Glazing for Beginners: Everything you need to start glazing pottery + 10 glazing techniques | Mia Mueller | Skillshare

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Glazing for Beginners: Everything you need to start glazing pottery + 10 glazing techniques

teacher avatar Mia Mueller, Slinging pots in Bavaria

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Overview


    • 2.

      Understanding Glaze


    • 3.

      Glaze Safety


    • 4.

      All About Bisqueware


    • 5.

      Mixing the Glaze


    • 6.

      Single-Dip Glazing with Tongs


    • 7.

      Wiping the Bottom


    • 8.

      Double-Dip Glazing


    • 9.

      Triple-Dip Glazing


    • 10.

      Notes on Overlapping Glazes & Glaze Thickness


    • 11.

      Freestyle Pouring


    • 12.

      Splatter Technique


    • 13.

      Basics of Paint-On Glazes


    • 14.

      Patterned Glazing


    • 15.

      Inside-Only Glazing


    • 16.

      Glaze Resists


    • 17.

      Glazes vs. Underglazes


    • 18.

      Finishing Up


    • 19.

      Our Results!


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About This Class

Ready to play with color?

In this class, I will cover:

  • 10 different glazing techniques

  • what is glaze? when should we use it? why should we use it?

  • what is bisqueware and how to prepare it for glazing

  • how to properly mix glaze

  • single dip glazing with tongs

  • double- and triple-dip glazing

  • freestyle pouring and splatter technique

  • paint-on glazes vs dipping glazes, and when to use which

  • inside-only glazing

  • glaze resists ie. wax

  • glazes vs. underglazes

  • glaze safety

  • after glazing, preparing our pottery for firing

This class is for you if:

  • you’re completely new to glazing

  • you’ve glazed once or twice, but aren’t sure what other techniques are out there

  • you’re feeling insecure about how glazing works and you want a better overview

  • you’ve been glazing already, but your pottery hasn’t turned out how you want it to.

  • you have access to glazes and a kiln for firing

This class is NOT for you if:

  • you’ve already mastered the basics of glazing and are looking for something more advanced. This class is designed for beginners.

  • you’re interested primarily in spray-on glazes. This class only covers dipping & paint-on glazes.

  • you’re looking for a class to cover mixing glazes from scratch. This class covers commercial glazes (powder and liquid)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Mia Mueller

Slinging pots in Bavaria


Mia is the founder and owner of Berlin-based pottery studio Pottery to the People. She is an artist, teacher, & community-builder.

After receiving her BFA in the United States, Mia joined a community pottery studio. She channels the enthusiasm of her first instructors in the classes she now teaches today, passionate about paying it forward and spreading the love of her craft.

Now she is moving beyond the studio to bring online classes and youtube tutorials to pottery lovers all over the world!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Class Overview: So I've done a lot of classes on forming pottery so far. But of course, this is only half the story. I mean, pottery can't really exist out in the world without glazes on them. And in my opinion, the glazes you choose can really make or break your pod. So let's talk about wasting. My name is Maya and I run a studio here in Berlin called potter to the people. I've been doing pottery for ten years and since 2019 when I founded this space, it's my mission to big pottery accessible to everyone. I'm really excited about bringing you this beginner level class because it's got all the information that you need to know about glazing your first pieces of ceramic with store bought quizzes. I will give you some really practical information, including six different glazing techniques and ten different demonstrations. 2. Understanding Glaze: Not all pottery needs to be glazed, but you at least need the parts that are coming in contact with food and drink to be blazed. For a mug, that means at least the inside and the lips should be glazed. If you're designing tableware, be sure to check about your glazes are also food safe too, because there are plenty of ways is designed for other purposes too. But you're a glaze manufacturer, should be able to tell you which glazes our food safe. You can think of ways as glass that's melted onto your ceramic. So the primary ingredient in glazes, silica, which is also the primary ingredient in glass. Beyond silica, You also have flux, which actually it lowers the melting temperature of the glaze, allowing it to melt in our conventional killings. In addition to flux, you also have various colorants. Common colors that you might have heard of are oxides and stains. However, all minerals can have an impact on the color and the texture of your glaze. When purchasing your glaze, you will receive it in either at the powder form or a liquid form. The powder form will just be the pure, raw ingredients of the glaze, which you should mix with water. You should mix the powder with water in the proportion suggested by your manufacturer, because your Bisk is porous, it will soak in the water wherever it's exposed to the glaze, leaving the powder on the surface of your pot. Liquid glazes are a little bit different however, because they have a few extra ingredients added to them so that you can brush them on. This makes liquid glaze is a little bit more expensive, but they do have benefits to which we'll explore later on in the class. An important thing to pay attention to when you're buying your glaze is the firing temperature. So all glazes have a range from which they should be fired within. The range should match the nitrification temperature of your client and of course, match the temperature that you eventually find your pots to be sure to check with whoever is firing your pottery to make sure your materials are suitable for that firing temperature. 3. Glaze Safety: The last thing I want to talk about before we get started is glaze safety. So similar to clay dust glazed us is actually hazardous to your health. So you want to limit your exposure to it as much as possible. Certain glazes also contain toxic chemicals like cobalt and cadmium that you really want to limit your exposure to. It is most hazardous to breathe the substances in. However, if you have a cut on your hand, you want to as much as possible avoid getting glaze on your hand. You definitely don't want to be eating or drinking while you're handling these glazes. And also definitely wash your hands when you're done working with the glazes. If you're working with glazes and a powder form, you should wear a mask or a respirator. I think the best way to be safe while glazing is to just be mindful and tidy while you're working. I'm not saying don't have fun and experiment. I'm just saying cleanup as you go and wipe up any spills with a wet sponge before they have a chance to dry and become glaze powder. 4. All About Bisqueware: So in this class, we're going to be glazing my Cloud cups. I love making these cups. They're super fun to make. Each one's a little bit different. And if you're interested in seeing how I make these, you can check out my YouTube channel where I showed you the whole process. To glaze your pots. Of course, you need misc where? To get your pot into the big square stage. You want to fire it once. We fire to around 900 degrees Celsius. But there's different Bisk temperatures depending on your clay. So to prepare your Bisk for glazing, you want to make sure that your Bisk is clean and dry. So if you have any dust on the surface of your business, it might cause pinholes. And likewise, if you want to sand you're Bisk, make sure you wash it afterwards to get any of that sanding dust off. Once your pots are clean and dry, you can apply wax to the bottom of n to prevent the glaze from sticking to the bottoms. Alternatively, what I do is you can also just wait for the bottoms with a wet sponge. This will take off the glaze and prevent your pots from sticking to the kiln shelf. We need no glaze on the bottom of our plots when we put them into the kill them. Otherwise, they will stick to the kiln shelf and you will destroy your pot and also the shelf. 5. Mixing the Glaze: So let's start with the powder glaze. This glaze has already been pre-mixed with water. So our manufacturers suggests that we use one kilo of glaze to one liter of water. So this bucket has probably three kilos of glaze in it already. Before you get started, you want to mix the glaze. Wow, so I have this drill mixer that I like to use, but you can also just use a stirring stick or something. 6. Single-Dip Glazing with Tongs: So I'm going to start with one of the simplest ways of glazing and a technique that I use all the time and that's using these tongs. So when you're using the tongs, you want to hold them so that your many fingers, or with the many points of the tongue, then your one finger, your thumb is with the one-point. That's how you can remember how to hold them straight. I find that this gives you the most flexibility with the tongs because the three points should always be on the outside of your pot. So you want to pick them up carefully so that your pot is nice and secure. And then when you're ready, you can dunk it right in. So I'm gonna go in sideways until it's fully submerged. I'm going to turn it upright. And then I'm gonna do the reverse. I'm going to turn it sideways again to lift it out and let all the extra glaze drain almost ready. So dip it in 123 and out again. Nice and smooth and give it a little shake to get the extra glaze off. Then when it stops dripping and just set it down on your table. 7. Wiping the Bottom: Once your paint is completely dry to the touch, you can clean it up a little bit. I like to check if there's any marks from the tongs. And if there is, you can just wipe them away with your finger. And then of course, you also need to remove the glaze from the bottom. So for doing this, you lead a wet sponge and you'll want to ring the sponge out as much as possible and then wipe the glaze back. So any part that we'll be touching the table when you set it down on the table, all of that glaze needs to be removed. And I liked using a sponge for this part because when you go to the edge of the pot, it creeps up the side ever so slightly, just maybe two millimeters. And that also really helps to prevent your glaze from getting stuck to the kiln shelf. Because of course, when the glaze liquefies in the kiln, it's going to want to be pulled downward by gravity. So it's always smart to do it not only the bottom, few millimeters around the edge of the bottom to guarantee the safety of your pot. 8. Double-Dip Glazing: So here's another pretty easy method that hasn't really fun results. So for this technique, you'll need two different glazes. We have a white and a blue. And I'm just going to hold the cup in my hand along the side here and I'm going to dip halfway into the wide. And then I'll pull it out again, shake off the extra glaze. And now I need to wait for the glaze to be dry enough to the touch. Okay, and then I'm going to dip the other half in the blue glaze. And I want to make sure that they overlap a little bit and let it drip out. And then you have this nice section where the two lasers are going to overlap and no extra create a third color along the middle and throughout the piece. So we'll see how that looks. 9. Triple-Dip Glazing: So in the first demo we did one glaze outpatient, and the second demo we did two. Now we're going to apply three glazes on one pot. So in this technique, you can choose three different colors for one pot, like this one. But you can also use this technique to make something like this where you just use the same glaze over and over. So for this one it's the exact same technique, but for the inside and the lip, I chose one color and then I skipped the last step. So you can also do something simplistic like this with this glazing technique. So for this technique, you'll meet a little cup. You want to take your scooper, take your cup and pour it in to your Bisk. And then you pour out your Bisk. And while you do that, you want to be rotating your hand so that it gets all of the inside of your piece. And then you wait for that to dry. It should take only a few seconds because the Bisk is so porous that it soaks up the water pretty quickly. So after about a minute, your pot should be dry and ready to move on to the next step. So for this, we're going to be doing the lip of the pod. And I'm going to hold it from the bottom and just dip it straight in. Even though we dipped it up to here on the outside, it didn't get into the inside because when you're dipping it like that, it creates a little bubble inside of your pod. And then it keeps out the glaze from coming into the inside. So you can put it pretty deep down into the glaze without getting that glaze on the inside. Even though I already mixed these with the mixer because I've been talking for a little bit and it's been about five minutes. So I wanna give it a little bit of a refresh because the glaze actually settles to the bottom pretty quickly and I want to make sure it's very nicely mixed before I did my pot in. So once your pot is dry to the touch, you can put the last layer on. So I'm just going to hold it from the lip now flip is now dry and I'm going to dip it into the glaze and I can go up as far as I want. If I wanted to, I could leave a little gap here or I can also overlap them. So I'm just I'm just gonna go straight in I think is how it looks pretty cool now, but we can't get too attached because it's going to change completely in the colon. Like pretty cool though. 10. Notes on Overlapping Glazes & Glaze Thickness: You're welcome to overlap the glazes as much as you like. For beginners, I wouldn't recommend more than two layers of glaze. Because when the glaze gets too thick, kind of crazy things start to happen. I've seen all sorts of different things happen in the kilohm, such as the glaze shooting off one pot and sticking to the other, or just completely melting off. What happens most commonly though, when the glaze is too thick is something like this. So the glaze just kinda beads up on itself and leaves exposed pieces of clay. You also have to keep in mind that your Bisk is porous and at some point it becomes overly saturated while it's absorbing the water from the glaze. So you can think of it like a sponge, like at some point it's just not going to absorb any more water until it's dried out. So when you keep layering glazes on it, especially thinner pieces, it can reach that saturation point much sooner. So when that happens, it's best to just set your pot aside and let it dry out before you continue glazing. So you saw with a single depth placing the one I did with the tongs that I was counting to three while I was dipping my pot. And so when you're using multiple glazes, you want to dip a little bit faster, maybe 1 second per glaze, so that you're never reaching more than three seconds of your piece being submerged in the glaze. 11. Freestyle Pouring: So now you have the basic three techniques that I always start beginners out with. Just these three techniques yield such a diversity of results that you can really make a lot of different pottery with them. But now I want to show you a few extra techniques to help inspire your creativity. I love to use the picture to apply an uneven kind of random texture in my pottery. So what I'm going to do for my cup here is I'm going to apply first the inside the glaze, just like in the last technique. And then I'm going to use the picture on the outside to create an interesting surface. So now I'm going to use my picture with more white glaze. And I'm willing to apply it kind of randomly around the rim of my cup. So I'm gonna kinda wind my wrist up so I can make it all the way to the other side all in one go. Next. I'm going to use this color and I know this looks great right now, but believe it or not, this is actually blue. So you can't tell the actual glaze color by how it looks right now, you actually have to make a test and see how it's going to look like once it's through the kill them, because most glazes change colors. I'm going to do the same thing now, but on the bottom of the cup. So I'm going to hold it from the top now. Fill my picture with glaze again and just apply it quite randomly. No. 12. Splatter Technique: So for the next technique we're going to do one of my favorites, which is the splatter technique. So for this technique, you'll need a brush. It helps to have a kind of stiff brush. And then what can also be helpful is a turntable. So for the first coat, you can use any of the previous techniques to apply. I'm just going to use my tongs. So I have one solid color of white in the background. So then just take some glaze on your brush. And you'll want to splatter it. So it doesn't look like much now, but this peachy color is going to get really bright red later on. 13. Basics of Paint-On Glazes: So those are all the techniques I wanted to show you with the dipping lasers. Now, there are a few reasons why you might choose instead to use paint on glaze is one of the reasons might be because your piece is really big and you can't really dip it into a bucket, then you might want to use a paint on glaze. Otherwise, obviously these are much smaller. So if you're having space limitations in your studio, you might want to go with paint on glazes. And there's a few different techniques that you can only do with paint on glaze is, so I'm going to show you some techniques now. But the first one I'm going to keep very simple just so you can see the quality of the paint on glaze and how it works. So for paint on glaze brushes, you want a much softer brush than we used for the splattering technique. One that is fluffy so it can absorb more of the glaze in it and spread it easier. And it turntable always helps. If you have one, make sure you mix it well. So I'm just starting with a white glaze and I'm just going to paint the inside of the pot white. So when you're using paint on glaze is you actually need to do is several coats in order to get the thickness and the opacity of the glaze as you would compare it to the zipping lasers. So my manufacturer suggests that I use three layers. So I'm just gonna wait for this to dry. And then we can go on with the second question. I finished three coats of white on the inside. Now I'm going to do it not the three coats of black on the outside. Just takes a minute or two between each coat to let it dry because the biscuits so absorbent. So it's really convenient. 14. Patterned Glazing: The other reason why paint on glaze might be the best option for you is if you want to paint details, I'll show you what I mean. So first I'm going to draw on some shapes with a pencil. When you draw anything on with a pencil, it actually burns off in the Killen. So you can draw all over your pot with a pencil and you won't see the lines in the end. So I'm going to use three different colors here. So I'm just gonna kinda strategize which shape, Shelby, which color. So we're going to start out with a blue. And just like last time, we're going to paint three coats of each color. First code is done. Now I can move on to the second coat. Today my three coats are done. So it wouldn't be possible to do this technique with dipping glazes because you can't really spread them with a brush. It's just kinda crumbles off. The paint on glaze does have extra ingredients that have like glues in them to make them more sticky so that they actually adhere to your Basque. So for techniques like this, for a little details, It's definitely making sense to use the paint on glaze. So now we'll move on to the magma. This is like a bright reddish, orange red color. I'm just going to go on to the last color will use a nice bright yellow. Okay. 15. Inside-Only Glazing: Another technique I want to show you guys is just glazing the inside. So you can actually leave the outside of your pots raw if you want to. As long as it's not coming into contact with food or drink, there's nothing stopping you from leaving the outside of your pot and glazed. So to do that, I'm just going to pour it on inside like I've done for so many others. And poured out. And then any extra drips I have. You can keep them if you want to, if you like the look, but you can also clean them up with a sponge. 16. Glaze Resists: So another technique I want to show you guys is the use of resists. So what are resistors is anything that will repel the glaze from sticking to your pot. So a lot of people use things like wax for this. You can also use stickers or even wet newspaper. Today I'm going to use tape because I think it gives a really nice clean line. So we'll see what we can do here. Just apply and you really want to press it in. But it's really sticking on the spots that I put the tape down. The glaze won't stick. I'll show you. So you can use any of the previous techniques I've showed you to apply glaze at this point, but I'm just gonna go ahead and use the tongs again. You just remove the tape. 17. Glazes vs. Underglazes: So I wanted to talk a little bit about glazes versus under glazes in this class, because this is a popular misconception that I hear from a lot of my followers. They're actually two completely different things. So there's many different types of under glazes and they go by many different names. What we use most often in the studio is called endoscope, which is basically just a very wet clay. So watered-down clay, also known as slip, with a pigment added to it to add the color. There's also more complex formulations of under glaze that you can buy. And depending on which undergoes you're using, you're going to want to apply it either on disk or on leather hard play. This one right here, I'm going to apply on to Bisk because it's formulated for Bisk. And yeah. Another option for applying details to your piece is to use a stain or an oxide. So this one here, I used a cobalt oxide. There's also a red iron oxide. It's also very popular, but there's loads of different varieties. And these usually come in powder and you just mix them with some water and apply them with a paintbrush. So typically when you apply under glazes, you'll want to put a transparent glaze on top or you leave it the raw clay. If you put a glaze, a colored glaze on top of your under glazes, you actually probably won't see the under glaze coming through. So for my piece, I'm just going to leave it wrong because I really love how the under glaze looks on raw ceramic. And I'm going to start with this nice blue. This under glaze is perfect for painting on this. I'll use my little picture again to poor white glaze on the inside. So I got some drips here. So unfortunately, I can't just leave it like this in my opinion, I think it would look ugly. So I'm going to dip it up to the ring down here so I can cover up those drips. Here we go. 18. Finishing Up: So that's it, replaced all ten of our pieces. Now the last thing that you always want to do is just double-check that the bottoms are all wiped. You never want to put anything with glaze on the bottom interior killing or you're just going to make a lot more work for yourself. So I hope that that was helpful for you. I hope that gives you experience and confidence to start glazing your first pottery. Now, all we have to do with these is load them into the kiln and fire them. This is all stone ware, so we'll fire them to 1250 degrees Celsius. And I will show you how they look when they're finished. 19. Our Results!: All right, alright, so we have our final results. I'm so pleased with how they turned out. We have quite a variety here, so let's just go through them. Here is the one glaze, the single glazed with the Pfeffer mins. You don't see any marks from the tongs, which is great. And all the variation here just comes from the glaze itself. So it's kind of a simple but effective glazing technique. Okay, and then our double-dip, we have a nice overlap here, which I'm quite happy with because I like when it makes a third color on the inside, insides even a bit stronger than the outside. And you'll notice this with glazes that when you're glazing the inside, the glaze is usually a bit stronger and that's because the glaze spends more time on the inside when you're pouring it in, pouring it out so it just has more time to absorb. So for our third cup, remember we did the triple dip on this one. So report in the lip dip the bottom. And I went with a really bold color combination here, which I could use a statement. And I also love how the rim glazes affected one another to create an interesting texture there. The fourth one is probably my favorite of the bunch. And of course it is because this is a technique that I use a lot in my own work. I love how you see where it's blue. This is where the two glazes overlapped. Because this glaze is a highly reactive blaze that it doesn't always turn blue. Sometimes it's this deeper brown color. I like it. I just loved all the different imperfections in this glazing technique. Our fifth one is the splatter technique. I'm sure you remember that one. Yeah, again, a highly effective piece. I think it's really nice how the white ended up not being so strong on certain parts. So you see the cream color of the clay which connects it to the peachy tones of the red. This is quite a strong red, but in the end it turned a bit peach when it was layered over the white. Okay, so our next cup, this is paint on ways which you might not be able to tell right away because it all melted very well together. You don't see any brushstrokes when you paint on the glaze quite thickly like I did. And simple but effective cup right here. Alright, our next one is a fun one because this is where I painted all the different patterns on it. And if you remember, I left the background of the pattern, just the raw clay. And so you have this really interesting different texture from the raw clay as you run your fingers from the raw clay over the glazed parts. It's really nice. And the inside yellow did end up coming up and around over the edge a little bit and merged with a pattern which is making a nice kind of beautiful imperfection, I think. Okay, so our next piece is where we just squeeze the inside and we left the outside that raw. And I'm really happy that I chose quite bright color for the inside because it's just like creating almost like its own world on the inside. Really cool. And you also have that awesome broadness of the texture that you get from on glazed ceramic. So our stripy mug, this is where we taped on the stripes. And I'm quite pleased with it. It's creating a nice little detail with the raw ceramic coming through. Yeah, it's nice. The last cup, which is the one that we apply to the under glaze on. I'm quite surprised and pleased with this one because I had no idea how much the under glaze would show through the white blaze. I thought the white glaze would cover it up. So that's really nice because you get that interesting transition where the stripe keeps going on, but it's fading into the white and then on the inside it's purely white. I think it's really nice. Thank you so much for taking this class. I hope that you learned a lot. And I would love to see the projects that you make from these glazing techniques. So you can send some images over to me on Instagram at Pottery to the people. Or you can email me at Maya, at Pottery to the I wish you all the best in your pottery projects and I hope to see you all soon. Stay well, stay creative by friends.