Big Ceramic Store Blog

Design Your Pieces With Copper Oxide

In this post, you will learn how to design you pieces with copper oxide. Thank you, Susan Berzelius, for sharing the information and pictures in this post!

Susan resides in Gilbert, Arizona, and has an extensive art history, beginning with an education from Normandale Community College, The University of Minnesota (Art Education/Studio Arts Painting Major), and Chandler Gilbert Community College.Design Your Pieces With Copper Oxide

Her background also includes project like, Five on Tile... handmade tiles for 10 benches, 7 art pedestals, and 6 tables that line the one mile stretch of Arizona Avenue running through the downtown area.

Recently, she became more involved in copper oxide design, and has graciously provided BCS information for our readers, so take notes and let the fun begin!

Although Susan created an extruded vessel, using Laguna B-Mix cone 10 clay, then added a thrown neck and throat, this application can be used on virtually any pot.

How does it work you ask? Well, here’s a first hand look, and outline from Susan herself!.

  • When the piece is damp I draw and carve into the clay. My designs are often lines, textures and most often include faces scribed into the clay.

BC Berzelius 1 - wet

  • When bone dry, the piece is bisque to cone 06.
  • Make the copper oxide solution
    • Note: Always wear gloves when working with oxides
      • Copper Oxide Mixture: Add approximately 1 tablespoons of copper oxide into approximately 1 cup of water. It tends to clump so mix it well. (Wear a protective mask when mixing the dry copper oxide.)
  • Brush the copper oxide mixture onto the bisque piece and let it dry completely

BC Berzelius 3 Applying Copper Oxide

  • Now, using a porous sponge, wash off the raised area. Try to leave as much of the copper oxide mixture in the recessed areas. Again, allow it to dry before moving onto the next step.

BC Berzelius 5 Washing off Copper Oxide
Here comes the exciting part... Color it up a little!

  • Gather some underglaze (I use Coyote), and engobes

BC Berzelius 6 Coyote Glaze Images

  • Paint the areas you want to stand out
    • White engobe will allow the copper oxide to show through so you can easily achieve a black/white look

BC Berzelius 7 Painted

  • After it is completely covered, it is then fired between cone 06-cone 6.
    • Anything much higher than cone 6, the black tends to spread and your lines look - very heavy

Here is a picture of the finished project!

BC Berzelius 8 Final -Completed
Give it a try, have fun with it, and most importantly.... Send us pictures!

If you'd like to share your ideas, projects, or submit a post for our blog, email us at! We look forward to hearing from you!

3 thoughts on “Design Your Pieces With Copper Oxide”

  • Louise B. | #

    You left me hanging,...very frustrating & NOT NICE!

    What is the next step for your "Design Your Pieces With Copper Oxide"???!!!

  • Laura Starr | #

    Might we see a photo of the finished piece using this technique. Thanks


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