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Re: [teacherartexchange] Finishes for clay


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Apr 20 2007 - 11:15:25 PDT

Heather Hayes wrote:

>My kiddos have fallen in love with clay this year . . . .
>Suggestions for good ways to finish off these projects? Most aren't
>food/water vessels, so anything could be used. (I've reserved the
>last little bits of glaze for the food vessel projects.) . . .

When clay is painted, we call it room temperature glazing.

One method uses acrylic as a base coat. Let it dry, then put on a contrasting tone and wipe it off before it dries to bring out the texture.

Bisque or painted bisque can be waxed. Paste waxes (sold for wood) can be colored with old crayons, but the wax color preparation needs to be done by an adult. For safety to avoid blowups and serious burns, waxes have to be just barely melted with thermostatic control as in slow cooker, or in an improvised double boiler. It is very dangerous to overheat waxes. 200 F should be the limit.

Once colored waxes are prepared, paste waxes can be used at room temperature. These methods need lots of old rags to wipe and polish the pots and sculptures. Old bristle brushes or cheap throw away brushes can get color into the crevices of the bisque ware.

Laundry detergent and boiling hot water will clean wax out of the old brushes.

Our students often make bisque ware stain for sculptures using iron oxide powder and water as a cheap stain. They wipe it off with a damp sponge to bring out the texture. Then they seal it with clear wax or acrylic medium thinned and brushed on. Clear spray (used outdoors for air safety) is another sealer (used after the stained piece is dry.


Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
studio phone: 574-533-0171??
"Art is me when I am myself." ... a kindergarten girl when asked, "What is art?"
"You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before." ... a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.

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