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, which has just arrived in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop, 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.

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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

Comments
  • 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.

  • 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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