I'm looking to start making my own cone 6 glazes. I've been buying commercially made glazes (Coyote, as well as a couple Laguna), but as I sell my work, it's really eating into my profits and I'm looking for a way to bring down my costs so that I can actually be profitable. That being said, I love my color palette and don't want to change it too much. Any glaze recipe suggestions for something close to any of these colors would be most welcomed and save me so much time!
I have never used ready-made glazes. I used to make my own glazes, from A to Z for cones 6 to 8 stoneware in an oxydation firing atmosphere. I also did raku, primitive and reduction firings. I wish I still had my reference book: "The complete compendium to ceramic glazes". That was 25+ years ago and 2 moves later, I no longer have the book.
However, a quick Google search of CONE 6 CERAMIC GLAZE RECIPES turned quite a few interesting sites. When you buy your silica, kaolin, and feldspars in 20 or 50 lb bags, and mineral oxydes by the pound (except cobalt $$$), it is easy to mix 5-gallon pails of reliable glazes. However, remember that your pre-mixed glazes would have to be sieved (400 mesh) before use.
Good luck with finding glaze recipes you like.
I couldn't agree more with Imapigeon about weighing equipment. A good scale is absolutely necessary.
I mixed my glazes in 5-gallon buckets. A few descriptive glaze names like Shiney Bathroom White, Waxy mattte, Crackle Varnish, Aventurine, Sloppy Drip come to mind when I think of my buckets of glazes lined up under my work bench. I was lucky to have found a hardware store that was closing down, so I purchased their ancient, but very accurate Fairbanks-Morse scale that weighed in pounds, ounces and quarter ounces, along with a set of weights. Its accuracy never failed me. They used it in the hardware store to weigh nails, screws, etc. I used it for clays, fluxes, silica, etc.
My metalic salts were weighed in grams using a precise Ohaus gram scale with a vermier dial that could get downright precise in a draft-free environment. I never regretted that purchase - Happy Birthday to me! When I stopped potting, I sold both scales very easily, and at a profit. There was never any doubt in my mind that my glazes, mixed 5 gallons at a time were money savers, even though I had to keep a stock of chemicals on hand. The ferenghi in me was happy with the financial side of all this.
Let's not forget to wear our dust mask when handling those chemicals, though. Dust is insidious and very detrimental to the lungs.
Thanks for all the tips. I do already have a scale and know I'll have to make a bit of an investment to get started making my own glazes, but at $8-16 per pint (so that works out to $64-$128 per gallon) for the commercial glazes I've been using, I'm bound to save money making my own. Thank you Sylvain for the safety reminder on the mask. I use a respirator mask already because I spray my glazes on. Very important though! I've helped make glazes before at an art center I used to go to, so I know a bit about making them, I just haven't wanted to bother making them at home, but the commercial glaze prices have been going up and are just eating my profits.
I know there are lots of glaze recipes out there and doing a google search will yield plenty of results, but most of them don't have pictures of what the glaze actually looks like. I was just hoping maybe someone would know of some recipes that might produce a close color to any that I already use.
You could also buy 'dry' glazes, you'd save $$ on the glaze and the shipping. I tried this recently and honestly found it to be a PITA (pain in the ...) The time spent mixing was probably worth more than the savings ..but I'm a very part time potter so your situation/feelings about it may be different.
Anyway, if you've never mixed your own you may want to try that first just to get the feel for that mixing process. I think coyote sells dry, you may want to try it with a color you are used to so that you can see if you get the same results!
Many of the ingredients are also toxic (i.e. Barium), and you need to not use glazes that contain them inside functional pieces. But you probably already know that!
I started a database of glaze recipes with photos on another site. If you want to DMail me your personal email address I'll send you the link. Dave's won't allow me to put a link to that site on theirs. A lot of my recipes are C9-10 glazes, but some are C5-6.
Oh... and I think they have a lot of cone 6 recipes on this site but I've not looked at the site much since they started charging a membership fee (it's not a high fee but I find plenty of free info on the web and am cheap :-) http://cone6pots.ning.com/
Hey, that's not a bad idea Chrissy! I'm going to look into that, thanks! If not that then I think I'm going to go with an opaque glossy white cone 6 recipe and use Mason's stains to color it. Thoughts?
Folks have already mentioned what a pain it is to make your own glazes, so I'm not gonna bother repeating. But you're in luck if you're looking for a good red ^6 recipe. I too did a lot of searching on the internet and tested a lot of recipes before I came across a red one that actually worked reliably.
If you use the Mason brand #6006 Deep Crimson stain, you will get a cool (pinkish) Candy Apple Red color that looks like name suggests.
If you use Blue Heron brand Dark Red stain, you will get a warm (orange-ish) Apple-for-the-Teacher Red color.
(I specifically mention which brand of stain to use, because they differ quite a bit, brand to brand, even if they have the same name.)
Last time I checked, (it was about a year ago) you could mix up a little over 23 pound batch of those red glazes for about $40, if you invested in purchasing 50 pound bags of each the ingredients (about $100) and stored the leftovers for later use. The most expensive stuff in the glaze are the stains, which actually account for 75% of the cost. The doggone Mason Stain was $22.50 a pound last time I ordered it, and you'll need 1.3 pounds of stain for the (about) 23 pound batch.
The purple you're looking for I can't help with much. I haven't discovered a reliable recipe to get that kind of variegated color yet out of Mason stains. But maybe if you get into playing with stains and different base glazes you'll discover a combo of stains that will get you results similar to that.
If you're serious about mixing your own glazes with the least amount of trouble, I suggest you make that Glossy Base Glaze 2 your go-to glaze. It's great clear with no extra colorants in it - and if you want to start experimenting with stains and oxides, it's the best one to start out with.
***Note that I didn't suggest that you just use the red stains in the Glossy Base glaze***
Some colors, like the reds, oranges, purples and pinks DO NOT WORK without specially formulated base glazes. The Glossy Base will work pretty well with most blues, greens, browns and my favorite bright yellow called Praseodymium.
You are sort of on your own as far as experimenting to see which of the stains (and in what quanity/intensity of color) provide you with the results you want. Since it looks like you want fairly vibrant colors, I'd use at least 5% dry weight to start with and make you adjustments up or down from there. You can make your life a LOT easier with these experiments if you mix a 25 pound (dry) batch of the Glossy Base glaze, sift it together really well, and then make your test batches by measuring out 100 grams of it at a time and adding 5 grams of color. I use 16oz party cups to mix my test batches in. They're cheap, and you can still re-use the cups if you wash them out. You can even store the wet test batches in the cups for later if you pick up a large package of cheap vinyl gloves like these: http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=369875&catid=59970&aid=338666&aparam=369875
and stretch the wrist of the glove over the opening of the cup. They fit perfectly, and you'll spend a lot less than if you went to the trouble of buying a pile of tupperware-ish stuff.
Trust me, I know... I've mixed a lot of test batches of glaze - you can see a batch set I was working on senior year at school in the picture attached below. Oh, and I would recommend you actually write what's in the cup on the cup, and what's on your test tile on your test tile, unlike the number system I used in the picture. Having a paper list that references the numbers to the cup or the tile is worthless if you lose the paper. Writing directly on the tile with RIO and firing your testing notes directly on the tile is the best thing to do. I usually just write:
GBG2 (Shorthand to reference the base glaze I used)
5% Sky (or 10% Yellow or whatever I used)
That way, the tile could sit in your garage for 20 years, and you'll still be able to pick it up and know exactly how to make that color again.
Thanks so much for taking the time to type up all that great info for me! The stain suggestions are very much appreciated and will definitely give me somewhere to start from. That party cup idea must be a universal thing because when I tested glazes at an art center I used to go to that's what we did! Thankfully the teacher I had there has become a sort of mentor to me and I know she'll help me out getting started in all this, but she works with ^10, and doesn't know much about ^6. So thanks for all the suggestions!
By the way, if anyone is interested, I figured up cost per gallon buying pints vs. cost per gallon buying the powder and adding the water for the Coyote glazes and Laguna glazes I use. Here's the info:
Clear -- Per gallon purchasing by the pint $62.40 / Per gallon purchasing 10# of powder $20.27
Oatmeal -- Per gallon purchasing by the pint $69.60 / Per gallon purchasing 10# of powder $24.33
Pansy Purple -- Per gallon purchasing by the pint $112.80 / Per gallon purchasing 10# of powder $67.73
Really Red -- Per gallon purchasing by the pint $136.80 / Per gallon purchasing 10# of powder $97.07
Black -- Per gallon purchasing by the pint $76.80 / Per gallon purchasing 10# of powder $32.80
Spring Green -- Per gallon purchasing by the pint $81.20 / Per gallon purchasing 5# powder $27.10
Wedgewood Blue -- Per gallon purchasing by the pint $62.40 / Per gallon purchasing 5# powder $14.40
The savings is quite significant, though the price per gallon is still high. Do note that the Laguna powder is only offered in 5# and the Coyote powder is offered in 10#. Coyote also offers the powder in 25#, but it only saves a few bucks per gallon. These prices are based on prices at bigceramicstore.com.
You're lucky I'm home and looking for excuses to avoid cleaning out my one "spare" bedroom that I use as my not muddy crafts storage room.
I think you really MIGHT wanna switch to the Apple-for-the-Teacher version of Candy Apple Red instead of using the Coyote if you're looking to cut costs.
So here I am thinking out my logic:
Their Really Red glaze costs $97.07 for 10# of powder
"My" Teacher Apple glaze costs @$40 for 23# of powder
If you could purchase 23 pounds of Coyote Red, multiply $97.07 by 2.3, and you get a cost of $223.10
Then if we go by how many pounds of glaze you get for your buck...
23# Coyote Red = $233.10 going by 2012 Internet prices
23# Teacher Apple = @$40 going by 2011 list prices for ingredients from Bennett's Pottery
I believe if you use the $223.10 you would have spent on readymade Coyote Red to purchase the materials you need to mix Teacher Red - without doing any math, I am FAIRLY certain you could mix up at least 60# of dry red glaze.
In the end, the thing you should do is mix up some test batches, and see if you want to replace the Coyote Red with any of the recipe suggestions I've made.
Honestly, the Teacher Apple Red is not the super commercial glossy red that looks like a machine made it, such as the Coyote Red. It's also not like something you might come across in one of those paint-your-own places that only fires to ^06. However, that is precisely the reason I like it so much. It is a great bright red, that could easily be considered Fire Engine if used in the right context. Teacher Apple is a sensible bright red, that has a potter-ly look to it - which I really enjoy.
What a lucky person you are, SRumburg and whomever might read this thread. I even dragged out my camera and snapped some pictures of what test tiles I had in my garage for you.
The first picture is Teacher Apple Red - which is this glaze's new name, because the colorant makes it so different from Mr. Campbell's Candy Apple. The type of clay it's on it B-Mix, which is an extremely light, almost white stoneware. The way I test the intensity of the glaze is apply 3 brush coats of the glaze using a hake brush. The first coat goes on the entire tile. Second coat covers the top two thirds if the tile. Third coat covers only the top third of the tile. I also do both sides of the tile.
The second picture is the notations I made on the tile. The original Candy Apple tile is at the studio, which was also labeled with RIO as Candy Apple Red. The two different colorants were tested far enough between firing that I knew which was which, so the Candy Apple with Blue Heron stain in it was marked with permanent marker after firing.
The third picture is the GBG2 recipe I gave earlier with 3% Sky Blue stain in it, on a clay called "55", which is a light buff stoneware with minor speckling. I would bet a million bucks that it's Blue Heron brand Sky Blue, though. See? I didn't mark it, and now I don't know - because I know I have tested both brands. When I look at the pix in the Axner catalogue, I'd go with Blue Heron as the source... GBG2 is a transparent glaze, but the thicker you apply the colored versions, the more intense the colors will be. I went up to 5%, which I think I liked better, but that tile is also at the studio or buried too far in the garage. If I had used the B-Mix clay for the tile, the color of the GBG2 Sky would be even brighter.
EDITED TO SAY:
"Holy smokes, that red looks a helluvalot brighter in the pic on my computer screen than it does in real life. It practically does rival exact Coyote Red results in the PICTURE. Pay more attention to the way I described it earlier."
Well, John C. Campbell came up with the base recipe. I the only thing I changed was the colorant. I suppose if you wanted to give it a fun name to merit both of us, maybe you could call it Johnny Rose Red. I still think Teacher Apple Red is a better name for it. More descriptive of what it actually looks like...
Chrissy, I'd be willing to bet that this glaze would come out well with slight variations on the color between the ^4 to ^7 range.
And I hope y'all who wanna try mixing your own glazes,
BE PREPARED WITH:
HIGH QUALITY RESPIRATORS - I can't stress this enough. Don't use those cheap white disposable things, they don't do a good job with clay particles. They don't stay on your face real well and it's really hard to not make clouds of dust when measuring out materials. They'll sneak around those cheap masks and could really do a number on your respiratory system if you accidentally get some in there. Trust me, wanna hear a OMG story? Well, I was handmixing only one or two test batches in the party cups, and was using the shake mixer to do it, and didn't throw on my mask because I was like, "I'll be careful, it's only two". The moment I stuck the shake mixer into the cup with the powder and water in it, a big POUF of powder flew right straight up my nose! I was horribly ill for about three days with the worst flu-like symptoms I've ever had, and I wondered if I was ever going to breathe normally again. It took over a week to get better. So please for the love of whatever you find sacred, get and wear your RESPIRATORS.
at least THREE 5 GALLON BUCKETS - and that's just for the mixing process. You'll need more buckets than that to store your glazes in.
A GLAZE SIEVE
a WIRE BASKET that fits in the 5 gallon buckets to use as a sifter, or an extra large baking sifter from a specialty baking shop that has a handle that turns around in a circle inside the sifter. Do not use a baking sifter that has a handle that you squeeze to turn circular "blades" on the bottom, because they jam up in nuthin' flat.
an electric handheld POWER DRILL that plugs into the wall. Battery operated hand drills aren't strong enough to mix glaze.
a GLAZE MIXING ATTACHMENT
a small handheld SHAKE MIXER like you would use to make smoothies in a cup. They fit perfectly in those 16oz party cups.
big PLASTIC TUBS WITH LIDS to store your extra bulk materials
AND PLENTY OF ROOM TO WORK when those sacks of materials arrive!
I'm sure there's plenty more I could think of, but that scattered craft room is begging me to pay attention to it. At least I have a plan!
FYI: I get my buckets for a buck ($1) at the local grocery store, the deli and bakery sell all their used ones (the bakery ones tend to smell like frosting :-) My store keeps them up by the checkout area (they aren't always available but I watch for them), if your store doesn't do this maybe ask at the bakery or deli what they do with theirs!
I pay for black buckets because my studio is semi-outside with a ton of light coming in. I use the black buckets for my glazes to avoid getting algae growth. I think it's well worth the expense. For clay I don't care, as the algae just makes it better. In glazes, it adds tiny chunks that I don't want to deal with, especially when I'm spraying glaze. It can be so fine it won't even sieve out, but it'll screw up a spray nozzle in a heartbeat.
I also buy Gamma Lids for all my buckets. You can get them at Amazon. They're about $11 each, but they last for years and years, and seal really well. I use them for glaze, clay AND large quantities of dry glaze ingredients.