Photo Lithography on Clay: A Surprisingly Simple Way to Print Images On Clay

Learn how to print on clay!

photo lithography on clay

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of watching Kristina Bogdanov demonstrate a really cool way to transfer photographic images onto clay surfaces. And, don’t worry! We captured the whole thing on video to share with you, my faithful readers!

Though the name sounds a bit intimidating, photo lithography image transfer onto clay, is not a terribly difficult process. You just need to get a couple of tools that you might not have on hand, but once you do that, it’s a piece of cake. In this video, Kristina shows us how. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

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For best finished results, Kristina suggests using darker Mason Stains, such as:

Royal Blue 6339
Deep Brown 6109 or 6190
Black 6657 or 6666

Some oxides can also work, although Mason Stains are the most reliable for strong color.

Want more image transfer techniques?

Check out these articles on transferring images using carbon copy paper, transferring images using photo copy paper, and using screens to print images on clay.

To learn more about Kristina Bogdanov or see more images of her work, visit

Do you have an easy way to transfer imagery onto clay? Tell us about it in the comments!

**First published in 2010.
  • Jayne B.

    Any laser printer or photo-copier that uses toner will do. Ink jar printers that many people have at home will not work.

  • Christina R.

    Hi all. I am trying this method and nothing is transferring. I confirmed that the copy machine at Staples uses toner. I am using Deep Claret Mason stain. I am following her instructions but am getting very disheartened. Any suggestions?

    Thank You!

  • deborah m.

    Thanks Marcus. I used to print onto soft leather hard clay, which worked excellently, then joined a new studio where they didn’t want to have the mason stains left exposed after the bisque firing. The main worry being that the stain could be transferred by the technician to other peoples work. I then experimented printing onto bisque porcelain and had some success. The problem of the glaze not taking was something to overcome and I had wondered if others had found away around it – different ink mix, different glazing techniques like spraying instead of dipping etc. However, after some research and advice from Paul Scott (who wrote Ceramics and Print) I have now agreed with the studio that I can fire my work in a clay tray to avoid the problems they were concerned about i.e. the technician won’t need to touch my work when loading and unloading the kiln. So yes, I’ll be going back to working onto leather hard clay as you suggest and have the bisque firing burn off the oil in the ink.

  • Subscriber T.

    @Deborah Marock

    You’re getting this issue because you should be printing on to unfired clay at the leatherhard stage, not bisque ware… It definitely sounds like an oil/water issue.

    I didn’t get a chance to do much with this technique, but when I did it, I printed on to wet/leatherhard clay, bisque fired, then brushed on clear glaze and fired again. I was able to get a lot of intricate detail with this technique.

    Hope that helps!

  • deborah m.

    i have had some good test tiles using this method, but have a question:
    When I apply the transparent glaze, I find the glaze tends to pinhole over the printed areas after I apply the glaze. I have to either double dip pieces or brush on the glaze which tends to shift the image below!. I’m pretty certain this is because of the oil content of the ink. Does anyone have any advice on how to avoid this? I am printing directly onto bisqued stoneware and applying the transparent glaze shortly after printing – about 24 hours later…..
    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks

  • Rodrigo Z.

    I found the edible linseed oil, do yall people know if that one works?? Gum arabic is easy to find where I live (Montreal) but maybe, if it’s hard fo you to find, you can use just plain syrup (sugar melted with some water) or corn syrup. That serves for the same purpose that gum in ceramic glazes and other surface treatments, but it’s less used than gum coz sugar is organic material, thus it rots.

  • Audrey M.

    I cannot wait to try this! I am a printmaking student and I recently fell in love with ceramics. I wonder if you can use a laser or xerox transparency instead of paper to avoid the image tearing for larger images.

  • sonja. September 20013

    Do you perhaps have a dvd that one can purchase on Photo Lithography on Clay?
    Does one use a Laser printer or just an ordinary printer that work with liquid ink?

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful dvd’s and workshops.

  • Thanks for an excellent instructional video, the simple process set out in Kristina’s demonstration has really helped me to develop my work. Ceramic lithography is proving so far to be a good way of transferring photo imagery to clay without the expense of screen printing – thanks again!

  • one more thing maria, but the most important (and unfortunately expensive) thing was I bought a new printer – as recommended – an HP photosmart C4680, after this is was plain sailing. Before I was using various photocopiers around the town, but printing straight out from the computer is so much easier and more successful. I got it from amazon about £150. donegal is gorgeous, I’m envious, my folks hailed from Limavady not so far awy.

  • in the uk the mason stains from SCARVA were great. i tried onto bisque not so much success. my leather hard clay is painted first in under glazed colours. you can see some results on my making mosaic Facebook page.

  • Maria C.

    Thanks Anne for the reply..yes i think higher bisque is the key and i will look out for the standin oil..Have checked out Paul Scott’s UTube and very informative..Kristina has also commented that she has applied this technique to bisque…gonna give it a try also.
    Many thanks.

  • Hi Maria, i have commented on here before and I find these two things have helped a lot. Mason stains are best, and fire bisque to 1000 or even higher, makes all the difference. I glaze to 1160 but thats what my glaze requires, the image by this stage is really secure. I also found using whole sheets of paper (rather than small bits) even with a small image was cleaner and better quality paper seemed to help.
    I spoke to another artist who recommended standing oil as well as linseed oil, mixing first in the standing oil which is thicker and thinning it later with the linseed. Worked for me. (available from art shops).

  • Maria C.

    Hi it is great to see that this technique has had such a huge response but very time consuming to read all the replies..just in case they hold the secret to my proble.
    I have transfered images successfully and bisqued to 900 ..a bit low possibly. The image is very vunerable now ..just sitting on top of bisque…should i have put a little bit of frit into the ink mix..gerstley borate perhaps..a little dab of glaze pehaps before firing or is the solution..go for a high 1st firing ..?? and then glaze lower.

    The image transfer is excellent..with the right image of course but the problem is keeping it on bisque..i don not have the luxury of a spray option…please help. Thanks.

  • Great video. Thank you, Kristina. For those of you looking for gum arabic and raw linseed oil, try printmaking supply sources. One company in the US you may try is Graphic Chemical and Ink, based in Illinois.

  • Debora R.

    Thank you Peter,

    I am using a black mason stain. Not sure of the manufacturer. I cannot find that on the website.

    I just recall Kristina mentioning wearing gloves because of heavy metals in the stains, and I want to be sure not to do damage to anyone or anything. Just one of those things I worry about.
    Thank you again.

  • I thought about it a little more. If you are using commercial stains, you can ask the manufacturer for an MSD (material safety data sheet). If they are homemade and you put up the ingredients, I’ll check for you.

  • Hi Debora —
    I believe cobalt and iron art the main components of the dark mason stains. While co can be toxic, flushing it down the sink should not be a problem because of the dilution factor. I don’t have the recipe for the stains, but I can’t imagine there’s anything more sinister in them.

  • Debora R.

    Kristina mentioned that the stains were made of heavy metals. How should we disposed of these materials when finished?
    Can I’m using black stain and I’m not sure if I can disposed of it safely in my sink.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • I have spoken to artist Paul Scott, he recommended and I quote –

    “The key is getting the ink saturated with colour (use Stand Oil from the art shop – polymerised linseed oil – very thick and sticky) before ‘letting it down’ with linseed oil into a rollerable medium… Use a heavy good quality paper or a polyester litho plate instead like Novadom…

    TechNova Imaging Systems Limited
    Unit 8a Waverley Industrial Estate
    Hailsham Drive
    Harrow HA1 4TR


    Last time I bought supplies from here:” (end of quote)

    I took his advice and it worked so much better. I also glaze the leather hard decorated clay with transparent glaze, bisque it to 1100, higher than normal, then fire it again to a little higher, sometimes with a little more glaze applied. I am getting consistent good results. The image doe not fade when I do this.

    Paul has a new book coming out this year and it will be full of great tips I am sure. Hope this helps someone.

  • Subscriber T.

    I’d like to know where you could gum arabic locally… I live in Salem, OR. I’m even having a hard time finding it online. I see DickBlick carries it, but only in small, small quantities (for a pretty penny). Where did you get that giant gallon of Gum Arabic Solution?

  • Deborah A.

    I am anxious to try this technique. Blog/Comments are fabulous. Our studio works to cone 10. Will this be too high and cause the image to fade or burn out?

  • Chad I have the exact same problem, works perfect after firing to bisque and fades almost away when I fire to glaze. Yes I found firing the pieces to 1050 makes the image fix, before at only 850 you could push it off with your finger.

    I have tried black underglaze colour, black underglaze mixed with copper oxide and then the exact black mason stain, with this I got good clear images on the leatherhard clay, had such high hopes for this 4th or 5th kiln of tests, opened it up the morning and damnit they had faded again. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

    I am using red clay painted in several layers of coloured slip at leatherhard stage before bisqueing.

    Could it be the glaze (brushed on very lightly, does not seem to disturb the print at all), perhaps too high a temperature – is it sensitive to this?

    BY THE WAY EVERYONE Paul Scott has several excellent tutorials packed with decorative ideas on 3 you tube videos, you have to watch it as part one two and then three. But he doesn’t cover this technique. Just search you tube you sd find them easily. If you can’t will find link for you.

    Tomorrow I am going to try some other oxides. I’ll let you know!! Anyone who can spot what I’m doing wrong, I d love to know.


    Fingers crossed.

  • Chad and Sandra —

    Thanks for sharing your comments and experience. I have some slabs and plan to try this.

    Chad — Is it that your glaze dissolves the color because the mason stain layer is too thin, or is the problem that the image move?

    If the former, have you tried experimenting with different ways to get more stain to stick to the clay?

    what clear glazes have you tried? We have several.

    Also, one of the comments says the technique works on bisque ware. I wonder if the transfer might work better to bisqued fish sauce or slip. Maybe not if the underlying problem with color loss you describe is that the mason stain goes on too thin.

    Sandra: Are you saying that you have to leave the surface with the image unglazed?

    Also, you transfer to red clay? or do you cover with white slip, bisque, and then transfer?

    I hope you’ll feel free to direct me to resources if my questions are answered elsewhere.

    Thanks for your time and consideration. I’ll share my results here when I get some.


  • Sandra W.

    This demonstration was so liked. Chad, this is s good technique but one needs to have their own little tricks to make it work.

    Have you tried spraying your glaze on?
    Have you tried using a different stain. I use black iron oxide and have mixed it with cobalt oxide.
    I have also fired without glaze up to temperature ie stoneware – 1250c and earthenware 1050c and the image and stayed clear and unmoveable.

    Hope that helps.

  • Have tried this process several times with great success only in the bisque firing. Once the clear glaze is applied and fired my end result is very faded. I want to this on food ware so spar urethane or spray clear coat is not an option. Any suggestions?

  • Wow! Kristina — What a great technique and what great comments!

    I have worked with clay and photography for decades but I am new to phototransfer to clay. Ms. Bogdanovitch’s technique is very interesting, and I want to try it. Several outstanding questions were raised above or in my mind that I don’t see answers for above:

    1) Several people mention other printers. The protocol says it’s the toner that makes the clay stick to the mason stain, but it’s not clear whether it’s the FeO2 in the toner. If so, an HP printer should work. Has anybody tried that?

    2) Does it matter what paper the image is on? Does it matter how long ago the image was printed? If it’s something other than FeO2, or even if it is FeO2, that might be important.

    3) Have you experimented with printer/software settings like image saturation and contrast?

    4) Yes, what about transfer to white slip before/after bisque?

    5) Finally, is this a good place to engage a dialog with people using this technique on what works best? I’ll be happy to share anything I learn. If there’s a better place, please post here.



  • Alison F.

    Is it possible to apply the image onto slip? I am wanting to apply black writing onto a white surface and my clay is not white.

  • Janie V.

    I recently purchased a HP LaserJet printer for $99.00 (online). The toner it uses has 50% iron, which is why I purchased this printer. I use it to print decals, too.

    I bought gum arabic at Hobby Lobby in the art department. Look in the oil/watercolor paint section, you will see bottles of all types of mediums to mix with the paints. Gum arabic is used with water colors a lot.

  • Subscriber T.

    manganese oxid (2 unit) and flax seed oil (3 unit) were mixed as ink. after apply on te clay same the video we fired it 1040 C degrees

  • A Question about firing. What is the lowest and highest cone firing that can be done with this ink on the clay?

  • Paola L.

    thank you kristina for the video and all of you for your posts very helpful and especially thank you emine!

    I have tried with a black stain I have (not Mason, I am in Switzerland) and it didn’t work. Then I tried with manganese and it has resulted.
    🙂 It’s wonderful :-)))

  • Subscriber T.

    thank you Kristina and ceramicartsdaily and Susan

    I am writing from Turkey, Ankara. I’m not potter or ceramic artist, I’m retired from a bank. I’ve learned ceramic for 6 mounths and now I say that I wish I went on the ceramic art instead of economy in the university.

    I’m new but I tried to your technic and I did it succesfully with manganese oxide instead of mason stain (?) love it love it…..

    all you make me happy and bring my life a new view and shine thank you again.

  • My writings is not so good but i try.Hayley -Jay said 11 may 2010:
    I have had fantastic success using a similar technique. Body stains or oxides mixed with slips. Slip casting slip is especially good, as is Terra sigillata. They work just as well using photocopies, especially if you want to build up subtle layers of textured imagery. Just coat the photocopy and wait several moments until the slip becomes semi leather hard, then apply to the surface of your form.
    I have a lot of questions:
    Must i follow the same proces ?
    Use gum arabic om the photocopy,than the colored slip.
    No washing with water,i presume.
    Please,Can you give me the proces step bij step from the beginning ?

    with many thanks
    Sonja Deckers ( belgium)

  • Patty J.

    Do not get the paper too wet. Instead of dribbling the water on after the first inking, I just make sure I squeezed most of the water out of the sponge and used a dabbing method to lift the ink off the white areas. Did not leave bits of paper behind after burnishing.

  • Thank you for sharing, Kristina … and a very special thanks to Susan for taking the time to type out the instruction, since I had trouble viewing the video…. And thanks to all who shared comments and tips!

  • I have been trying this process today, it works well but am finding there is still some ink left in the white areas after transfering onto clay body, am thinking maybe the qaulity of paper I’m using could be the reason. Any ideas ?

  • Mariaclara V.

    es muy didactico y amplia ,para mi la posibilidad de trasferir dibujos a caramica muchas gracias por compartir nos esta tecnica

  • Hanh N.

    chào, tôi đang có chút vấn đề trong lỗi kỹ thuật trong sản xuất đất in và men màu, những lỗi thường gặp sau nung của men và đất. Có ai đó có thể giúp tôi tìm hiểu rõ hơn với, rất mong sự giúp đỡ của các bạn càng sớm càng tốt
    cám ơn rất nhiều!

  • I sprayed on just a light coat of clear and am happy with the results.
    the ink no longer smears and is affixed to the clay.


    Since there is no frit or flux in the ink solution this printing technique will smear with water and if you brush on the clear glaze. I am trying this and adding frit 3124 to the mason stain ink solution to prevent smearing.

  • Going back to my student days I was working with stains quite a lot doing designs with stains but I found that my intricate painting would smudge and bleed even after the first firing. I agree with Jane that a clear glaze over the design helps to stabilise and avoid this problem. Great video, can’ wait to have a go.

  • so if you need to refire with a clear glaze I guess the best bet is to dip the tiles in glaze since brushing will smear the powder?

  • Subscriber T.

    Thanks for the reactions on my post! I haven’t had the time to try the suggested overglazing yet.
    Seems difficult though, to put brush-on glaze and not smear the powder.. I’ll give it a try as soon as I find the time.

  • I have found that CMC gum needs to be mixed in hot water and stirred like crazy. It lumps up. I never got past that part of it. The gum arabic is like corn syrup: smooth and easy to work with.

  • Hi, one more question. What is the difference between gum arabic and cmc gum? I have been using cmc gum.

  • Aslo the image comes out very lightly. Is it possible that i am using the incorrect laser printer?

  • I am trying to do this method, which I think is fantastic. I am having some problem with the ink staying around the image and transferring to the piece. Can anyone help?

  • Richard L.

    I have tried this from the video and it works great, I see one of my questions was answered in that after bisque firing the ink can still be smudged and I don’t know why I assumed it would be more stable, but glad to see that is part of the result before glazing, The term Xerox can be confusing, because it is a brand name that has become a generic name for all toner type copiers, any toner type copier will work. Thanks for the most informative video, Rich

  • Sandra W.

    @Michelle and Dolyn. Oxides and underglazes need to be fired on or under a glaze for them to retain the desired effect in terms of printing, I find.

    So I suggest that once you have biscuit fired your piece it then needs to be glazed fired. Depending on your desired effect, a transparent glaze would be an idea to allow the image to be seen.

  • Michelle H.

    I also fired and I can wipe the stain off with my fingers. The stain does not seem to stay on the clay after it is fired why?

  • To follow up i found black mason stain 6657 worked brilliantly, i found raw linseed oil in homebase, and if you paper leaves bits on the clay change the paper, I also found brother laser printers work with this technique, and gave a clearer image then from a copier.

  • Subscriber T.

    Hello everyone,
    I’ve made some nice prints according to this method. After drying, I fired them at 1040 degrees Celcius, which is about 40 degrees hotter then Cone 06 I think.

    They came out just the same as they went in, EXEPT, I can wipe all the stain right off!

    I’ve used a glaze stain (dark gray and dark brown) from a local shop in Holland, the salesperson won’t tell me which supplier he got it from.

    Anybody any idea’s what could be the reason that the ink doesn’t burn onto the clay?

    Thank you in advance

  • Valerie H.

    I use a refurbished Canon 941 copier that I found on craigslist after taking a workshop on photo transfer. It uses “real” old fashioned toner, which presses onto clay beautifully. However, I’m eager to try Kristina’s method, since it looks more versatile. Now I am trying to find gum arabic that doesn’t break the bank! Michaels only carried it in the painting section, not cake decorating area, and it was quite expensive. Finding it online is far less pricey, but with shipping, puts it back up there. Suggestions anyone?
    (S&S Pottery site is pretty cool btw)

  • Hi Everyone, hope all are doing well! No problem everyone.For supplies I work at S and S Pottery in Kitchener Ontario, we are on line under PSH.CA CHECK US OUT. You may find what you need!

  • Halle ==

    See the post by Susan that appears 20 or 30 posts above yours at:

    “Susan | May 10th, 2010 at 11:27 am”.

    She converted the video instructions into text, so you and others can read the terminology and the step-by-step method. Thanks, Susan. Good luck, Halle.

  • Subscriber T.


    thanks for this wonderfull work and especially the lithography on clay I ask you to write the exact ingredients and tools for making this lithography on clay,because english is my second language and i’m not familier with the ceramic making tools and relating instructions as a beginner therefore watching the video and undestanding the exact names of ingredients with no previous experience is pretty hard to me.
    i’m looking forward to receive helps to fight this obstacle.
    thanks to all.


  • Sofia S.

    I am in Portugal and looking for Arabic Gum, seems impossible to find!

    Can it be replaced by something else? Thanks

  • Lynsey A.

    To Robert and Susan – I emailed Kristina direct to ask about the linseed oil, boiled or raw. She said raw, and I found it in the UK at the Range. Also online, but cheaper at the Range.

    I’ve been wanting tio try this for ages, so thanks for a great demo.

  • Subscriber T.

    thank you very much for this tehnique, i’ll try it and i will give my impressions

  • I have tried a dark brown and a bright blue mason stain with good success. The black does not work. However, I am finding it difficult to find a source for gum arabic here. A small 75 ml bottle was 15.00 usd. Could anyone advise a source or a substitute? The powdered form of gum arabic is much more accessible here on Oahu. What about Darvan or CMC. Sodium Silicate?

  • Nikki T.

    NOTE TO CERAMIC ARTS DAILY TEAM: The vedio stops at 42 seconds and goes back to start position. Reloading it might help??

  • Wilma B.

    I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this before but I came upon a detailed written article written by Kristina Bogdanov in “Pottery Making Illustrated” Sept/Oct 2008 Pgs 19-22. She talks about the same Litho process but even with more detail. I found both to be excelent, I am going to try the process today. Thank You Kristina for sharing your knowledge.

  • Amanda B.

    Liz – Thank you for your suggestions. I actually use the same cheap Staples copy paper you use, so that makes me think it might be something else, though I still plan to try different paper when I finally get around to trying this again later this week. I was also thinking the clay may have been too moist which made the paper stick. Oh well! I’ll just try changing things one at a time like you said and will eventually work things out. Thanks again!

  • Hi Amanda,

    I’ve had great success with this technique, even with photos, using an HP laser printer and inexpensive copy paper from Staples. I recommend changing one thing at a time to find the source of the problem. The fact that your paper is disintegrating makes me suspicious; I’d first try a different brand or two. Failing that, try a Xerox copy instead; although different laser printer toners are similar, they may not be equally effective for lithography. Good luck!


  • Amanda B.

    Hello everyone… first off I wanted to thank Kristina for her instructions and Susan for writing up those steps, very helpful! I’m having some problems with it though. I’ve gone through the whole procedure several times, and I keep having problems with the paper disintegrating and sticking to the clay. It appears that the image transfers fine as long as it’s a high contrast, outline image(and I’m using a Samsung CLP-310 laser printer, so it does work with that printer at least), but it has paper blobs stuck all over it and it’s impossible to get the paper off cleanly. Also, the background gets dark and grayish, instead of staying white like in the video, and sometimes this transfers over onto the clay. Photos with lots of midtones also come out dark and blotchy without detail.
    I have some theories about what might be happening: the paper might be causing it, or too much gum, too much ink maybe? The printer? Kristina or anyone else have any ideas?

  • Mia F.

    ooooops,sorry,just looked you up on the net.You will,no doubt, have plenty of anything you might need in Serbia…
    Izvini, pogresno sam zakljucila da si iz Bugarske a sada shvatam da si iz Nisa.Bravo Kristina,kako lepu keramiku pravis-za razmisljanje… Ja sam inace iz Smedereva,imam puno porodice koja zivi i u Nisu a poslednjih 20 godina zivim u Sheffield-u,Engleska.Ipak bih zaista volela da vidim neku tvoju izlozbu ili demonstraciju, molim te javi mi ako stignes.Puno pozdrava,Milena

  • Mia F.

    Thank you Kristina.I have tried and tried to follow Paul Scott’s instructions( and several others) but with no success.You mention going to Serbia this summer-I am Serbian( now living in England)and will be there with my children in the summer and would really like to see any demonstration you might be doing over there.What are your plans and are you settled with accomodation,etc;I am happy to help if you need it.
    Very kind regards to you,Milena

  • Kathy P.

    wonderful demonstration – very clear and it looks doable to me. I look forward to trying this – thank you for sharing..

  • Jackie S.

    To Haley-Jay,
    Your contribution to this post sounds interesting. One query: In using the slips, etc., I presume we’re still following the water/gum squeezing routine and blotting as Kristina did with the oil/stain mix??

    Thanks for your input!

  • I tried this technique using a computer printout from an HP laser printer and it worked beautifully. Thank you, Kristina!

  • Elena P.

    I live in Bulgaria. I work with ceramic and sculpture.
    This is very beautiful!Fantastic technique!
    Thank you!

  • For people living in the UK or even Europe Scarva pottery supplies who are in Northern Ireland sell the black mason stain 6657, I have mine ordered already, they also sell the Gum Arabic, however as others have found i can only find boiled linseed oil which you can buy in Wickes, is it the same product?

    Brilliant tutorial cant wait to try it all out!

  • I have had fantastic success using a similar technique. Body stains or oxides mixed with slips. Slip casting slip is especially good, as is Terra sigillata. They work just as well using photocopies, especially if you want to build up subtle layers of textured imagery. Just coat the photocopy and wait several moments until the slip becomes semi leather hard, then apply to the surface of your form.

  • Kristina suggests using darker Mason Stains, such as:
    Royal Blue 6339
    Deep Brown 6109 or 6190
    Black 6657 or 6666

    I live in Holland, and I cannot get these stains in the shop, they do not know what it is.
    I is more than oxides, I understand.
    Can anyone give me more details?

    Also Gum Arabic, is not available as a solution. I can get it as a powder, Should I mix it with water to get the solution? to what ratio?

  • Shaked K.

    Thank you for the video, it was superb, and thank you Susan for writing down. gum Arabic you can find in any cake store, it is kind of sugar for decoration.

  • just a note it should read : rub pure Gum Arabic on surface of glass not the water/gum arabic mix..sorry for confusion

  • Dear Agniesz
    Here is the whole thing I wrote it out for myself:

    · 3 tsp Linseed oil
    · 2 tsp Mason stain
    · Contain with air tight lid
    · Plastic spoon

    1. INK: Mix the above two ingredients together using a plastic spoon, mix really well, stirring for 15-20 min. until viscosity is that of acrylic paint. Let stand over night for best results. This mixture is a small amount because of its drying time…when this mixture dries out it CAN NOT be reconstituted. Mix again before using it.

    · Gum Arabic
    · One gallon of water in bowl mixed with small amount of Gum Arabic
    · One small plastic bowl of water
    · 2 sponges (one in the big bowl and one in the small bowl of water)
    · 1 rubber brayer for rolling ink
    · glass surface to work on.
    · Xerox copy of images
    · Rubber Gloves

    2. Mix a small amount of Gum Arabic to the gallon of water
    3. Now spread the Gum Arabic on the glass where the images will be inked …place image FACE UP on the gummed surface…then rub with your fingers Gum Arabic on the images to be printed…wipe away any excess gum from around images
    4. Stir ink again then make a line of the ink above the images on the glass. Roll the brayer in the ink horizontally and then vertically to “load” brayer.
    5. Roll on the images going in only one direction DO NOT roll back and forth… so roll again horizontally and then vertically to coat image. IF YOU ROLL BACK AND FORTH THE IMAGE WILL GET CAUGHT UP IN THE BRAYER
    6. Now that the images has been inked: use the water with the Gum Arabic in it and fill the sponge with water, do not have too much…squeeze the water mixture over the image. Then with the sponge dab the image to remove excess water…the oil in the linseed will resist the water therefore making image ink and the negative space clear of ink. The Toner attracts the ink that is why it is necessary to have a Xerox copy. When dabbing make sure there is no water left behind.
    7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 three times. (inking and washing)
    · Soft Leather Hard Pieces
    8. The “tada moment” also the most crucial part …lift image from the corner and place it face down on soft leather hard clay.
    9. Take a damp sponge from the clear water and dab the back of the image on the clay, you will start to see the image become a bit transparent, wait till it is moist not wet and continue to stage 10
    10. Burnish the back of the image with the back of a spoon , in small circles, then lift the corner of the image to check to see if the image has transferred, if it hasn’t continue to burnish…
    11. Take the paper off the Soft Leather Hard Piece, DO NOT fire with it on.
    · When the piece is dry bisque fire at cone 06 if it is on cone 06 clay glaze and fire to the next stage,
    · Piece can also be fired to cone 6 if on corresponding clay.

  • Liz the stain is called Mason Black Stain, that she used but there are many other colors that you can get..Mason is has a much deeper richer stain vs…other company stains. It is not transparent.

  • Hi Robert that is what I was wondering, Raw vs Boiled..I am trying to find that out now.
    Any ideas on where to get Gum Arabic?

  • Agnieszka L.

    Dear Kristina and other subscribers,
    I could only get to the point where Kristina mixes oil with stain and the video keeps getting stuck..
    Can someone write what happens next and what materials I need to have, please?
    I have seen Kristina’s work on her web and have been looking to use photo transfer for months now..And when i eventually get the chance to watch the presentation it just does’nt happen! very frustrating.
    Please, if someone feels like typing few instructions from this video I will be extremely greatful. I’m pretty experienced ceramic artist so lets hope with a little help I will get it right.
    Thank you

  • Flavia K.

    Kristina, Thanks very much for posting this video. I always thought about transfering images on some of my projects but postponed for the lack of knowledge on the process. Thanks to your demonstration I will be able to do it, much simpler than I thought and with great results. Great technique

  • shawn f.

    Very Nice Kristina, it is great to see you are still doing interesting work in clay. Great Technique.

  • Thank you, Kristina, for so generously sharing your technique! I can’t wait to try it. I am only able to find powdered gum arabic, so I’ll have to dissolve it in water. What is the concentration of gum arabic which you are using for this process?

  • Emily P.

    Thanks so much for the great video! I have been wanting to collaborate with printmaking for a long time and you’ve really helped! I watched the video twice and took notes and that really helped to answer all my questions. AWESOME!

  • Elaine B.

    I learnt this from Paul Scott (UK) who wrote two books on Print on Clay. Did Kristina Bogdanov develop the technique or Paul, or someone else?

  • Fascinating. It’s based on the lithography technique, right ?
    Seems to take a lot of time for each piece though… but I can’t wait to give it a try. Thank you so much.
    PS I guess that if you use a laser (black only) printer at home, the toner is the same as on a Xerox machine and it should be ok, shouldn’t it ?

  • Carole S.

    After watching this wonderful video, I add my thanks to you also, Kristina. I found out our school has the type of toner copier needed for this project. Now to work on images!

  • Donna S.

    The video ended before I found out how you fired your pieces! Can you glaze over top?

  • Amarilis A.

    Excelente explicación a un trabajo tan delicado. Hablo poco inglés y algunas cosas no las entendí muy bien, pero sus respuestas me aclararon las ideas.
    Gracias por su capacidad de compartir.

  • Mary S.

    Thank you Kristina for your explanation. I was able to find both gum arabic and the linseed oil in the artist section of my local decorating shop. I can’t wait to try this, as I was going to do the silk screen method, but it seemed so labour intensive! Great instruction, and thank you for your answers.

  • ED K.

    Thank you for this great demonstration. Very timley for me as I have been trying to learn to do this for several month, using phot silk screens.

  • Sandra W.

    You have so many responses to this. Well done. I have a last question. When you say ‘Stain’ do you mean an oxide like black Iron oxide or cobalt carbonate or do you mean an onglaze/enamel powder. I live in the UK. I have used oxides and onglazes in my work but this ‘stain’ I am unfamiliar with. Thanks.

  • William W.

    Thank you very much for this beautiful lesson.
    But, could you let me know wath next steps I can do.
    A) Do I first bisque fire and then clear glase and fire ?
    B) After drying, put on clear glase and fire direct?

    Thank you

    Bill Walraven, Champlin,Minnesota
    E-Mail: Traderstec@

  • Kristina B.

    Hello all, thanks for great feedback, Mary, I apply the image on leather hard clay, too soft (or moist) or bone dry could cause a difficulty with transfer, once I got more experienced with this technique, I can apply it on bisqware I spray the bisque area with water and by the time and I get the image prepared, the bisque surface is moist enough to get the transfer, sometimes I applied the clear glaze over right away and even though the ink is oil based, I had no trouble for the glaze adhering to the image. Also, one of my students used a computer printer that is a xerox machine as well, I am not sure what brand, but it turned out that this technique worked for that print,however, I usually use any Fedex or Kinko’s xerox, or any xerox in the administrative buildings, since I will be in Europe over summer, I will try this technique in Italy and Serbia,I know that farbkerpers (sorry for bad spelling) are the stains to be used and Gum Arabic, yes, my colleague, the print-maker always jokes that you can “eat” gum arabic since they use it for ice creams…

  • Jacqueline M.

    Kristina, Very clear demo. Thank you so much! I have tried this but without ever seeing it done. I know Inkjet wont work, but would a laser printer toner work? Also, what do you suggest for the inky oily clean up. I found that the hardest part.

  • Mary S.

    I may be the only one who didn’t hear what she said, but did she apply this to bone dry greenware? Is that what you put it on? And it was linseed oil that you mix with the mason stains, right?

    Seems like a lot of us are excited about a new technique to try!

  • Janet W.

    As I understood it, the liquid mixed with water and put on the glass is Gum Arabic and the ink was a mixture of Mason stain and linseed oil. I don’t know what they call these things in France, but Mason stain can be found at nearly any ceramic supply shop. Linseed oil at a hardware store. I was wondering where to get Gum Arabic, but a previous post suggests you can get it with cake decorating supplies, such as at Michaels art & craft store.

  • Thanks so much for this great site….
    Always something wonderful to see and try…..

  • Annette K.

    This was a great presentation! I’m intrigued. The sound was good and the method was clearly demonstrated. I look forward to these videos!

  • Eva V.

    Love this demonstration! gives lot’s of inspiration…. I didnt understand the ink, and oil you need (living in france, is there another name for it?) I am verry happy with your site, curious what comes next…..

  • Is the Gum Arabic the same that they use for cake decorating…is so you can get it at the Bulk Barn or at they say..any ideas.

  • thanks Sara I was wondering that myself….do you think using red iron oxide would work as well…the Fed Ex and Print centers are they all over? I am in Kitchener Ontario?

  • Yossi S.

    thank you so much its interesting i also did not understand the axact solution you used could you please write so i will be able to use this techniqe

  • Michelle H.

    thank you for sharing. Great video. I did not understand what is the solution you put in the water and on the glass. Can you spell the name of the liqued.

  • Jackie S.

    Great video; wonderful technique! Thanks so much for sharing. If the paper is still intact after removing it from the clay surface, is it possible to re-ink and use it for an additional print? Or does the toner lose its ink-absorbing capability?

  • Sara W.

    FYI: I just called my local Fed Ex Print and Ship Center (they used to be Kinko’s Copies) and was told that all their copiers use toner. Hope this helps.

  • Lenny C.

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been trying to figure out how to do this for a while and have been experimenting with stains. I am so excited about the possibilities!

  • I am beside myself I am so excited about this as I have a one women show in which I can now blend my two loves clay and photography. thanks so much.

  • Sandra W.

    I have always wanted to try this but getting a xerox copier has always been an obstacle. Do they still make them? Xerox copiers I mean.

    Its a great technique and quicker than making onglaze screen printed transfers, which I usually do.

  • Jeff T.

    Elegantly presented! I’m going to try this for making fine detail printed circuit boards. Now we literally use a hot iron to transfer the toner to the bare copper of the printed circuit board material. But it doesn’t hold the fine detail required by today’s tiny components. Have to play with the ink pigment for a good acid resistant property. It must resist strong acid as the non-circuit copper is etched away. Thanks again…

  • Tamara F.

    The process looks simple…enough for high school? I’m going to try it out over the summer myself. Thanks for the clear technique explanations in the video : )

  • Diana P.

    What a wonderful demonstration! Thank you Kristina Bogdanov and Ceramics Arts Daily for creating such a well-structured demo of a somewhat involved process. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am excited to try this now!

  • Christine B.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. School is almost out for this year but it is a definite try for next year. Now I am anxious to come back in the fall.

  • Rosa R.

    Adorei a tecnica! vou tentar executá-la.Muito obrigada por transmitir tão bem os seus conhecimentos.

  • Nikki J.

    I’ve used a similar recipe for ‘ink’ for screenprinting images on clay, but any old cooking oil was the base.
    Is there a particular advantage to using linseed oil?

    And how great to have a technique that also transfers midtones and fine details!


  • Where can I find a xerox copier that prints with raised ink? All the copiers I am familiar with print with the new toner that won’t work with this process.


  • Jeff A.

    Is it possible to put clear glaze over the print without affecting it negatively? It looks as though some of the finished pieces in the video may have clear glaze on them.

  • Mary M.

    Have always been interested in transferring images — and this is doable even for a novice potter. Thank you!

  • Sheena B.

    This looks easy, and not too time consuming, so I shall have a go! Thanks for the video, I enjoyed watching it.


  • Thomas W.

    This is a really fun way to add images and you can use any ceramic colorant you desire to mix with the litho oil I saw this performed a couple of years ago and have been having fun with it myself! Nice video and demonstration! Thanks for posting it!

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