How to Use Iron Oxide in Ceramics


Iron oxide powder can be used in many different methods to apply color to ceramics. Iron oxide can create shades of red, black and yellow, as well as many colors in between, depending on the firing temperature. You can combine application techniques to create varied and unique designs and patterns for your creations using some basic steps for applying iron oxide to your ceramics.

Things You'll Need

  • Ceramic - fired or unfired
  • Iron oxide powder
  • Slip
  • Dowel to stir slip
  • Glaze
  • Brushes for glaze
  • Sponge
  • Newspaper
  • Kiln

Mix Iron Oxide Into Glaze

  • Measure out the glaze and add oxide powder accordingly. For example, 1/2-cup glaze would get about 1/4-tsp. iron oxide powder.

  • Brush the glaze onto the fired ceramic's surface.

  • Allow each coat to dry before applying the next. Apply two to three coats, depending on the thickness of the glaze. Smooth out imperfections in the glaze surface with your fingers before applying the next coat.

  • Allow glaze to dry before firing in the kiln.

Mix Iron Oxide with Slip

Apply Iron Oxide Under Glaze

  • Mix iron oxide powder with water until it is the consistency of watercolor paint -- slightly transparent when spread on a surface.

  • Apply oxide mixture to the fired ceramic surface, using a brush or piece of foam. Dab or stroke the iron oxide "paint" in the desired design.

  • Allow the "paint" to dry completely before applying the glaze. Or, if you want the paint to run into the glaze, apply the glaze when the paint is still wet.

  • After glazing is completed, fire the ceramic as usual.

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