or use brushing or spraying to apply thinner coats.
  • Always let glazes dry between coats. In some cases, you may need to use a fan to dry the work, or leave it out overnight. Make sure you give the last coat of glaze time to dry before loading pieces into the kiln as well.

Oasis Recipe

  1. Glaze CombinationsDip entire pot in Odyssey White Gloss.
  2. Dip top third in Chun Celadon.
  3. Dip Strontium Crystal Magic at rim.

Glaze Combinations

Glaze Combinations

Glaze Combinations**First published in 2019.
  • Claudia L.

    I am trying to replicate the Chun celadon in Kline’s book. It comes out very rough and not clear. I then looked up the recipe in Britt’s book and they differ in that Kline uses OM4 ball clay (that’s what I used in my tests), but Britt has EPK instead. Britt cites that the recipe is Kline’s. There is also another difference, in Britt’s recipe (again citing Kline) the recipe includes .3 of each cobalt carb AND .3 of copper carb. Kline only has .3 of copper carb in his book.

  • Ivonne P.

    Hi ! I’m about to buy a new compressor to be able to spray my glazes. What should be the HP and PSI requirements? Is there any other specification I should be considering?

  • Olga R.

    Hi! I have already spent a lot of energy on experiments with glazes from the book Amazing…. I still can’t get pure glazes, let alone layering. I would be very grateful if someone could tell me what my mistakes are.
    1. Chun in the picture is blue (which is strange, since the glaze contains coper carb). My chun is green and not transparent. By the way, I did chun 2 times – in the first case it came out satin and faded, and the second time it turned out green and shiny.
    Could it matter that instead of a minspar I took a Kona F-4 Feldspar ?
    2. My spearmint is glossy, not semi mate. And it doesn’t look like the example from the book at all.
    3. OL’ blue turns out to be very dark
    4. Charcoal comes out very dense, without transitions, as in the picture
    5. Fat cat turns out to be similar to the example from the book only in the deep places of the test tile
    I carefully follow the recommendations for specific gravity. I dip the tiles for 5 seconds. When firing in the kiln, I use the program of Gabriel Klein from the book – up to 2196 F with 20 min hold at the end.

  • Margie W.

    Are these three glazes available to purchase in liquid form, or pre made powdered form?

    • Ash N.

      Hi Margie, I don’t believe these glazes are available pre-mixed. You can buy all the materials listed in the recipes at your local clay supplier and mix them yourself. -CAN Staff

  • Hi, I have recently purchased Gabriel Kline’s book ‘Amazing Glaze’ Can any one explain why in some of the images of the glazed example cups in the recipe section, there is a difference to what the glaze looks like on the top half
    compared to the lower half. for example ‘Blue oribe’, ‘purple passion plum’,’fat cat red’. I am sure there is an explanation for this?

  • Alan K.

    the note says that the Odyssey White glaze is the same as the Odyssey clear but for the addition of zircopax for opacity. The clear recipe gives 1.35 SG. Would the zircopax white option then have the same SG? 1.35? Or should it perhaps be denser?

  • Shimona K.

    I have just read the site’s explanation of kiln wash, so I have the answers to my questions (I should have searched the web before writing here. My teacher uses those little “feet” to put the pots on the shelf. Things still run so I think the best thing is to just not glaze too close to the foot.

  • Shimona K.

    I do not understand how one makes the cookies so that the glaze does not melt down the pot. Is the purpose to keep the shelf in the kiln clean of glaze? Doesn’t the pot stick to the cookies after firing? How does one make these cookies? What is kiln-washed?

    • Pascale C.

      You have ways to go ;-D
      Yes you do want to avoid glaze leaking onto the shelves as much as possible. Your pot will be wasted if stuck to the cookies, but next try you’ll know what not to do.

      • Noeline V.

        What a smug reply! Is it a sin to be a beginner? Shimona, well done for asking questions and don’t let anyone deter you. Pascale, if you are going to reply, make it caring and constructive – you were also once a novice. Shimona, I am also somewhat of a beginner, I hope someone more experienced can answer you question with more info and humility. Don’t give up.

    • Yasmin D.

      Hi Shimona,
      the ‘cookies’ are a disc or shallow flat plate that has been at least bisque fired. It is placed under a pot if you are experimenting with glazes and don’t know yet how runny they are in the kiln. The purpose is to protect your expensive kiln shelves from glaze runs. Choose a size that is bigger than the pot to allow for shrinkage during glaze firing. And yes, if the glaze runs it will stick to the cookie (unless you use the techniques used by chrystal-glazing potters. That is a whole lesson in itself, but you could look it up if you want). You make the ‘cookie’ by making a flat plate (+ or – rim) preferably from the same clay as your pot, and bisque firing it. You can use them again and again until they stick to a pot.
      Kiln-wash is a special protective layer (looks like a runny slip) that is painted over kiln shelves before you first use them. It can protect your shelves and pots to some extend from glaze runs as the kiln wash will stick to the run and come off the shelf and stick to your pot (and often save it from breaking). It needs to be re-applied where it has come off. Or any glaze runs will need to be ground off with a grinder. Recipes for kiln-wash on Ceramics Art Network.
      Hope this helps. Have fun with clay 🙂 Cheers, Yasmin

  • Brenda H.

    I’d like to make the Chun Celedon. Looks gorgeous. What is the formula if Minspar is no longer available?

    • Hi Brenda, Minspar is available at most clay suppliers. It can be used a replacement to Kona F-4 feldspar. It is possible your clay supplier calls it “Minspar G-200.” -CAN Staff

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