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Darcy and Ted

After a bit of advice: dishwasher safe

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I'm new here (and new to doing anything with ceramics!) and after a bit of advice.

I've started experimenting with applying designs to already glazed ceramics. I've done things with ceramics pens (Pebeo paint) and also with water-slide decal transfers. So far I am only applying my designs to the outside, so nothing is in areas that come into contact with food.

I'd love to make the designs dishwasher safe, but I'm not sure of the best options.

I've got some Mod Podge dishwasher safe, but my initial experiment with this leaves streaks over the design. I'm wondering if there are other ways people could advise to seal the designs so that they are dishwasher safe (in particular the decal transfers, as the ceramic pens seem to be fairly resilient already). I would love to be able to get a consistent finish over the designs.

If there isn't I will continue experimenting with mod podge!

Thank you so much! :-)

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This is a difficult question as you seem to be seeking a way to encapsulate these items. Potters struggle with the sturdiest of things, for instance: A typical good glaze that is fired on a pot will eventually degrade or begin wearing away in the dishwasher from wash one. The dishwasher and alkali soaps actually are fairly aggressive so every wash wears even a good glaze away. Now these items generally aren’t falling apart anytime soon and we are talking molecular level stuff here where a larger molecule is replaced by a smaller one eventually weakening the structure but measurable degradation to be sure,

the point is even China paint which is a fired on overglaze that is extremely sturdy comparatively with paint applied surfaces  will wear away in the dishwasher. So the definition or meaning of dishwasher safe is a bit muddy. Most potters do their best to make the sturdiest wares safe to eat on and very sturdy with respect to cleanup.  

I am not sure you will find an encapsulant that is as sturdy as a well constructed glaze that has been fired over 2000 degrees. My thought: advise folks these are hand wash items and continue to  be sure to decorate only on the outside specifically not the rims or areas that people come in contact with while using them. Hand wash only is not a bad thing and since many colorants could be marginal with respect to human consumption erring on the side of safety at this point seems prudent.

Maybe not what you want to hear but my opinion with respect to the materials currently available for this.

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Hi @Bill Kielb

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I admit this was the conclusion I had come to after doing some research. But I was secretly hoping maybe I had missed something :-)  I was hoping there would be a way to protect the designs I am making (or at least make them a bit more sturdy) but perhaps I am hoping for too much!! I'm not 100% sure at this point in time how the designs will hold up to use, let alone dishwasher use - so I guess I will have to wait and see how they hold up. But agree that informing people they are not dishwasher safe is probably the best option for now.

And yes, I've been careful to only decorate areas that won't come into contact with food or people (at the moment I have decorated the outside of some ceramic storage jars).

Thanks again!


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11 hours ago, Rae Reich said:

Just a hint about informing customers, a positive statement like "hand wash only" is better than "not dishwasher safe." They should expect to take extra care with your original creations. :) 

Hah, yes - that is a much better statement :-) Thank you!

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