How to Add Colors to Clay using Mason Stains | Ceramics

How to Add Colors to Clay using Mason Stains | Ceramics

Welcome back to the studio everybody! My
name is Jim and in this video I’m showing you tests for mixing three
different colored Mason stains into your clay. And have you noticed? I’ve got
my own kiln now.Sso I’m gonna be firing a lot more work and making a lot more tests
to give all of you better ceramic videos. It is time to jump into the video so get
ready! Today I’m making three batches of three
colors. I’m going to try 1% 5% and 10% of robin’s egg blue, 1% 5% and
10% of crimson red and I’ll do 1% 5% and 10% of hunter green.
Then we’ll make some test tiles and we’ll see how they compare to that gray
black clay I made before. I’m using one pound pieces of clay for this video to
keep it simple. Now one pound of clay is sixteen ounces and there are 28 grams
and an ounce. Which means there are four 448 grams in one pound
of clay. 1% of 448 grams is 4.48 grams. I rounded up
to five to keep it simple which is actually 1.1% but who’s
counting. I mean I’m counting and you’re probably
counting All right so here they are 1% in 5%. 1, 5,
10, 1, 5, 10. This was 5% and it was so hard to wedge in I didn’t even bother with
10%. I’m assuming I’m going to get a really good green from this. I’m gonna make
about a 2 ounce pebble for each of the colors. I’ll fire that, I’ll do half with
clear and half with nothing to see how this colors look. What I do for these is I
put it my palm, I pressed my hands and kind of roll them like this and this
makes a really nice river rock. Almost like a big M&M. I’m only weighing this
because I want to have the same amount left for throwing or for whatever other
reason. So what we have here is 1, 5, 10, 1, 5, 10, 1, 5 and then the plain porcelain as
comparison. Now it’s time to fire them half clear, half plain in 3, 2, 1.
Man, they are so shiny. Got a clear coat on top and on the back I have all the
percentages 1% 5% 10% – you know what they are. I was surprised actually on how red
and blue turned out. They did not look that blue and red before. 5% green
was definitely enough. Let’s have a closer look. Even 1% gives pretty
good color, kind of like a pink. This is a good solid red. I like the feel of
this clay. They’re definitely richer with the clear
on the back. Here’s robin’s egg blue. 1% 5% 10%. I’m surprised this even showed up.
It looked like nothing when I first wedged it. It’s a little marbley. I could
have probably wedged it more. This green is much more powerful than the blue and
the red. This is 5%. It looks just like the 10% from the red and the
blue. Think about it this way. If you don’t care about the color and you’re
trying to save some money you can get just as much color with half of the
price or half of the amount with that hunter green. The 1% even holds up to the
5% of the red and the blue. A fifth of the amount gets you almost the same
color. It’s kind of like the black – this is also 1% – it seems to hold up
and be stronger at a lower percentage. I would imagine with 5% of
the black Mason stain you’d get a pretty solid black. Now there’s a better
way you could do this. Well actually a different way you could do this. It’s by
taking some bone-dry pieces of clay of the same clay body. Do your measurements
per pound. Even though it’s dry versus wet clay, you might get a little bit
different results but as long as you’re consistent with dry or wet clay it
doesn’t matter. Take some chunks, smash them down a
little smaller, add your Mason stain one five ten percent per weight, add some
water, let it soak down, take it out, spread it across some plaster, let it dry
and then wedge it up with your hands. Yeah it would take a lot longer. It wpuld
probably give you more of an even color but it takes more time so it depends on
what you want to do. I’m honestly tired just thinking about it. If we’re
comparing the two processes it’s much faster to wedge it into your clay. It might
take a minute or two and you can throw it, you can roll out into a slab, you can
build coils, whatever. This takes a while but if you’re making a big batch it might be
worth it in the end. You could still hand wedge large batches of clay. This is 12.5 pounds of porcelain with 1% of black Mason stain added in.
You get the point. I’m pretty happy with these results. So I’m going to keep
experimenting and let you know what I find out. That’s everything thanks
for watching. I hope you learned a little bit about mason stains today. If you enjoyed
this video give it a like and if you want more consider subscribing and
hitting the bell for notifications. I’m Jim and whenever possible be sure to
make do and learn. Did you see this thing? I mean it’s a cone sitter – there’s no
computer – but I can fire my own work finally!

8 thoughts on “How to Add Colors to Clay using Mason Stains | Ceramics

  1. Which mason stain color and percentage was your favorite? Personally I liked the 1% crimson red. Let me know!

  2. When I add my Mason stains, I add it to dry trimmings or powdered clay. I know it takes longer to let it slake down and then dry to a wedging consistency (on a sheet on top of a plaster slab), but I never have streaks or flecks of stain in my clay. Once slaked down, I use an immersion blender to “purée” the slurry to a smooth consistency. I do like this video. I am definitely going to do tests with different percentages!

  3. Great videos, I just found you and will keep watching, thanks for sharing your knowledge! Happy potting from Australia!

  4. Thanks a million! This video answers my question. Today at my massage office, I was giving a massage. When I’m working with clients I often let my mind wander and get some of my best creative problem solving done. I was struck with the sudden epiphany that mason stains would be the answer to my design dilemma. My project involves mason stains with clear glaze over top. I could kinda picture what it would look like but wasn’t sure. Your video confirms that my project will likely come out the way I envisioned it. My plan is to mix it into porcelain slip for a slip-casting project and to also make some colored clay using stains and powder clay. I’m going to get supplies tomorrow.

  5. Hi Jim, thanks for the upload – very hel0ful. Do the stains become part of the ceramic? Can the stains leach out if submerged in water? Thanks.

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