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Pottery Glazing Techniques

There are many different pottery glazing techniques used by artisans throughout the world. While some pottery glazing techniques may require overly expensive materials, there are several that are great for beginners. Below are some of the top pottery glazing techniques for you to try out:


Overglazing is one of the simplest pottery glazing techniques, because it is a one-step decorating option. An overglaze is a vitreous substance that you will apply with a paintbrush to bisque wear (pottery that has already been fired once). Its color will be a bland shade of gray, beige, or even blue, before you fire it, which will bear no resemblance to the final look. Once you fire the pottery for the second time, the glaze will fuse to the pottery permanently as a glass covering.

An overglaze will not only add color to your pottery, but it will also add a glossy finish that will make your pieces look professional, no matter how new you are to pottery. Overglazes also have additional benefits. These include waterproofing your pottery as well as strengthening it because it is a contiguous coating of glass that is fused to the pottery surface.


Underglazes are typically true-to-life colors that you will apply with a smaller paintbrush in the detailed design of your choice. Use a pencil to sketch out your design on the plate or dish before you begin to decorate it. The pencil will burn off in the kiln when you fire your pottery, so you do not need to worry about erasing it.

If you make a mistake while applying the underglazes, carefully remove the glaze using a sponge and water. If you do not remove all of it prior to firing your piece of pottery again, that smudge will become a permanent part of your pottery. You may find it easier to complete your design if you use smaller brushes, particularly on complicated designs.

When you have finished applying the underglaze to your ceramic dish, plate, bowl, or other piece, it is time to fire your work for a second time. This will permanently affix the underglaze to your ceramic pottery. Unlike overglazes, however, underglazes, do not provide a shiny finish or waterproofing to your pottery. Use a clear overglaze for these benefits. Using an overglaze can also make your dishes and mugs safe for you to eat and drink from since they keep the pottery from being porous.

Tips For Pottery Glazing Techniques

Here are a few tips to help you with you pottery glazing techniques…

  • Remember that the glaze may appear differently on your curved piece of pottery than it did on the sample tile that you saw in the craft store or online. Make test tile by rolling out flat pieces of clay and then deliberately curving them. Fire them and then use them to test out any pottery glazing techniques before applying them to the pottery pieces that you have worked so hard to create.
  • Not all glazes need to be fired at the same temperature for the same amount of time. Check the instructions that accompany each glaze for details regarding how to correctly fire your pottery.

Related YouTube Videos

Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.