Question:

How do I add texture?

Cloth/slip textures

Any type of cotton or cloth will burn out during the firing process. For a different effect, you can try soaking cloth or cotton in slip and adding it to your piece for decoration. During the firing process it will fire out leaving just the thin layer of clay that it originally absorbed. Most people think that this only applies to porcelain, but it can be used with ceramic slips as well.

Carving without burrs

When carving into leather hard clay, first cover the surface with plastic Wrap. You can draw your pattern on it with a marker. And when you carve there will be no burrs.

Simple textured slabs

Go collecting:
Leaves, flowers, pieces of wood, wire, shapes, kitchen tools, doilies, tablecloths any thing with texture are all great for imprinting onto clay.
Roll your slab, approx 3/4" thick, then place your texture items on the slab and roll to approx 1/2"thick, it is now ready to use.
You can place it in a slump or hump mold. Do a basic cylinder, cut into small shapes for jewelry etc.
Remember nothing beats a handmade gift, and with thought you will find the perfect thing for any individual.

Random texture

For random textured slabs, impress food objects such as coffee grounds, wheat bran, and rice. Just make sure you don't get pieces of rice entrapped in clay or they may cause an explosion when firing. .

A different texture

You know those rolls of rubbery stuff you can buy to cover your shelves to cushion glasses and plates? They make great texture when rolled into slabs.

Burnishing

The technique of burnishing pottery can be traced back to ancient times. Burnishing involves no more than rubbing the clay surface with a smooth tool to produce a mirror-smooth surface. In reality it has a compressing effect on the clay particles. It can be done when the clay surface is leather hard and up until it is almost completely dry. Most clays are suitable for burnishing although the finer the clay the smoother the burnished surface. Suitable tools for burnishing include: Smooth rounded beach pebbles, The convex side of metal spoons and smooth knife handles. After the pot is smooth, draw your design with lead pencil then scratch around design with a knife. Designs can either be geometric or organic. Once the pot has been blackfired it can be left without further treatment or polished with oils to enhance the shine.

Vermiculite

To add texture to clay, try using perlite or vermiculite available at your garden center. Or, try popped popcorn.

Test tile attributes

Texture: It is generally a good idea to add texture to part of your test piece so you can see how the glaze will respond to texture and carvings.
Holes: Put a hole somewhere to hang your tiles on a wall board or to hang off the handle of the bucket.
Marking: Put some type of word or code that reminds what glaze this was, what clay it was on, and perhaps even firing temperature. Or simply number them and keep the details in a notebook by number.(One way to number is with one of those adjustable rubber stamps, the ones with wheels to change the number).
Dipping: Usually best to do three dips. First dip covers the whole area. Second dip covers 2/3 of the area. Third dip covers half the previous dip. So you have 1/3 with 1 coat, 1/3 with 2 coats, and 1/3 with 3 coats. (Keep the thickest coat the furthest from the kiln shelf in case it runs)
Layer multiple glazes:
For example, take a circle, dip 1/3 in glaze 1, dip 1/3 in glaze 2 (overlapping glaze 1), dip 1/3 in glaze 3 (overlapping glaze 2 on one side and glaze 1 on the other). So you get 3 solid colors, plus 3 overlap colors. Another example: take a square, dip ½ in glaze 1, turn, dip ½ in glaze 2. At this point you have two solids, plus 1 solid over the other. For the 4th section you could try layering the opposite way (glaze 1 over glaze 2 instead of glaze 2 over glaze 1), have an underglaze coat, or introduce a texture or a third color.
Other layering effects: For example, undercoat a section with underglaze, or paint an iron oxide and a cobalt oxide line so you can see if the oxide runs or stays put during firing.

Duplicating cloth

To replicate the look of cloth, I would suggest using a very light cloth, and dipping it in a slip made of your body clay and water, make to a thick paste. The cloth will burn off in the kiln.

Texture tools

Use your imagination! Almost every household item or kitchen gadget you have will create a different texture when used on greenware. You may try dipping the various tools in slip as well to create designs.

Attractive edges on plates

Attractive edges on plates or special designs on vases are possible by sponging colour through plastic or other doilies.

Easy Relief Surfaces

How to do Easy Relief Surfaces
Flowers, abstract geometry, letters, anything -- making complex relief surfaces on your pots, tiles or sculptures is easy using shellac. This technique is especially suited to fine clays like porcelain or porcelaineous stoneware, but could be used on just about any clay.
Here's How:
Dissolve shellac flakes to a thin, creamy consistency in Methylated Spirits (Alcohol).
Paint your designs with various brush sizes on to bone dry greenware.
If necessary apply a couple of coats. This will depend on the initial consistency of the shellac.
Let the shellac dry thoroughly. If you're in a hurry, you can use a hair dryer set to 'hot'.
Carefully wipe back layers of clay with a wet sponge. The clay will stay raised where you have applied the shellac.
After drying, the process may be repeated for layers of various depths.
Decorate, glaze and fire as usual.
Tips:
Be careful not to use too much water at any one time, otherwise cracks may appear, especially on thin ware.
Further effects can be achieved by additional carving.
Try experimenting with other nontraditional resist materials, like house paint!

Ceramics Frequently Asked Questions

What precautions should I take in the studio?

How do I decorate my ware?

How do I apply Lustres?

How do I market my ceramics?

How do I apply glaze?

How do I market my ceramics?

How do I fire porcelain?

How do I cast slip?

How do I fire an electric kiln?

How do I apply glaze?

What are some stoneware glazes?

What Precautions when using dry ingredients?

How do I apply glaze?

How do I apply opaque stains ?

How do I wedge clay?

How do I apply Stains?

What is Lustre?

What should I keep in mind when designing my studio?

How do I make a coil pot

How do I decorate my ware?

How do I make molds?

What is Clay?

How do I apply glaze?

What is a decal?

How do I clean Greenware?

How do I add texture?

How do I centre my clay?

What tools do I need to start potting?

How do I start a business?

How do I best promote myself and my work?

How do I load my kiln?

What are ceramics

Where do I start?

How do I make a simple mold?

How do I fire Decals?

How can I make a mould?

What are some life quotes?

What is underglaze?

What is Porcelain

How do I care for my brushes?

How do I care for my molds?

What is Celadon?

What is the Tea Ceremony?

How do I care for my kiln?

How do I apply one-strokes?

What safety aspect should I keep in mind when working with glazes?

How do I apply Lustres?

What is Overglaze?

What are oxides?

How do I fire Bisque?

Where do I begin?

What should I remember when firing the kiln?

How do I clean brushes?

How do I slump/sag glass?

How do I apply overglazes?

How do I best publicise my business?

How do I make a simple plaster mold?

How do I care for my brushes?

Are stains safe.

How do I fire overglazes/lustres?

What is a reduction firing?

How do I doccument my work?

How do I create fine feature lines?

How and when sholuld I apply underglazes?

How do I make molds?

What is an engobe?

Are they Water or oil base stains?

How do I hold my brush?

How do I store my Materials?

Are any two kilns are exactly alike?

What is mould in clay?

What is a Pyrometric Cone?

Do I need a cone?

how do I throw clay?

Can I use sand to stop glaze running onto shelves

How do I test my glazes?

How do I apply China Paints?

Does greenware need to be dry before loading?

What are some life quotes?

What is the history of the Potter´s Wheel?

How do I fire lustre?

What is a glaze?

How do I fire lustres?

What is The History of the Way of Tea

What is Celadon (Cheong-Ja) - the Stuff of Kings?

How do I dry overglazes?

What is a glaze?

How do I Burnish?

What is an overglaze marbleizer?

Is there a trick toThrowing Porcelain?

Have you some lovely words?

What is Earthenware?

What is a glaze?

What are some stoneware glazes?

How do I paint Eyes?

How do I Recycle Clay

How do I attach wet pieces?

How do I make a teapot?

How do I make a plaster mold

What are some good tools for decoration?

What is Kiln Wash?

How do I glaze my ware?

How do I slipcast ceramics?

What are some life quotes?

how do I dry my ware?

How do I fire my ware?

How do I apply texture to my piece?

What is a Glost firing?

How do I make my own glazes?

What are some change quotes?

How do I store my tools?

What is the history of Raku?

What is Paperclay

What is a crackle glaze?

Do I need kiln wash for bisque?

How do I refire a glazed piece ?

What is reduction?

What must I remember when Raku firing?

How do I add decoration to my ceramics?

How do I care for my elements?

Does over firing produce poor colour in coloured glaze?s

How do I use my brush?

How do I care for my brushes?

How do I recycle clay?

What are some success quotes?

What is a glaze?

How do I clean Greenware?

How do I make coils?

What are some Black Firing Tips and Tricks?

What is the safest way to pack my ceramics?

What are Formulated clays?

How do I do a reduction firing?

automatic kiln sitter, should I trust it?

How do I care for my molds?

What are some tips for draining a mold?

What is a decal?

What safety measures should I take with Raku Firing?

How do I attach a bat to the wheelhead?

What tools do I need for ceramics

What are suggested plate clay weights?

What do I need to get started?

What are observation holes ?

What tools do I need to make a coil pot

How do I fire ceramic bisque ?

How do I recycle batches of clay quickly

How do I care for my molds?

How do I fire my ware?

How do I roll a slab?

How do I fire my kiln?

What is the correct firing time?

How to I prepare and make slabs?

What is Leatherhard ?

What materials are toxic in Ceramics?

How do I fire glaze?

What are slabs?

What is Korean celadon?

How do I fire Raku?

How do I make paperclay?

Can Crackle glazes be used for food?

How do I avoid S cracks in wheel thrown ware

how do I apply glazes?

How do I get the press onside?

How do I open-up the clay?

How do I fire Reds/Yellows?

What is a glaze?

How do I fire Ceramic glaze ?

Can I repair my kiln?

What are the Approx. firing times?

Ho do I avoid pitting and pinholes?

How do I make throwing ribs?

What is Stoneware?

How do I care for my molds?

How do I apply kiln wash?

What is a Stain?

What is a mold?

How do I decorate my ceramics?

How do I remove mold lines?

How do I cut the spare?

What is a ´good teapot´?

How do I Bisque fire in an electric kiln?

How do I keep a kiln log?

How do I paint Eyes?

How do I decorate my ceramics?

How do I apply crackle glazes ?

What is Primary clay?

What are some easy projects?

What is Thermal Shock?

What effects can I achieve with a brush?

What are cones?

How do I Drain small pour holes?

What is Glaze?

What is Raku?

How do I remove a stuck lid?

How do I glaze my ware?

How do I make Egyptian Paste?

How do I apply texture?

What is overglaze/lustre?

Must my kiln be level?

How do I make my own brushes?

What clay should I use?

How do I apply a decal?

How do I clean my greenware?

What is Agate ware?

How do I care for my new Kiln?

How do I make stamps?

How do I load my kiln?

How long do I fire bisque?

How do I promote my work?

can I draw directly onto a piece?

How do I increase my profile?

How do I fire different bodies?

what is porcelain?

How do I make test tiles?

What is Earthenware?

What is the humming in my new kiln?

What should I remember when firing a new kiln?

How do I mend Greenware?

how do I get the best results in glazing?

How do I prevent dirt on my greenware?

How do I accomodate Clay Storage in my studio?

How do I fire Larger pieces ?

How do I prevent sagging during firing?

How do I brush one-strokes?

How do I load my brush for applying underglaze?

How do I mend molds?

Why should I use pottery plaster?

What is the coat coverage ?

How do I prevent glazes from settling ?

How do I fire lace figurines?

What is Albany slip?

How do I create a woodtone effect?

How do I light my Gas Kiln?

What is a pyrometer?

What is a Binder?

What is a glaze?

What are some Doing well Quotes?

What is Slip casting?

What is a Rib?

What is a Bisque?

How do I care for my elements?

How do I fire porcelain?

How do I store my throwing tools?

What is the History of tea?

What is the history of Ceramics?

Why do I get black spots in my glaze?

How do I fire flat pieces?

What is Terra-Sigillata?

What are Pyrometric Cones?

What is Iron Oxide?

How do I load my kiln for a glaze firing?





Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Ceramics Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!


Guru Spotlight
Lynne Christen