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Glazing Ceramics Without Fire

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I am new to ceramic glazing.

Are there any methods that can duplicate fire-based glazing on ceramics? I work at home, so i do not have access to kiln. I have read there are oven-based glazes and non-fire based glaze. How effective are they in terms of the glaze (will it be similar to fire glazed plate)?


Thank You.

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I don't think an unfired glaze would be food safe. I can't really say since I don't know what they are. But the chemical fluxing and fusing that occurs on kiln fired pots does fuse the chemicals. The are food safe as long as the correct non-toxic chemicals are used and fired correctly. Read the labels on the oven glaze jars. Also, not sure what kind of clay would be functional baked in the domestic oven.


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So are you bisque firing? If you're not firing at all, then there's nothing you can do to make pieces permanent or hard or durable or functional. And even if you're bisque firing, there's nothing that would be food safe that I know of. And even if they said it was food safe, I wouldn't eat off of it.

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can you describe exactly what it is that you do when you work at home?  names of products, method of working?  it does not sound as though you are using a true clay material.  photos help.


true ceramics cannot be made without sufficient heat to melt the material and change it from dirt to pottery.

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if you are in the US - the oven broiler goes upto 500 - 550F (260-290C).


if you want to eat out of your dishes - if you use the lowest temperature clay - that is earthenware - you need to fire  (1,800 and 2,100 °F1,000 and 1,150 °C and glaze-fired to between  (1,740 to 1,920 °F) 950 to 1,050 °C.


if you make vessels to use as sculpture (so not to eat out of) you could either raku fire it (still need to bisque fire AND then glaze fire but still need heat at least to 1470-1830 F or pit fire in your backyard (still need to bisque fire) and then fire in a barrell or pit (if its legal where you are) to about temperature above 1000F.


that means you need a kiln. or have access to a kiln. if you have a ceramic supply store in your time you can enquire and find out if they fire individual pieces for customers or they know a place that does it.


that said i know some members here have built their own kilns from scratch. do you have space and time and means to do one?


you have to bisque fire first. well... and then instead of glazes you can use things like shoe polish or acrylic paint to paint on your pots.


but for eating use you need a kiln.


i have never heard of non heat based glazes. even in cooking you need heat to glaze the meat.  but then just coz i dont know doesnt mean it does not exist. 

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  • 3 years later...

I am semi-new to ceramic, and I have the same question as the original post? 

I am using Air Dry Clay on pottery wheel.  I am just trying to get refreshed with using the wheel again .  I will be creating simple pots not intended to be used as any form of dinnerware.  

I am trying to find some kind of glaze and possibly sealant  that does not require firing.  I do not have access to a kiln.  I want the finished product to have the appearance of a pot that has been fired.  The finished product is not meant to be sale able or eaten out of; I am just now starting and want to get used to the wheel, and saving up for a small kiln.

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On 3/4/2020 at 4:08 PM, KHENRY312 said:

I will be creating simple pots not intended to be used as any form of dinnerware.  

I am trying to find some kind of glaze and possibly sealant  that does not require firing.  

Two problems: 

Someone in the future might use your pots in a different way than you intended.  My first pottery teacher said "if it looks like it could be used for food or drink, you better make sure it's safe for food or drink".  Making something that will "last" comes with challenges.

Air drying clay has it's uses, but it's never going to be as durable, washable, useable as clay fired to maturity.


How does it throw?  I used air drying clay for a few weeks before I found a pottery class.  Couldn't stand the stuff, too wet, too dry, wouldn't join.    Good luck with it.



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  • 6 months later...

hi, my name is lizzy I’m from Canada and I’m 24. I’m semi new and I use non firing wed clay, because I make body shaped candle holders that have a glass jar embedded so I can’t necessarily fire the clay, that being said I found a process that actually works for me and seals the clay, leaving it shiny and hard, I will say it is a bit of a process but if you can deal with stages it’ll work for you.
Ok so I seal my projects with art resin, it’s a two step process, mix the Hardener and resin, coat your sculpture with a paint brush (which will harden too after so I recommend a fairly cheap one, but not too cheap. You don’t want brush hairs sticking to your sculpture) and let it dry. The trick is to stabilize your work in the center, raising it from the surface because the resin will drip to the bottom due to gravity, and stick to whatever surface your sculpture is drying on, and inevitably peel right off (trust me I know).

once raised every so often (3-4 times) as it’s drying, scrape off the excess drip From the bottom with a popsicle stick or paint brush. Leave it to dry for 24hours and voilà a hardened surface. 

i paint my sculptures with acrylic so I really can’t put it in a kiln, I normally do 3 layers of the resin for the body, the bottom and then the body one more time.

below is a link to my site, none of my products are made for any dinning uses, or can be used for them so I’m not worried about that. And until I can create my own studio with all the things I need to make dinning ware this is working great 



hope this was helpful, 

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Hi @Misslizzy and welcome to the forum!

Thank you so much for sharing some good information on your process. Alternate ways of finishing sculpture surfaces are great tools to have in any artist's box!

I just wanted to let you know I removed the link to your website, as it was for a sale listing. According to the terms of use, the forum is for information purposes and we're not allowed to directly promote our work here like that.  If you'd like to add an image to your post instead so that we can see the kinds of results you're  talking about, or to add a link to your social media to your signature so people can feel free to dm me if you need any technical assistance. 

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