Using overglaze enamels to alter the colour of ceramic pieces

If you follow my blog you will have seen my lamp base and coasters that I made, but I  the pale green colour of the glaze wasn’t right for my room so I decided to use overglaze enamels to make them more blue grey. Then it occurred to me that this was worthy of a blog post as it’s a technique that could be useful to others working with ceramics.

pebble coasters
P1160101However it will only really work on a light coloured glaze and / or clay

I decided to mix the enamel powder with an open oil based medium, this means the enamel doesn’t dry so it can be smoothed and blended easily.

The enamel was mixed with the medium using a palette knife, to a toothpaste consistency. I used a large brush, conditioned with oil and blotted out. You have to paint as dry as possible or the paint will run in the kiln. If you can see an oily shine on your painted area you are using too much oil, it should look quite dull if you are using the right amount of oil.

overglaze enamel

I wanted to keep some ‘sky holes’ as Bob Ross called them so I applied the paint in a cross hatch manner leaving gaps, and not worrying too much about brush strokes. To paint quite dry you have to pull the paint out and spread it with the brush. You get a feel for this with a little practice.

ceramics overglazeThen I smoothed out the paint with the fan brush, and quoting Bob Ross again, ” two hairs and some air” LOL!
porcelain  paintingI did repeat this process again with another shade of blue as I decided it needed to be a little brighter. Then the piece was fired to 780C with a 5 minute soak, this is much lower than a qlaze firing but as you can see I’ve created the desired look, it’s more blue than before.

hand built lamp

fossil pebble coasters

You can read about overglaze painting techniques in my teaching pages.




About eganj1

Obsession making arts crafts, and all things creative
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