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Pottery/Dried Stains and Glazes


Two part question.  I see from another question that bisque paints can be saved if dried up....what about the stains?  The second part of the question is:  Can these paints be used for other purposes.  My interest in ceramics/pottery has changed over to mixed media art work and I don't know if the paints could be used similar to acrylics.  I ask because I don't know exactly what those paints are made out of. Thank you for your help.

Dear Ann,

    Thank you for your recent questions. Bisque "paints" and stains are actually just glazes. They are made from powdered oxide materials that include silica, alumina and a melting oxide or flux. For those that have color, and coloring oxide is added. For those that have characteristics such as crackling, specific oxides are added to create the characteristic during the firing process.

    A glaze is created from a recipe made up of carefully calculated percentages of each oxide to obtain the desired results at a specific cone or maturing temperature. Because glazes can mature at different temperatures, depending on their chemical makeup, we call them glazes, not paints, and they are also applicable to green ware as well as bisque, creating a one step process.

   As for your question concerning dried glazes, they have only lost their water content. Unfortunately, it will be a guess as to the amount of water you will need to add to reconstitute them. Since you do not have the original recipe, or if they are manufactured glazes, I suggest your using the following as a base for adding water to the glaze.

    1. Scrape all of the glaze to the bottom of the jar.
    2. Add just enough water to cover the top of the glaze. If the water doesn't absorb immediately and just sits on top of the glaze, then only add enough to create a 1 cm surface.
    3. Wait 24 hours and examine the glaze for absorption. Using a toothpick, press the point into the glaze. If it sinks into the glaze easily to the bottom, the glaze is ready to have additional water added to create a slurry for painting on green ware or bisque. Go to step 4. If the toothpick will not go into the glaze easily to the bottom, go to step 2.
    4. Since we are unsure of the amount of dry glaze in the container, estimate the amount in the container and begin with the following:
         Ounce Containers - Add 1/4 ounce of water for every ounce of glaze
         Pint Containers - Add 1/4 cup of water for every cup of glaze
         Gallon Containers - Add 1 cup of water for every gallon of glaze
    5. Wait 24 hours and examine the glaze for absorption. This time, use a metal spoon to stir the glaze. If the glaze stirs easily and creates a mixture with the consistency of buttermilk, the glaze is ready perfect for applying. Continue to mix, or shake the container with the lid on, until the water and glaze has mixed completely. If the glaze will not stir or is hard to stir and clumpy and thick, repeat step 4 and 5.

    As to your second question, glazes are not like acrylics. They are oxides that must be melted in order to create a glass like material or coating. If you were to paint them onto another media, other than green ware or bisque, and not fire them, then the glaze would dry out as they did in the containers and you would be left with a powdery film on your work.

    My suggestion to you is to either sell your glazes if you do not intend on using them. There are many potters who would gladly take them off your hands. Or, try to incorporate pottery or ceramics into your new media. For instance, creating hand built leafs for an accent around a picture frame of a drawing you completed. Or making small broken glazed tiles to create a mosaic. There are many ways to incorporate clay and glazes into other media forms. Just use your imagination.

    I hope this helps you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me again at any time. I am always at your service. Good luck with your new work!

Ms. Ti Phillips
Earth Stoke 'N Fire Pottery Studio and Artist Retreat  


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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.

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