In Pottery Are There Alternatives to Glazing? (7 Best Alternatives)

Pottery is one of those fun hobbies that anyone can try.

It’s fun, artistic and beneficial at all ages. Even if you don’t become a world famous sculptor it’s a joyful activity you can do by yourself, with your partner or with your kids.

Take a class together or watch Youtube tutorials online! You can purchase supplies at your local crafting store.

However, one thing most homes don’t have, if you’re doing it DIY style, are kilns to heat up the glaze. So, are there alternatives to glazing or will you need to find your nearest pottery studio and borrow their kiln?

Don’t worry there are plenty of alternatives to glazing that are home and kid friendly.

What Does Glazing Do In Pottery?

Glazing is a technique and product combined into one. Used in pottery for decades it is a second coating that can add color, make it waterproof, or decorate it.

Glaze is fused together with the pottery so it does not chip off nor can it be pulled off like a layer of glue. It’s permanently fused!

It also acts a seal so pottery can hold liquids without it getting through any small crevices or cracks in the bowl or cup.

Let us take a look at a couple of alternative techniques you can use instead of glazing in the traditional sense. We will be taking a closer look at the 7 best alternatives.

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Use Tempera Paint Instead of Glaze

Tempura is easy on the wallet and widely used so it’s bound to be at multiple crafting stores. Even big chain stores.

It’s easy to use and has a huge variety of colors to choose from. You can mix it with water to lighten the paint or just plop it straight on a palette and start painting. It seals to pottery without then needing to be glazed.

The colors will pop but depending on the brand you may need two coats of paint.

Tempera is kid safe and it doesn’t stain the skin. It comes off tables and countertops easily just be careful if you’re going to be painting near any fabric furniture.

Try Watercolor Art On Your Clay Pottery

Watercolors are another great kid friendly alternative that are easy to find and cheap to buy. Because watercolors are a naturally thinner paint you’ll most likely be able to see the clay color through the pigment.

With this method, though, you can create really neat underwater scenes on cups or bowls making it look like an aquarium or what lies beneath the ocean.

It’s easy clean up and is fun for the whole family to try, or someone just starting out with painting as a hobby.

Colored Tissue Paper And Its Use On Clay

A different take on glazing alternatives is using colored tissue paper and layering it on then using a spray bottle.

Do as many colors or layers as you want! The water soaks the dye through and imprints it on the pottery creating a really awesome tie-dye effect.

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Once the tissue paper is peeled off you can set your newly decorated pottery in the sun to dry for the day. You don’t need to add anything else on top of it.

Just make sure it’s completely dried before picking it up so the color doesn’t transfer to your fingers. 

Make Your Pottery Sparkle With Glitter Paint

Glitter paint is all the rage these days. Or, if you have craft glitter at home you cam buy some paint and make your own!

Keep in mind making your own glitter paint means you’ll be able to control just how much glitter is in it versus store bought.

Glitter paint as a glazing alternative can be mixed with normal paints to add some texture if you feel the pattern is too flat. Or you can completely paint it all over making a fun sparkly decor piece.

This can be great as an outside activity for kid’s birthday parties. 

Spray Paint Glazing Alternative

For older kids and adults looking to get into pottery painting spray paint can be a great way to create unique designs.

Especially if you have a large piece of pottery you’re planning on painting. Get creative with stickers or stencils to make stand out designs.

There’s even glitter spray paint that can be used! Some spray paints have a sealant on them so if you really want a waterproof bowl look for spray paint with the label.

Be careful though it may not be safe to drink out of spray painted pottery. 

Try Good Old Markers

They’re easier to control, easy to find and another good glazing alternative for young kids.

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Using non-toxic markers will leave the activity open to even the smallest pottery enthusiast. Plus drawing on pottery can result in finer detail, coloring and line work.

Using markers also allows you to write or initial the pottery or maybe the date to remember when the specific piece was decorated. You can also use permanent markers which now come in a myriad of colors and tip size.

If you have an experienced artist or are one yourself this can create a whole new medium for you to draw on. 

Metallic and Neon Paints

Metallic accents on pottery look really neat. If you use them the right way they can create an industrial look or something more mechanic.

Neons, on the other hand, are a much more vibrant and fun kind of vibe. Both add a unique texture and depth to clay pottery especially if used to pop out detail rather than cover the whole thing.

Either way they’re a cheap alternative to glazing that will give more color and finish than normal pottery glazing does.

Pottery glazing doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money or looking for your local pottery studio to use the kiln.

There are plenty of DIY ways to add color, texture and a finish to your pottery. Many of the ways listed above are light on the wallet and easy to find in most stores. Or you can order online.

Pottery is a fun way to build sensory skills, art skills and bond with family or friends without pressure on making it perfect. Take some time to try something new! You may end up falling in love with pottery.