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Wax resist is brushed or dripped on, keeps glaze or slip off that area, and burns off in the firing. It is best suited to bisque and detailed work. They should be allowed to dry thoroughly to minimize the glaze that sticks and has to be wiped off. This type of wax is usually used for foot rings.
Latex resist is also used as a mask, but peeled off prior to firing. This allows you to build up layers of color. It can be used on greenware, bisque and unfired glaze.
Melted wax is not as commonly used for convenience reasons. It is especially good on greenware because it is unaffected by the moisture in the clay. For example, you can draw designs with it, and gently wipe off the surrounding clay to get a raised pattern. It flows readily on bisqueware and unfired glaze. It is not very good for bisque however, because mistakes are difficult to remove.
Latex resist is used as a mask, then peeled off prior to firing.
Don't use good brushes. Latex will eventually ruin your brushes, no matter how well you clean them.
Don't wear nice clothes. Latex will also ruin your clothes.
Mix a little liquid dish soap with water. Before using latex, wet your brush in the soapy water to help with brushability and cleanup (After you're finished use the same soapy water to clean your brushes.) This also helps keep the brush from clogging up.
Work quickly to avoid pulling off dry material as you apply the resist.
Apply 1 thick coat of latex. Thinner coats may be difficult to remove.
When the top surface of the latex begins to yellow, it can be removed using a needle tool to gently lift edges.
Wear a dust mask when removing the latex. Dried glaze particles on top of the latex will create dust.
You may thin latex resist with a little water if necessary.
Dip brushes into dishwashing liquid or soft soap before each use to give them a protective coating (as above.)
Clean with hot water and soap after each use.
Don't use these brushes for anything else. Dip the ends in a specific paint color so you will remember which are for wax.
Liquid hand soap such as Jergens can be used to thin old wax resist.
In a pinch, white "Elmer's" glue will work as a wax resist, but it doesn't bead up nicely and you will have to work harder to wipe the glaze off.
Mix wax resist with oxides and chill them into cubes. When they are firm, grate them with a kitchen grater or low mesh sieve. Add the shavings to your glaze. You can add several different colored shavings and they will stay separated from each other. The wax pieces will float at first, but after a few days can be mixed into the glaze. Then apply your glaze and wait for some unique results!
Of course you can also mask with patterns cut from newspaper (wet before applying) or adhesive-backed shelf paper, rubber bands, narrow graph tape, leaves (plastic are great because they don't fall apart), canvas (especially after embedding the canvas onto the surface of wet clay). Draw designs with wax resist in a slip trailing bottle. Let yourself go wild! What else can you think of?
Send me photos of what you make. I'd love to put them on the web site!