Tip #88: Mason Stains: What's going on?
If you use Mason Stains, you need to read this!
Up until last year, Mason Color had approximately 150 colors of ceramic stains. This wasn't all planned out; colors got created through the years for various reasons and never really went away. For example, sometimes there were several colors that were duplicates except for having different densities, so you just had to add more or less to achieve the same color.
Having so many colors posed a number of problems. First, it was a lot for Mason to stock. Then each ceramic supplier had a lot to stock (we have to purchase each color in 10# increments.) Since it didn't make sense to stock all 150 colors based on the amount of sales, we would each choose which ones we thought would sell. And as a result, you often had to go to several different suppliers to get the colors you wanted.
Mason has now reduced the number of stains by about half. They've pared it down to what I'll call the "base colors". Many of the other colors can be made by blending together the right amount of base colors. Mason gives the formulas for blending all these colors on their website. Also, some of the blended colors are still available until Mason (or your favorite ceramic supplier) runs out of stock. (It is possible that ceramic suppliers will continue to blend colors themselves, but so far everyone we've talked to is planning on phasing over to the base colors.) There are 17 colors that have been completely discontinued and cannot be made by blending, and these are shown at the bottom of the blended chart.
What should you do?
First, check the colors you use to see if they are base colors that will still be stocked. If your production doesn't require a very specific color, or you have time to experiment, we recommend moving toward these base colors. They will be the easiest to get in the future. http://masoncolor.com/ceramic_stains.asp
If you need a color not on this list, check this chart. http://masoncolor.com/inventory.asp First of all, you can see whether your color still has blended stock available. If so, you can probably order it from a ceramic supplier (including us), although they will probably require a 10# minimum order. You can also see what colors you would blend together to make your blended color. For example, 6002 Rose Pink is made of 25% 6001 and 75% 6003. So you could always purchase 1/4# 6001, 3/4# 6003 and make your own pound of 6002. (This one was pretty easy, but some are more difficult because they include 3-4 different ingredients.)
Lastly, if you want to move from a blended color to a base color, but want some advice, give Mason Color a call. They'll be able to tell you which is the closest replacement and how much you might use to achieve the same color.
If you don't use Mason Stains, but want to learn about them, read this! Using Stains