You are here:

Pottery/Stannous Chloride Luster Effect


Hi.I want to know more about history of using tin chloride for making luster effects.I need some references, could you please help me about it?

Dear Hanieh,

Thank you for your recent question. I have listed some references for you concerning the history of Stannous Chloride Luster as well as some recipes and techniques that you can use.


Additional Information

True luster glazes are not actually a glaze but rather a technique. Although there are commercial luster glazes available as well as studio glaze recipes, these create an overall luster that is often very garish and over lustered. Studio glaze recipes are often difficult to produce because although the glaze is duplicated from one studio to another, the firing technique is often not explained adaquately and therefore the glaze will often not turn out.

   I will explain all of the techniques in getting a luster glaze so that you can choose which one is right for you.

   Commercial luster glazes, such as Duncan's Mother of Pearl is an overglaze that is applied to pre-fired glazes to create a luster look. The glaze is fired to cone 020 maturity.

   Studio luster glazes are applied either to the surface of underglazes and fired to maturing temperature or used alone over the surface of a colored clay. I have listed some beautiful metallic luster glazes that you may be interested in.

   From Ceramics Today -

   METALLIC GREEN - This metallic luster glaze looks awesome on clays with iron - Lagunaís Electric Brown, Hawaiian and Standardís 266 Brown or over engobes or stains made from red iron oxide. Both the Sky Blue and Ocean variations also produce metallic lusters and look best on iron rich clays, stains and engobes. Three brushed-on coats really cover well; if more translucency is desired, one heavy or two lighter coats do the trick.


Frit 3269...........27.0%
Laguna Borate.......15.0%


Brushing Medium.......1.8% [add if brushing]



Base Recipe Mix


Tin Oxide......... 6.8%
Copper Carbonate......4.8%



Base Recipe Mix


Tin Oxide..........6.8%
Copper Carbonate........3.0%
Cobalt Carbonate.......1.5%



Base Recipe Mix


Tin Oxide............7.0%
Copper Carbonate.........4.0%
Cobalt Carbonate......... 1.0%



Lithium Carbonate 5.26 %
Whiting 2.11%
Nepheline Syenite  55.79%
Kaolin 26.32%
Silica  10.52%
Total 100%
(Optional) Add : soda ash 5.26%


The following recipes are raku glaze recipes.
Note: Luster are not always easy to control. The best way to achieve an intense surface is to do a total reduction with minimal combustibles.

Diane's Rainbow

Gerstly borate  300
Flint  100
Nepheline Syenite  100
Spodumene  150
Lithium Carbonate 100
Copper Carbonate 30



Gerstley Borate 80%  
Cornwall stone  20%  
Copper Carbonate  2%  



Gerstley Borate 80
Nepheline Syenite 20  
Yellow ochre 8  
Copper Carbonate 4
Cobalt Carbonate 1


LUCY'S LUSTER (by vol.) (parts)

Black copper oxide 2 Cups (or Copper Carbonate. 4 cups)
Gerstly borate 6 cups
F-4 Feldspar 1 cup



Colemanite  75%
F/4 Soda Spar 25%
Copper Carb 3.0%
Manganese Dioxide  1.5%


Lizard Skin Raku Glaze:

Borax  8.4%
Colemanite  58.8%
Lithium Carbonate  12.6%
Magnesium Carbonate  3.4%
Nepheline Sy  16.8%
Total:  100%
Add: Copper Carbonate 3%


Lemon Luster

Gerstley Borate 1500  
Copper Carbonate 45  
Manganese Dioxide  20  



Gerstley Borate 80%
Nepheline Syenite 20%
Total 100%
Yellow Ochre 9%
Manganese Dioxide 11%


Kevin Van Winkle's Wonder Black  

80/20 Base    
Red Iron Oxide 4%
Manganese  3%
Cobalt Oxide 2%
Copper Carbonate  4%


Pale Lemon Luster Raku

Colemanite 75
Soda Feldspar  25

Copper Carbonate. 3.0
Manganese Dioxide 1.5


Copper luster Raku Glaze

Colemanite 82
Cornwall stone 18

Cobalt Carb 3
Copper Carb 5


Pale Aqua Luster Raku

Colemanite 25
Cornwall Stone 75

Cobalt oxide 0.1
Copper Carb 3.00


Copper Luster (reduce in sawdust)

Gerstley Borate  80
Cornwall Stone  20
Add: Copper Carbonate  3
Red Iron Oxide 1

For Gold Luster add 5% silver nitrate instead, reduce in straw


Other Lusters
Over Glaze Lusters are lusters which are placed over a fired underglaze.

Turquoise lusters

Copper sulfate or cupric chloride  10
Fritt 3110 5


Brownish Purple

Manganese dioxide 10
Fritt 3110 5


Gold Iridescence

Bismuth Subnitrate  10
Frit 3110  5
Silver Nitrate  10



   The following luster effect is actually just that, an effect caused by application of a chemical to a hot piece of pottery. Performed by firing a pottery piece in a raku or electric kiln, the piece is removed from the kiln in a molten state and sprayed with the chemical.

PLEASE NOTE: This process, although exciting and beautiful is extremely dangerous due to toxic fumes. All those present during the process should wear masks and appropriate clothing to protect from fumes and overspray. This should not be ignored.

Stannous Chloride Luster Effect

   Fire pottery in a raku or electric kiln to maturing temperature. Remove the a piece of pottery using raku tongs and raku gloves. Using a spray bottle, lightly spray the pottery with stannous chloride to create a luster rainbow effect. Spray until desired results are achieved. Note: Too much stannous chloride will create a milky white cover.

Iron Chloride Effect

   Following the instructions for firing stannous chloride luster effect, remove a piece of pottery and spray with iron chloride.

   I hope this information helps you in achieving the desired luster effect. Practice on pieces of pottery shards or tiles until you find the effect or glaze that you are wanting. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at any time. Much luck to you.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ti Phillips


Will answer any questions on hand building, wheel, glaze, firing. Speciality questions to include those in glaze calculation and development, firing techniques. Please do not send questions on identifying pottery. Although I would love to add this to my question topics, I have a retreat to run as well as the studio and volunteering on AllExperts, and therefore do not have the available time to research indentification and marks. Thank you for understanding.


Experience includes 30 years in pottery design and education. Have taught online and studio classes worldwide for the last 20 years. Own a pottery retreat specializing in firing techniques. Have 12 years solid experience in glaze calculation and formulation as well as problem solving in glaze chemistry. I am the first potter in the United States to have developed a complete package of pottery equipment blueprints for a studio. The blueprints include wheels, kilns, studio furniture, wedgeboards, raku kilns, slab rollers, ball mills and studio tools.

Alliance of Pottery Artists Worldwide Association

Ceramic Industry - PPP Wyndstryder Press - Pottery Journal

University of Sciences and Art's of Oklahoma, studied under Professor Jaymes Dudding.

Awards and Honors
Potter of the year with APAWA, various awards for showmanship and design.

Past/Present Clients
Available upon request.

©2016 All rights reserved.