How to make pottery glaze at home
Why should you mix your own glaze?
Mixing your own pottery glaze will do three things for you. One, it will allow you consistent results every time, and get the glaze EXACTLY the way you want it. Second, if you get a clear or white glaze as your base, you can add the vast world of ceramic stains to get any color you wish. Third, it is cheaper to buy dry glaze than wet glaze.
(There are so many reasons why you should mix you own glaze, but these are a few of the main ones).
What you will need:
Container to mix or shake in (with a lid): this can be as small as pint jar or as big as an oil drum. But remember that the bigger you go, the stronger mixing equipment you will need - like a Jiffy Mixer
Dry Glaze: we recommend starting with a premixed dry glaze before going to mix your own (or others recipes). You can find a huge selection here.
A scale: this will help with accuracy and water content to make sure it is the same every time (which is very important)!
Water: While you can use water from the faucet or filtered water, it’s best to use distilled or DI water in order to not introduce salts from the city water or your pipes.
Bonus Item: a sieve (mesh/strainer)!!! This is the greatest tool a glaze maker can have. The size will depend on the size of your glaze operation. I’d recommend the small lab talisman sieves for anything less than a gallon, the Talisman interchangeable sieves for 1-4.9 gallons, and laguna sieves for 5 gallons or more. Also make sure the sieve is 80 mesh or higher (I use 150 mesh) to make the glaze nice and smooth! Anything higher than 200 might be overkill, but hey, if you want to run all your glazes through a 325 mesh screen it certainly will never be chunky!
Steps for mixing your own pottery glaze:
- You will first need to put your container on the scale and “tare,” or zero out, the scale. This way you’ll be measuring the materials, not your container.
First add water to the container. This may be different from what a lot of people do, but adding water first helps keep you from getting all of those dry clumps stuck in the corners - and will end up with a smoother glaze. You will want to start with a ratio around 9:10 water to glaze. This can change on the amount of clay you’re glazing and you will apply the glaze, but 9:10 is a good starting ratio. (If you change it, record the change so you can repeat it later).
- Tare the scale again and add the appropriate amount of dry glaze. This goes into the ratio listed before. For example if you put 90 grams of water you will use 100 grams of glaze for a total weight of 190 grams. For a pint jar I would recommend doing about 225 grams of water to 250 grams of glaze.
- Let the dry material sit until you see all of it get wet (it will turn a darker color). (Unless you are in a rush, but the wait is worth it). This helps the mixing process be easier and again leave less chunks (do you sense a theme?).
- Once it is all soaked with water go ahead and mix. Shake it, stir it, or plunge it really well. Get everything evenly wet and evenly mixed.
- SIEVE YOUR GLAZE. (This step is not necessary but is sooo highly recommended.) This helps eliminate chunks (there it is again!) for a smoother application and finish for the glaze. It is worth every second, and every penny, to do this. I can't explain the difference it will make. It might not be “needed” every time (but it is). Invest in a good sieve and you can thank me later.
- GLAZE YOUR POTS!!!!!!!!
Let us know if you have any questions, we are always here to help our lovely customers. If you are having application problems, please let us know; there are a few additives to help those problems!