Glazing advice on detailed slip-casting?

I have a small three piece slip-cast Nativity set. It has a lot of very fine details and I have completely re-sculpted it to emphasize those details. I would like the details to be visible after glazing - but because of the sculpting and not necessarily because of the glaze.

In my perfect world it would be white(ish) but the crevices could be highlighted/washed with a subtle color to emphasize the details.

I made one set already but the clear glaze completely obscured all the details that I painstakingly carved.

I have another set of greenware so suggestions for V2 are appreciated.

V1 Process/Results


  • One+ coat of a colored translucent glaze applied to bisque in the crevices and washed off the high spots (I thought this might emphasize the details a little)
  • Three coats of clear glaze (The glaze is a thin Cone 06 clear from either Mayco or Duncan - dunno which)


  • the clear glaze completely obscures all the details. After glazing it looks pretty much like it did before cleaning it (minus the mold lines, of course)
  • color is pure white (i.e., it doesn’t need anything to make it white
  • None of the colored glaze survived firing (which I could live with).
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Have you considered using an underglaze.and wiping it off instead of the colored translucent glaze? I used underglaze and wiped it off for the skull on this bottle. You could use a lighter color of underglaze.

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That bottle is cone 6 not 06. I’m not as familiar with the low fire glazes but sometimes I’ll use 2 coats of clear glaze instead of 3 to keep it from getting cloudy.

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I’m a fan of oxides then a clear. Since it’s Christmas maybe a cobalt or red oxide?

Mom has her heart set on white. But thanks for the suggestion.

Even down in the crevices as a slight shading? If the glaze is too thick maybe scribe it out of the crevices or try a cold finish?

I have considered this, but I’m concerned that I will sponge off the facial features along with the underglaze. Do you think that’s a risk?

If you put the underglaze on bisque and then wipe it off you should be fine.


Maybe (after bisque so you don’t lose any details) put on a coat of Snow, and wipe that off so it’s in the details only, then put on the 2-3 coats of clear. Oh, if you’re doing low fire (Cone 04), there’s a mostly white glaze in the Stroke-n-Coats.

I was also thinking Smoke (another Cone 6 Celadon). It’s gray, so it’d give you more detail and still be kinda monochrome. Or one of the blacks…

Do you have a picture of what you’re aiming for? like a “ohhhh, ya, that looks good”

Hmmm. No. I’m picturing something where the detail looks comparable to dry-brushing (except in the grooves instead of the peaks), but with a shiny glaze over it. I don’t know if something like this is actually possible.


OK - something like this.

I think I’m getting you but let’s see -

I feel like you’re thinking of this but not so “rabbit who looks like it’s rolled around in poo - that’s just an unfortunate color choice in my opinion”

Like this but shiny …am I onto something here?

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Ok! that’s all glaze. I would need to hold it close to make sure but I’m 95% sure it’s a just a lovely transparent glaze. Now you’re going to start getting all sorts of jazzy pants about glazes (oh it’s fun) and it can get pretty complicated if you allow it.

Here’s an oversimplified article:
Check out the water etching on that #8 example (breathing heavy)

We use to use a light blue under glaze on bisque, coat and wipe off to desired amount, then clear glaze.

Amaco Aqua also looks good but might not be enough white for you. image

I would do this on a test piece first. Also the Trinity underglazes wipe off better than the Amaco underglazes in my limited experience. :slight_smile:

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Does it require a special underglaze? Somewhere I got the impression that underglaze was typically used on greenware.

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No I use underglaze on bisque all the time. Some people prefer underglaze on greenware, I prefer bisque. If you underglaze bisque and then add clear glaze without firing again it might smear a bit when you put a clear glaze over it but I don’t think that will matter much for what you are doing. Smearing is more of a problem if you want to keep fine details like letters or some other design. The Amaco underglazes that I used smeared a lot more than the Trinity underglazes.

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How many coats of underglaze would you use?

I would probably start with one coat on a test piece since you’re going to be wiping it off and just leaving it in the crevices. If that doesn’t work out you can always add more coats. I think I normally just use one coat when I’m wiping it off, 3+ for a normal underglaze. I have only made a couple of pieces where I wiped the underglaze off.

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Would you fire the bisque after the underglaze and before the glaze?