Can You Reglaze Pottery

a picture of a potter reglazing cup

Sometimes, a one time Glaze and Fire does not produce the desired result; the color is either too bland, the texture is not found, or there are simply too many errors. Reglazing is another way to add color and texture to pottery.

In that case, can you glaze and fire pottery twice? Pottery can be reglazed and refried multiple times. Most pottery glazes need to be applied in 1-3 layers. Pottery that has already been fired with a glaze can be re-glazed and fired 2 times. After the 3rd or 4th time, pottery starts to become brittle and weak, but that’s because of the firing and not the glaze itself.

There are many situations in which you might need to reglaze your pottery. Let’s learn about these processes, along with a couple of useful tips.

Preparing Glaze Fired Pottery For Reglaze

There are many ways to prepare your Glaze fired pottery to be reglazed and refired. Here are a few you can choose from.

a picture of a potter sanding glazed pottery

Sanding – You can sand a glazed piece that has been baked in a kiln. Always wear a Dust Mask when sanding. You do not have to sand all the glaze off. Just enough for the new glaze to adhere to the old glaze.

Heat – Heat up your piece with a heat gun, microwave for 30 seconds, or in the oven then apply your glaze.

Glue – Brush on glue, like Elmer’s type glue. Let dry and apply your glaze.

Starch – Spray on starch let dry and apply your glaze.

Hair Spray – apply a coat of Hair spray, let dry for at least an hour and apply your glaze.

a potter spraying the inside of an earing holder

Note: Don’t apply too much hair spray, Glue, or Starch. It may do the opposite and prevent the glaze from sticking to your pottery.

Reglazing your Pottery

There are different ways you can reglaze your pottery here are few good ways to choose from:

a picture of a potter reglazing a cup
a picture of a finished cup

Brush on – Depending on how much more glaze you need on your glazed piece you can Brush on 1 to 3 coats of glaze allowing each coat to dry before applying another coat. Keep in mind the glaze will take much longer to dry on glaze fired pottery.

Dipping – Glazes are thinner during the dipping process, so for good color and coverage, you may need to dip several times.

You can also take some of the water out before mixing to make the glaze thicker because the fired piece is no longer porous and will not absorb into the pottery like bisque ware does. When you are done put the water back in the glaze dip.

Spraying – Glazes used in spraying are thin and are applied like mist, so you may need to do at least 3 layers.

You can layer glazes either to create a pattern on top or to get better coverage. Whichever method you choose to do, make sure you let the layer below dry before applying the new layer.

Reglazing to Touch Up

Did your pottery come out of the kiln with the glaze not covered the way you thought it should? Don’t worry, you can glaze again to touch up. But before you do that, look at the problem you have. 

a picture of a potter reglazing the outside of an earing holder
a picture of the outside of an earing holder

If little pores have formed, it means you have applied your glaze too thick, or you’ve fired the pottery for a short amount of time. If you’ve spotted crawling, it means that your glaze was either too thin or wasn’t adhesive enough. In both of these cases, prepare the piece properly and apply a glaze layer that’s just the right thickness. If the problem was adhesiveness, add a little gum to your glaze slurry.

Other reasons to touch-up pottery include seeing bubbles, collected glaze in one area, or irregularly shaped formations. In all of these cases, prepare the affected area and apply another glaze layer (but not too much). 

Here’s a pro tip:

If you’re touching up, you’d want to make the corrections invisible. So fire at the same temperature as you did before. If you fired at Cone 5, don’t lower the heat. The old glaze would also melt and merge with the new layer. 

Reglazing to Add Accents

Another reason you’d want to glaze and fire your pottery twice is to add accents. It could be because your old piece looks dull and boring, and you want to give it a new look.

To add accents, simply coat your glazed piece with another layer of a different color. You can use several shades of the same color or a completely different color altogether.

If you want to protect a specific part from getting a new shade on the top, coat it with a thin layer of wax resist. Let the resist dry first, and then apply your second glaze. After your layer dries, wipe the glaze off the resist area. 

The new glaze can be applied in a single layer as well as multiple layers, depending on your need. If you want the color beneath to be more vibrant and you’re just adding a lighter or darker accent, use one coat. You can coat 3-4 times to almost completely hide the color beneath.

Whenever reglazing to add a new color or accent, fire at a lower temperature than earlier, so the layer beneath stays intact and doesn’t melt away.

If you want to add an overglaze for a metallic effect, painting effect or luster, lower the temperature further. Cone 018 is ideal for this. You can not glaze again over an overglaze without completely melting and removing it.

Reglazing With Transparent Coat

If your glaze fired pottery has lost its shininess over time, you can bring it back to life with a coat of clear glaze.

Clear glazes generally need only one coat since they’re thick enough and don’t have any pigment that you need to build up. You can apply a coat by dipping, spraying, or brushing. All three are very convenient. However, make sure to apply a thick coat and in single sweeps when brushing, otherwise you’ll end up with a bristle-like texture.

Removing Glaze and Reglazing on Greenware and Bisqueware.

Removing glaze is possible if you have applied glaze you don’t like at the greenware or bisque ware stage. This can be done by sanding or washing it off.

Sanding – To sand glaze off a pottery piece, rub using sandpaper. Make sure to wear a Dust mask to avoid glaze dust from getting inside your lungs. You can also wear gloves to protect your hands from the roughness of the sandpaper and glasses to cover your eyes. Sanding a slightly wet piece creates less dust as compared to sanding a dry piece. You can also keep a damp cloth or sponge by your side and use it to wipe the remaining glaze particles off.

Washing – Wiping your unfired Glaze off with a wet sponge will do the trick. Make sure your sponge is not too wet and clean your sponge out often.

I have removed glaze on greenware and bisque ware by sanding and washing. My pottery has turned out beautifully both ways.

When sanding you can reglaze right away. When washing off you should let your pottery dry before reapplying new glaze. Keep in mind when removing underglaze from greenware you will also remove some clay.

Conclusion

To summarize, it’s possible to glaze fire pottery twice or even multiple times. Fired pottery can be glazed several times to add textures, accents, and effects, and multiple firings are possible.

I have found sanding fired pottery before reglazing worked the best for me. There are several ways to do it, so find the one that works best for you.

The only real drawback of multiple firings is that the pottery weakens after every fire once it has been through the kiln three times (including bisque firing). It won’t break, obviously, but after 4 firings, the material will start to get brittle.


Recent Content