A Guide On Mixing Pottery Glaze

To apply a glaze to a bisque ware more easily and quickly, simply mix a glaze powder with water. It’s that simple! However, we are going to tear that down into more detail. This includes: measuring water, mixing the glaze powder with water, the sieving process, adjusting its viscosity and density, and more.

Before we start, it’s important to follow the instructions that came with the glaze set especially if it’s a premixed powder one. There are two types of glazes that you can purchase: Dry glaze and premixed. The former is specially formulated for dipping and pouring, while the latter is formulated for brushing.

Let’s assume that the instructions said that you have to mix the dry glaze with water. In case you’re not using a whole batch of premixed powder, make sure that it is mixed well before taking a part of the powder to mix with water. It’s also suggested that you should keep the glaze suspended in water for a few moments to improve its brushability.

Mixing Glaze Safely

  • Powdered glaze is the most dangerous form of glaze since it creates dust that can be inhaled easily. Glazes contain toxic chemicals so once inhaled, the last thing you’ll see is waking up in a hospital. So to avoid such situation, it’s important to wear a face mask or a respirator while handling glaze. Also, use rubber latex gloves and don’t put your fingers, eyes, nose, and mouth near the glaze while mixing it. Safety goggles are advisable too for extra protection.

Materials to Use

  • Here are the materials you will be needing when mixing glaze:
  • Empty buckets
  • Water
  • Glaze Powder
  • Handheld drill
  • Drywell mixer/paddle
  • Sieve that has the appropriate mesh for your glaze
  • Respirator/face mask
  • Dust mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Paintbrush
  • Spatula/Rib
  • Rags/Sponges

Instructions on Mixing Glaze

  • Each glaze has its own way of mixing. What we’re going to show you below is the basic way of mixing it. But feel free to try and experiment things as long as you know what you’re doing.

  • Measure the Proper Amount of Water for Your Glaze – measure water inside a clean container that’s at least 25% more than your glaze’s volume. This applies for dry glaze since premixed glaze already tells you on the instructions how much water to use. Keep in mind that every glaze is different and the amount of water to be used may vary.

  • Add Glaze Powder to Water – There are two ways to apply this step. Either you add the powder glaze to the water or water to the glaze powder. You can add a little amount of water each time until you get the right amount of it. You can pour the glaze into the water with no stirring needed.

  • Mixing the Glaze Powder and Water – Thoroughly mix well the glaze to avoid problems when applying it later on. Use a stick, toilet brush, or a whisk to mix the glaze. You can also use a handheld drill and attach a turbo mixer, or a simple paddle to mix the glaze. Should you need to mix smaller batches? Use a kitchen blender for easier convenience.

  • Pour the Glaze into a Sieve – Even though you already mixed it well, there will be small lumps on the glaze that aren’t completely mixed with water. The solution to this is to use a sieve to eliminate such lumps. Sieves come in different mesh sizes and it’s important to choose one that suits your glaze. However, some glaze instructions will tell you not to sieve the glaze. It’s up to you if you want to follow it or not.

  • Checking its Density and Viscosity – Glaze needs to be on its right density and thickness. Because if it is too thick or too thin, you will have problems applying it later on. Some people use other types of liquid as a base to measure the thickness of a glaze. For example, cream, heavy milk, whole milk may be used as a comparison for glaze thickness. If you have a glaze hydrometer, you can use that to measure its density too.

  • Adjusting its Density/Viscosity – Adding water is a must if you think that the glaze is too thick or thin. Add little amount of water from time to time until you get the right formula. If the glaze is too thin, let it sit overnight and scoop some of the water that rises up. You can alternatively add more dry powder if you had one.

  • Let it Sit for a While – After mixing, let the glaze sit for a while before you put it into use. Leaving them for a moment makes the particles in the powder to soak up the proper amount of water. Do a final check on the viscosity or density of the glaze to make sure it doesn’t get thick overnight.

  • Mix and Apply – Lastly, stir/mix the glaze before applying it to bisque ware. Constantly mix the glaze throughout the process. Monitor the density and thickness of the glaze from time to time because bisque tends to suck up extra water as they are dipped. Now that you’re done, store the glaze in an airtight container and make sure to label it so your friends or family won’t mistake for water or something.  Jot down notes about its density and thickness every after use so you will get consistent results the next time.