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Decorating With Resists

Resist is a coating that is put on pottery or ceramic to protect a certain area from paint or glaze.
When your piece is fired, the resist will burn away and the area that it was put on will show with the paint or glaze surrounding it.
Now, I will try to tell you about some resists and keep it simple so everybody can understand it.

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Decorating Pottery with Wax Resist 2 Decorating Pottery with Wax Resist 3

This resist is brushed or dripped on and it keeps glaze or slip off that area and burns off in the firing.
It is best suited to bisque and detail work.
They should be allowed to dry thoroughly to minimize the glaze that sticks and has to be wiped off.
This type of wax is usually used for foot rings.

Decorating Pottery with Wax Resist

Dip brushes into dishwashing liquid or soft soap before each use to give them a protective coating.
Clean with hot water and soap after each use.
Don't use these brushes for anything else.
Mark the ends of the brush handles in a specific paint color so you will remember which are for wax.
Liquid hand soap can be used to thin old wax resist.
In a pinch, white Elmer's glue will work as a wax resist, but the glaze doesn't bead up nice and you will have to work harder to wipe the glaze off.


Decorating Pottery with Latex Resist

Decorating Pottery with Latex Resist 4

This resist is also used as a mask, but peeled off prior to firing.
This allows you to build up layers of color.
It can be used on greenware, bisque and unfired glaze.

Don't use good brushes.
Latex will eventually ruin your brushes, no matter how well you clean them.
Don't wear nice clothes, because latex will also ruin your clothes.
Mix a little liquid dish soap with water.
Before using latex, wet your brush in the soapy water to help with brush ability and cleanup.
After you're finished use the same soapy water to clean your brushes.
This also helps keep the brush from clogging up.
Work quickly to avoid pulling off dry material as you apply the resist.

Decorating Pottery with Latex Resist 2
Apply one thick coat of latex.
Thinner coats may be difficult to remove.

Decorating Pottery with Latex Resist 3

When the top surface of the latex begins to yellow, it can be removed using a needle tool or scrapper to gently lift edges.
Wear a dust mask when removing the latex.
Dried glaze particles on top of the latex will create dust.
You may thin latex resist with a little water if necessary.


This is not as commonly used for convenience reasons.
It is especially good on greenware because it is unaffected by the moisture in the clay.
You can draw designs with it and gently wipe off the surrounding clay to get a raised pattern.
It flows readily on bisqueware and unfired glaze.
It is not very good for bisque because mistakes are difficult to remove.


Mix wax resist with oxides and chill them into cubes.
When they are firm, grate them with a kitchen grater.
Add the shavings to your glaze.
You can add several different colored shavings and they will stay separated from each other.
The wax pieces will float at first, but after they set a few days, they can be mixed into the glaze.
Then apply your glaze, fire and wait for some surprise results!

You can also mask with patterns cut from newspaper, be sure and wet newpaper before applying or adhesive backed shelf paper, rubber bands, narrow graph tape, plastic leaves, because they won't fall apart and canvas, especially after embedding the canvas onto the surface of wet clay.

Draw designs with wax resist in a slip trailing bottle.

Go ahead, get wild and crazy and invent other different ways of resisting!!!


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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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