Big Ceramic Store Blog

Stoneware Clay Colors and Their Use

I know when I first started working with stoneware clay, one of the questions I had was, "What color should I use?" It comes in so many colors... white, buff, red, brown, speckled.... the list goes on.

I started with white, but soon learned, that I didn't like the white ring around the bottom of my pots, against the dark glazes. I used stains and such to cover up the white ring, but that became a nuisance, so I started to pick up additional colors.

What color do you use? Not quite sure which one is best for you? Well, today we're going to talk about how, and why, I use the different colors.Let's start with white...

  • Perfect for anything you plan on painting with underglazes
  • Great for white-wash effects
  • Makes a nice slip for coloring with stains and oxides
  • My "go-to" for marble effects
    • Note: When adding other colors to the white for marbling, make sure the clays are compatible. They need to have the same shrink and absorption rates.

How about Buff Stoneware...

  • This is the one I use most for throwing... I love the natural look at the bottom of my pots when they are glazed
  • It's a nice clay for covering with matte, or satin, clear glaze when you want a natural or earthy look
  • Great for sculpting
  • I like using buff when I'm making ornaments and wind chimes since I generally only glaze one side

Red Clay...

  • Perfect for my Aztec designed pieces
  • Flower pots
  • Onion and garlic roasters
  • Added to white for marbling
  • Red stoneware is a hit for kids projects
  • Great base color when you are using a red, brown or black glaze

Brown Clay...

  • I love brown clays for earthy sculptures. It works great for landscaping, and animal forms, since it can be left unglazed for a natural look
  • Also a great clay for marbling with other colors
  • Roasters
  • White wash over the brown clay makes an awesome choice for doing rustic pieces

Speckled Clay...

  • This one is a HUGE hit for my workshops! Customers love the manganese effects on the raw piece, and love it even more under a light colored glaze that allows the speckles to peek through
  • In some speckled clays, the manganese almost shimmers like glitter, giving the piece exceptional eye appeal, making it perfect for jewelry/trinket boxes.

Grab yourself a few different colors and see what you can come up with! Try adding a couple coils of colored clay to white and throw it on the wheel... you may just LOVE the results!

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!


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