Big Ceramic Store Blog

Making Slip From Your Clay Body

Do you use slip for trailing or painting on your pots? Have you ever wanted to add some raised texture or heavy lines? One of the best ways I've found to do it is to use slip. Whether you trail it on, paint it on, or add it to the surface of the entire piece for dimension, slip is an amazing asset to your supply collection!

Commercial slips like Laguna Glacier White, can be purchased pre-mixed and ready to go. Adding stains, or oxides, you can make pretty much any color under the sun. Test firing will need to be done, to ensure it will adhere to your clay body, and for an accurate sample of the fired color.

I prefer to make my own for a few reasons,

  • It will mesh with my piece since it's the same clay body
  • I like to "mix it up a bit" with colors, so using my clay scraps is cheaper, and uses them up

Are you ready to make a few of your own slips? Grab your coffee and follow me out to the studio!Today, we're going to make green slip by using a mason stain, but you can use oxides as well. Remember, oxides have a tendency to change more than the mason stains when fired, so test, test, test!

Let's start with how to prepare the clay...

  • Put bone dry clay scraps in an empty bucket
  • Using some sort of tool, bust it up into pieces the size of a pea or smaller

pebbles

  • Separate the clay into containers for coloring

Ok, now let's add some color... You can get all technical and measure your slip, water and colorant, or you can do what I do... Wing It! (Oh, did I mention, if you do it technical, it's a LOT easier to duplicate as long as you keep records.)

  • Using distilled water, guess at how much you will need to cover the clay in your container, and put that in a mixing container
    • Distilled water for glaze and slip mixing helps prevent unwanted elements affecting the outcome
    • Also, zinc free glazes work best. If your cover glaze has zinc, it may affect the fired color of the slip... it dulls and grays the oxide/stain

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  • Add the colorant to the water and mix well

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  • Pour the colored water over the clay just enough to cover it

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  • Stir the mixture and set it aside for a bit (overnight works well)
  • When the clay and colorant have settled, siphon off extra water and set aside. Add it back in to slip if it's too thick

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p1

  • Mix slip with a whisk, adding reserved water as needed, then run it through a 60 mesh sieve

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  • When it's a nice creamy concoction, your colored slip is ready to use! Store it in an airtight container for months!

Join us next week, when we will go over multiple uses for your slip. We'll trail it, brush it, and maybe even dip a little! See you then!

 

2 thoughts on “Making Slip From Your Clay Body”

  • teresa | #

    I am using Georgies timberline grogged clay for handbuilding a large piece, the grog is showing so I bought the same clay without grog and thought id make a slip from it to cover my pot, i want to know if I can whiten it more by adding some Kaolin or tin oxide and is so how much would I use?
    Thanks for your help
    teresa

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