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12 Pottery Glaze Techniques for Beginners

It’s an exciting time when your pottery piece is ready for glazing. But, as a beginner, it can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know how to apply your glazes. Luckily, there are some excellent pottery glaze techniques that are easy to learn and fun to do!

Glazing your pottery is one of the most crucial parts of the pottery-making process. You can use various colors and glazing techniques to make stunning, eye-catching designs.

Without incorporating design elements, your pottery can be rather boring and plain. So, keep reading if you’re ready to expand your horizons and learn how to execute some fun pottery glaze techniques!

Colorful pots with different pottery glaze techniques

Simple Pottery Glazing Techniques

1. Dip Your Pottery Into the Glaze

Dipping your pottery is an excellent pottery glaze technique if you want a large surface area covered in glaze. And luckily, it really is as simple as it seems!

A woman dipping pottery into a bucket of glaze

Fill a plastic bucket with glaze and dip your pottery into it. This will provide an even coat of beautiful glaze in seconds. You can dunk your entire project into the glaze or parts of it, like the handle of a mug.

If you decide to dip your whole project, ensure you don’t get glaze on the bottom. You’ll also want to ensure you allow all the excess glaze to drip off before firing. Doing this will prevent clumps and bumps.

Almost all glazes are lead-free. The omission of harmful metals like this means using your hands for this glazing process is okay. But if you don’t want your hands to get dirty, using vinyl gloves can help keep you glaze-free.

2. Pour the Glaze Onto Your Pottery

Another easy pottery glaze technique is pouring the glaze onto your pottery piece. You can dump the glaze straight from the bottle onto your pottery.

A person pouring glaze onto pottery

But it might be wise to hold your project over a bucket. This allows the excess glaze to fall inside, and then you can pour it back into the bottle. Glazes can get expensive, so try not to waste any!

Pouring your glaze is an excellent idea for drizzle effects or covering large areas with glaze. The process can get messy, but it’s fun and easy to do!

Like the dipping technique, you’ll want to ensure all excess glaze drips off before firing.

Pottery Glazing Techniques with Tools

3. Brush the Glaze Onto Your Pottery

If you’re uncomfortable with dipping and pouring, the next best way to apply glaze is with a brush. You can use a set of durable artist brushes for this. And you’ll be painting the glaze onto the pottery like you’d paint a canvas.

A person brushing glaze onto pottery

Use long brush strokes to glaze large areas, and do one layer at a time. This will ensure you have an even coating around your entire pottery piece.

A pottery glaze technique like this allows you to paint intricate details too. Use the smaller brushes in your brush pack to make your designs. And treat the designs you’re creating like drawings.

It can help to hold the brush like a pencil and gently brush on your glaze designs.

4. Splatter the Glaze With a Paintbrush

Splattering glaze onto your pottery is fun and messy but creates stunning results. You’ll need some thick paintbrushes to carry out this pottery glaze technique. These will hold more glaze, allowing glaze globs to splatter onto the pottery.

Plates decorated using the splatter glaze technique

When you have your brush, you can dip it into your glaze. But don’t wipe off the excess glaze! Flick your wrist at the pottery while holding the glaze-filled brush. You should see clumps of glaze fly into the air and splatter onto your pottery.

And just like that, you’ve mastered the splattering technique! Continue this process until you reach your desired splatter coverage.

5. Use a Sponge to Apply Glaze

Sponge glaze application can create some beautiful texture on your pottery piece. It will provide a scrunched and crinkled pattern that’s truly eye-catching.

This pottery glaze technique requires you to use craft sponges to dab your glaze onto your project. But don’t just dip the sponge and get to work!

A person using a sponge to apply glaze to pottery

You’ll want to dip your sponge into water first. Then wring it out to the point that it’s still a little damp. From here, you can dip the sponge into your glaze and wipe off the dripping excess. Now, you can gently dab it onto your pottery.

You can use one color or a few for this technique. If you choose to use a few, using ones within the same color palette will look best.

6. Spray the Glaze Onto Your Pottery

Spraying glaze is another fun pottery glaze technique that can get quite messy. Before setting everything up, you’ll want to find a well-ventilated area and maybe lay down some newspaper. You don’t want to breathe in glaze droplets, and newspaper can make cleanup easier.

A person using a spray gun to spray glaze onto pottery tiles

Start the process by straining your glaze with a mesh strainer. This will separate any clumps or hardened glaze pieces from the liquid glaze.

If your strained glaze is too thick, adding water can loosen it up before putting it in your paint sprayer. After you fill the sprayer, you can get to work and spray your pottery piece.

Keep in mind that your distance from your pottery can affect the look that the paint sprayer creates. You’ll get a powdered or airbrushed look if you’re far away. If you’re close, you’ll get a more solid and pigmented look.

7. Drip Glaze Onto Your Pottery

Do you like the look of dripping paint? Well, you can do this with glaze! You only need to dip your brush into the glaze and bring it over to your pottery piece.

Drips of glazing on pottery

But don’t wipe the excess glaze off the brush. Instead, you’ll let the glaze drip from the brush onto your project. It makes perfect drip marks most of the time.

You can also try scraping the glaze-filled brush on the rim of your pottery. The clump of glaze will fall downwards, creating a drip mark.

Be sure to use round brushes for this pottery glaze technique. They make rounded drips and hold the glaze rather well.

8. Try Out Stippling

You’ll find that stippling is a vital technique that artists use in many different mediums, including glaze. It involves making tiny dots to create a pattern or general design. And it’s a tedious yet beautiful technique that produces mind-blowing results.

Applying pottery glaze with detail brushes

If you want to try it out with glaze, you’ll need some detailing brushes.

Simply dip your brush into the glaze and gently place the tip of it onto your pottery. Don’t press down, as this will cause the glaze to spread out. Slightly dab the brush tip.

The result of this pottery glaze technique should be a perfect or near-perfect circular dot. You can continue this process until you create your desired pattern or design.

Outside the Box Pottery Glazing Techniques

9. Glaze Trailing

The pottery glaze technique of glaze trailing, combines wet glaze lines for a melded, streaked look. It’s also known as a glaze-on-glaze technique. You’ll use a precision applicator to squirt lines, dots, and other designs onto your pottery.

Be sure to overlay them on top of each other. It’s also fun to use multiple colors for an intriguing look.

Don’t press the applicator onto the pottery, as you want the streaks to remain raised. When the pottery goes into the kiln, the streaks and designs will flatten and bleed.

The result is highly abstract and strikingly unique. It’ll undoubtedly be a one-of-a-kind pottery piece!

10. Wax Resist Glazing

Are there specific areas that you want to be glaze-free? Maybe you want the outline of your design to be color-free. Or maybe you want tiny details to poke through your glaze. You can easily do this with wax resist!

It’s an easy liquid that you’ll brush onto all the areas you don’t want glazed. And it’ll repel any glaze that touches it. The resulting look is almost like an X-ray.

Using the wax-resist pottery glaze technique is especially great for intricate designs. You won’t need to carefully paint the glaze around them. This can save you time and help you create a stunning design.

11. Bubble Glazing

If you want something completely outside the box, bubble glazing is the perfect pottery glaze technique to try out!

It uses glaze, water, and a few drops of dish soap to create a colorful and sudsy mixture. You’ll want to mix these ingredients in a container until fully combined.

Then, you’ll take some straws, place them into the mixture, and blow into them.

You should see bubbles forming. Hold the bubbly container over your pottery and continue blowing bubbles. They should eventually fall out onto your pottery project and begin popping.

You’ll repeat this process until you reach the desired coverage. After the bubbles pop, they’ll leave behind a beautiful marbled look.

12. Sgraffito Glazing

The technique of sgraffito glazing uses etching or scraping on wet, glazed clay to make grooves. This ultimately removes lines of clay and glaze, creating colorless grooves. You’ll need loop tools for this, as they’ll make clean grooves and they’re easy to use.

To start this pottery glaze technique, you’ll need to apply glaze to your wet clay. Allow the glaze to dry completely.

Then, you can use your loop tool to draw/scrape out a design. After firing your pottery piece, you’ll have sharp, colorless grooves. They provide a nice amount of texture and help your pottery piece pop.

Pottery Glaze Techniques Frequently Asked Questions

How many coats of glaze should you put on your pottery?

The total number of glaze layers is completely up to you! But remember that fewer coats mean the color of your glaze will be lighter.

Generally, three is the perfect number of layers, allowing the true glaze color to come through. Just be sure that you let each layer dry before applying the next one. This ensures evenness.

How do you prevent holes in the glaze coating?

Holes often form in your glaze due to bubbles or trapped debris. Be sure to pop bubbles and remove any grit and debris while glazing.

Holes can also form from uneven glazing due to the glaze drying too fast. Another coat of glaze can usually fix these types of holes. But you may need to work fast to prevent it from happening again.

Why shouldn’t you glaze the bottom of your pottery?

One of the most critical rules of pottery glazing is to never glaze the bottom of your piece. Glaze is essentially glass. And as it melts and fuses in the kiln, it becomes very sticky. And then it hardens as it dries.

Applying glaze to the bottom of your pottery will make it stick to the kiln. It’ll basically get glued to it. Removing your stuck pottery can damage the kiln, and you’ll most likely need to break your pottery piece for removal. Don’t ruin your beautiful pottery with this mistake!

What happens if you put too many coats of glaze on your pottery?

You can expect plenty of cracking and flaking if you apply too many layers of glaze. This can ruin the look of your pottery and make it much more fragile. You can also expect a mess as the glaze pieces slough off. It’s best to use three coats of glaze at the most to prevent this.

Large group of colorful ceramic teapots

Wrapping Up Pottery Glaze Techniques

Using various pottery glaze techniques can help you create professional-looking pottery pieces. Whether you want a uniform look or highly detailed areas, there’s a technique for everything. So, try these glazing techniques out and see which ones you love the most! They’re sure to make your pottery into beautiful and colorful works of art.

Do you need some design ideas for your newly learned glazing techniques? Take a look at our Pottery Glaze Ideas post for some inspiration!