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sandra b

How To Use Frits, Gerstley And Gillespie Borates For A Satin Finish

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I made some tests by brushing 3110, 3124 and 3134. I used 1 tsp in a cup of water. The solution showed a lot of brush marks; and after firing at cone 5, it showed more sheen where it was more thickly applied. I made another test spraying frit 3124, it showed some sheen after firing at cone 5, but not the satiny finish I was hoping for.

Next test was spraying Gerstley/Gillespie borate solution using 1 tsp in about 3 cups of water. I fired again at cone 5, which is the lowest standard temperature for glazing at the community college where I fire my pieces. The result was a very dry harsh finish.

My intention is to find a finish that adds a slight flux to the stained and underglazes I use to finish my pieces, something that doesn't look neither too dry or too shiny. I can fire at other temps if I can gather enough work to fill a small kiln. I would appreciate some ideas in how to apply these or other materials to obtain that satiny, smooth finish that I dream of. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanks, Marcia.

A while ago I made some tests with a satin glaze under and on top of stains and commercial underglazes. I liked it best with the color on top of the glaze . The finish was really nice, but some of the underglazes and stains peeled off. I have not tried it using a commercial glaze yet. It's on my list.

I like color and the depth you achieve by layering underglazes and the possibility of multiple firings, having a glaze somewhat limits the process. I read of a Gerstley Borate washes, frit finishes and/or mixing some fluxes to commercial underglazes, but with my tests I have not obtained good results so far. Any other ideas?

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Hi Marcia & Deb,


Thanks for your answers.


It took a while, but here are some of my tests.


Mid range red clay fired at cone 5. Left of tile shows 3 coats of Amaco underglazes over studio glaze, and right side shows them under.

Left tile has Paul's White (A), Middle has Satin White (A) and right has French White ©

1)Colors from top to bottom:

LUG 43: Dark Green, bubbled on A & B Left

LUG 21: Medium Blue, bubbled on A left

LUG 26: Turquoise

LUG 22: Dark Blue

LUG 1: Black



2) Colors from top to bottom:

LUG 60: Light yellow, bubbled on A, B & C Left

LUG 65: Orange

LUG 61: Bright Yellow, bubbled on A & B Left

LUG 40: Chartreuse, bubbled on A & B Left

LUG 55: Purple



3) Colors from top to bottom:

V 315: Peach, bubbled on B Left

V 382: Red

V 372: Mint Green: peeled off on A&B left

V 320: Lavender

V 380 Violet



4) Colors from top to bottom:

V303: Terracotta, peeled off on A left

V 382 Red

V 381 Amethyst

V 370 Velour Black , bubbled on A, B & C at left



5) Grey Stoneware, painted with underglazes and sprayed with frit 3124, fired to cone 5



6) Grey Stoneware painted with underglazes and sprayed with Gerstley Borate, fired to cone 5


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