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What are Over Glazes?

The term over glaze refers to the group of special low-fire products that are applied to an already fired glaze surface. During an over glaze firing, the underlying glaze is softened enough to allow the over glaze to sink into and become a permanent part of its surface. Your choice of the underlying glaze will determine the finish of your over glaze: a satin or matte glaze surface will yield a soft matte over glaze finish while a gloss glaze will yield a bright shiny over glaze finish. The color of the underlying glaze will also affect the final over glaze color, experiment with various glazes and luster combinations to create custom colors.

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All About Pottery Glazes

Common Glaze Terms
Toxic Ingredients used in Glazes
Alternative Glaze Materials
Troubleshooting Glaze Cracking
Glazing Defect and Remedies
Glaze Dipping
High Bisque Low Glaze
Making a Hydrometer
What is an Overglaze
Lead Testing an Overglaze
Refinishing Bought Pottery
Surface Tension and Glazing
Salt Firing Glaze
Choosing Your Colors
Firing Copper Matte
Glaze Recipes
Crystals in the Glaze
Crystalite Glazes
Crystalline Glazes
Crystal Glazes
Earthenware Glazes
Troubleshooting Crystal Glazes
Oil Spot Glaze
Mojolica Method
Raw Glazing Pottery
Red, Yellow and Orange Glazes
Making Test Tiles for Glazes
Shino Glaze
Glaze Settling
Clear Dipping Glaze
Using a Viscosity Cup


Cleaned green ware that is to be over glazed should be bisque fired to at least Cone 04, then glaze fired to the highest recommended temperature of the underlying glaze being used, for instance a glaze labeled Cone 06-05 should be fired to Cone 05. This is to insure that all burnout is complete in both the clay and glaze prior to over glaze firing.
When applying over glazes it is critical that both the object and work area be clean and dry. Any contamination by dust or moisture will interfere with the over glaze application resulting in defects. Clean the glaze surface with alcohol. If using alcohol, allow ample drying time because alcohol contains water which must be dried completely before over glaze application begins.

General Application

Use a clean, dry, high quality, soft-bristled brush. Choose the largest size reasonable for the object being decorated. Saturate the bristles with over glaze, but do not dip past the metal band on the brush, and work out the excess over glaze. Use firm, even strokes one next to the other. Apply as evenly as possible, but do not over brush. Even application is the rule for all metallics and luster's except Mother of Pearl, Opal and Aurora. Allow pieces to dry completely in an area free from dust, dirt, smoke and moisture before firing.

Firing Guidelines

Ventilation is the key to producing vivid over glaze colors. Kiln vent systems may not be capable of handling the heavy fumes produced during over glaze firing, you will need to experiment with your own system to determine its suitability. The firing guidelines that follow use open kiln lids and spy holes for ventilation.

Set Kiln On Low, Lid Fully Open, Spy Plugs Out, Time: 45 Mins.
Set Kiln On Medium, Lid Open 12", Spy Plugs Out, Time: 45 Mins
or until all odors should have dissipated.
Set Kiln On High, Lid Open 1 ", Spy Plugs Out, Time: Until Witness Cones mature.
Turn Kiln Off, Lid Closed, Spy Plugs In, Time: Until Fully Cooled


Luster's and Metallic Luster's

Luster colors are applied to a fired glaze surface in the same manner as the metallic luster's. They create iridescent over tints of color with various degrees of translucency. The darkest colors become quite opaque with an almost metallic surface. Apply over a clear or white glaze to achieve a specific luster color or experiment over colored glazes for exciting new color variations. Follow all rules previously stated concerning piece preparation, application and firing schedules. Check individual color descriptions for details and firing temperatures.

The Following Colors Require Special Application

Mother of Pearl and Opal. These two classic iridescent luster's have no single base color. All create a layer of purple, pink, green and blue highlights over the surface of the underlying glaze. They vary as follows,

Opal - produces the lightest tints of color with the finest-patterned color break-up.

Mother of Pearl - produces medium-tone highlights with mid-sized color patterns.

For both Mother of Pearl and Opal, TO MAXIMIZE THEIR IRIDESCENCE apply accordingly.

Apply one THIN, UNEVEN COAT, best achieved by swirling or stippling with the brush during application.

Fire to CONE 020 to 019, firing any higher will only burn the glaze off your piece.

Over Glaze 1
Bright Gold

Metalic Lusters

Over Glaze 3
Over Glaze 2
Bright Platinum

Specialty Gold

Over Glaze 4
Glass Gold
Over Glaze 5
Mother Of Pearl


Over Glaze 6

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With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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