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Altering a Greenware Piece
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Antiquing Your Pottery
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Patina Decorating
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Salt and Soda Glazing
Slip Decorating
Special Effects and Fine Details
Decorating with Stencils
Terra Sigillata

Slip Decorating 1
Slip Decorating 5
Slip Decorating 3

Above are some examples of slip decorating.
If you haven't decorated your pottery or ceramic with slips, you're missing out.
One of the benefits is that the slips stay put, so designs don't blur or run like many glazes do.
This means you can make textures in the slip that will stay exactly as you make them.
You can make designs like splattering that won't work with glazes because glazes need multiple coats.
You can squeeze slip out of a bottle to make designs, which is called slip trailing or use it for sgraffito, which iscoating your pottery or ceramic with slip then you scratch designs in the slip exposing the raw clay underneath.
Sometimes decorating slips are called engobes, but they are generally the same thing.
Slips are best applied to leatherhard greenware, but can be used on bisque to.
They can be used on low fire and high fire clay.
The slip must be similar to the clay, so the shrinkage between the two is the same or the slip will crack or peel off.

Here is a recipe that is often used because it fits a wide variety of low fire clay bodies.
When it is thinned, it works good on bisque also.

Low Fire Clay Recipe

Kentucky Ball Clay 40g
Kaolin, sometimes called China Clay 20g
Nepheline Syenite - flux 10g
Talc 15g
Silica Sand - Flint 15g

High Fire Clay Recipe

Georgia kaolin 25g
EPK Kaolin 25g
Ball Clay 25g
Frit 3124 15g
Nepheline Syenite flux 10g

You can find many other recipes for slip in books or on the web, including some that are specifically for applying to bisque.


Recipes typically add up to 100g.
If you multiply all the ingredients in the above recipes by 10, you will get 1000 grams, which will fill about 1/2 of a five gallon bucket.
You can then divide this up into five 1 gallon buckets and then mix different stains in each one.
As a starting point, use about 15% of the total grams of stain.
1000 grams divided by 5 = 200 grams per color
15% of 200g is 30g
You will use 30g of each stain

Always premix the dry ingredients and then add them to your water.
Many experienced potters do not premix their dry ingredients, they simply drop them into the water and mix with a jiffy mixer or paint mixer attached to a power drill.
Use about half the volume of the dry ingredients for the amount of water.
Mix the ingredients into the water with your hand or a stick before using the drill to avoid stirring up dust.
Depending on how well your mixer does, if the slip is lumpy you will want to push it through a strainer.
Slip Decorating 6

This is a slip trailing bottle.

Slip Decorating 8Slip Decorating 7 Slip Decorating 2

Slip Decorating 9

Above are some pictures of how slip trailing is put on pottery or ceramics.

The completed slip should be the thickness of cream for greenware and slightly thinner for bisque.

Put the slip on with a brush, a slip-trailing bottle or by dipping.
As you work, your piece will dry out, so spray with water periodically and wrap tightly between sessions.
You can build up multiple layers of slip to make very intricate designs.

When buying ingredients to make this slip, remember that 100g is approximately 1/4 of a pound.
For those who don't want the convenience of pre-mixed, pottery and ceramic shops also sell engobes in one pint containers.

If you don't want to mess around with measuring and mixing, you can buy any colored decorating slip at any pottery or ceramic shop,

"Copyright BigCeramicStore.com, reprinted with permission."

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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

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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