Decorating Colors


300 Series Majolica Glazes

301-370 – A highly versatile product which can be used as a majolica color on top of a white base glaze or as an underglaze color underneath a clear glaze or as a glaze on its own. For majolica technique first apply 2 or 3 coats (depends on how heavily you apply each coat) of our base white glaze (i.e. 799 Majolica White for cone 06/04 firings or 1118 White for cone 4/6 firings) over the entire piece. After the white glaze has thoroughly dried you can proceed to decorating with the 300 series colors. One coat will give you the traditional majolica look, in which some of the base white shows through the color. For opaque coverage 2 coats of color will be required. For use as an underglaze use the 300 series as you would our 500 series underglazes (i.e. 1 coat – semi-transparent, 2 coats- semi-opaque, 3 coats- opaque) and then cover the entire piece with clear glaze (i.e. 700 Clear for cone 06/04 firings or 1100 Clear for cone 4/6 firings). The 300 series Majolica Colors can also be used as a glaze on its own, over a wide temperature range from cone 06 to cone 6. It will fully vitrify at cone 06 but the surface will not be quite as shiny as our 700 series glazes. At cone 6 most of the colors will show little color change, except the pinks and purples, which are not quite as temperature stable. Using a zinc-free clear glaze will improve results at stoneware temperatures. All of the majolica/ultraglaze colors are lead-free, dinnerware safe and A/P non-toxic.


400 Series Superstrokes/Superwriter Series

CLEAR GLOSS GLAZE
400 - Designed originally as an inexpensive clear dipping glaze for castware, it does a great job of highlighting the rich colors available in our 400 series. Dip once, and fire to cone 04/05 on cone 03/04 bisque. It is lead free and dinnerware safe. It also fits most low fire pugged clays well and has therefore recently been made available in a brushing formula.

401-470 - This series was designed with the contemporary studio market in mind. A collection of 70 brilliant colors that are similar to our majolica color series due to the versatility of being able to be used under or over a glaze. They are available in 8 oz squeeze bottles – great for putting color onto a palette, or in 2 oz pens (that can easily be refilled with the 8 oz squeeze bottle). We offer all of the colors from this series in the same 2 oz. applicator bottle as the RAC’s. This makes a wonderful product for drawing decorations on your pieces. They have been very happily received by the numerous children who are not as comfortable painting with brushes, particularly lower school children.

PREPARATION
Before using the pen unscrew the black plastic cap and remove the liner from inside the cap. After screwing the cap back on the bottle, take off the clear plastic cover. The black plastic tip has a reasonably small hole which can be used without modifications in most applications. If you want to make thicker lines, carefully cut a small piece off the end of the tip with a sharp knife or scissors in order to enlarge the hole.

HOW TO USE THEM
Before using the pen on your ceramic piece, first shake the pen vigorously and then test the flow by squeezing some of the color out on a piece of paper. This should remove any air bubbles and establish a consistent flow. If the color has become too thick to flow properly, unscrew the black plastic cap and drop 2 or 3 droplets of water into the bottle. Then replace the cap and shake vigorously and test again. When writing, hold the pen tip in contact with the piece. It makes it easier to control the writing than holding the tip above the piece and dropping the color onto the surface. Do not hold the pen directly vertical while writing because this leaves no gap for the liquid to flow out of. Hold the pen at an angle to the surface so that there is an opening for the color to flow through. Because the color is thicker than ink you must write more slowly than with a pen to allow time for the liquid to flow through the tip. You can create a large variety of line thicknesses by varying finger pressure and writing speed. The harder you press and the slower you write the thicker your lines will be.

OPTIONAL METAL TIPS
If you would like to make finer lines than can be achieved using the plastic tip you can purchase a metal tip that can be screwed onto the plastic tip. In order to attach the metal tip you will need to cut approximately ¼ inch off the end of the black plastic tip. This will provide a fat enough end to screw the metal tip onto.

HOW TO KEEP THE METAL TIP FROM PLUGGING
The liquid in a SuperWriter pen is a type of colored glaze and like any other glaze it will harden in the pen tip unless you do something to prevent it. We recommend taking a staple from your stapler and straightening out one end to use as a reamer to push into the metal tip. It is helpful to leave the staple in the tip when the pen is not in use to prevent clogging. When you are finished using the pen for the day, the metal tip should be removed from the plastic nipple and the clear plastic cover replaced on the bottle to prevent the pen from drying out. Also when you have an empty pen you should clean it out and fill it with water. After you have finished using a metal tip you should screw it onto the pen filled with water and squeeze water through the tip to clean it out. Letting a used tip soak in water will help prevent hardening and plugging.


500 Series Underglazes

501-570 - Due to popular demand, we have made all 70 of our underglazes also available in the 2 oz pen package, as well as standard 4 oz and pint jars. We offer a full palette of rich, vibrant colors that are opaque with 3 coats, semi-opaque with 2 coats and semi-transparent with 1 coat. They are compatible for use under most clear glazes. We suggest that you try them with one of our clear glazes (400, 700, 800 or 900 Clear Gloss cone 06/04, 250 Satin Clear cone 06/04, 1100 Clear Gloss cone 4/6, 1120 Clear Satin cone 4/6 or 1200 Clear Gloss cone 9/10). Unlike many other brands of underglaze we use a frit base rather than a slip (clay) base for our underglazes. The advantages to the user are that our underglazes can be applied on greenware or bisque and they can be used with or without a clear glaze covering. When used without a clear glaze cover they have a matte velvet like surface. However, when used without a clear glaze cover they are not considered dinnerware safe because the rough surface can be difficult to clean and can encourage bacteria growth. Our color chart shows the unglazed color in the upper left half of the tile and the color when covered by a clear gloss glaze in the lower right half of the tile. The color chart samples were fired at cone 05. Our underglazes generally have good temperature stability up to cone 6 and for many colors to cone 10. When fired hotter than cone 04 you may get small color variations from those shown on our charts, so please test them for your application. Some of our underglaze colors will start to look glossy without any clear glaze cover at cone 5. These softer colors are 507, 530, 537, 538, 544, 552, 560, 567 and 568. Our underglazes can be intermixed to create your own colors. However, we recommend not mixing 561, 562, 563, 567, 568, 569 with any of the other colors. These colors are based on cadmium encapsulated stains that do not mix well with other ceramic stain colors. All of our underglaze colors are lead-free, A/P non-toxic and dinnerware safe when covered with a dinnerware safe clear glaze.


One-Stroke(Concentrated) Underglazes

600-640 - One-Stroke (concentrated underglazes) – Are intended as the name implies, to give opaque coverage with one brush stroke. They are ideal for painting on designs and can be used in the same manner as underglazes. They are very similar in use to the underglazes described above. However, they have approximately twice the concentration of color as the underglazes and are generally of a thicker consistency. All our one-stroke colors are lead-free, A/P non-toxic and dinnerware safe when covered with a dinnerware safe clear glaze.


Raised Accent Colors

RAC 0-16 - Raised Accent Colors (RAC’s) are slip-based colors (or engobes) which are available in 2 oz. applicator pens with a fine metal tip for decorating on greenware or bisque. They create embossed or raised designs on ceramic decorative work because the colors do not flatten out when they are fired. They are also available in 16 oz. squeeze bottles, which can be used to refill the pens or which can be used for other slip trailing applications.

PREPARATION
Each 2 ounce RAC squeeze bottle comes with a separate metal tip. Before using the pen unscrew the black plastic cap and remove the liner from inside the cap. After screwing the cap back on the bottle, take off the clear plastic cover. The black plastic tip has a small hole which can be used without modifications or, if you want to make thicker lines, carefully cut a small piece off the end of the tip with a sharp knife or scissors in order to enlarge the hole. If you want to attach the metal tip, in order to make finer lines, you will need to cut approximately ¼ inch off the end of the black tip. This will provide a fat enough end to screw the metal tip onto.

HOW TO USE THEM
Before using the pen on your ceramic piece, first shake the pen vigorously and then test the flow by squeezing some of the slip out on a piece of paper. This should remove any air bubbles and establish a consistent flow of slip. If the slip has become too thick to flow properly, unscrew the black plastic cap and pour 2 or 3 drops of water into the bottle. Then replace the cap and shake and test again. When you are using the pen on a piece of greenware or bisque, hold the pen tip in contact with the piece. It makes it easier to control the writing than holding the tip above the piece and dropping the color onto the surface. Also the slight scratching of the surface improves the bonding between the slip and the piece. Do not hold the pen directly vertical while writing because this leaves no gap for the liquid to flow out of. Hold the pen at an angle to the surface so that there is an opening for the slip to flow through. Because the slip is quite thick you must write more slowly than with a pen. This allows time for the liquid to flow through the tip. You can create a large variety of line thicknesses by varying finger pressure and writing speed. The harder you press and the slower you write the thicker your lines will be.

HOW TO KEEP THE METAL TIP FROM PLUGGING
The liquid in an RAC pen is a type of colored slip and like any other slip it will harden in the pen tip unless you do something to prevent it. We recommend taking a staple from your stapler and straightening out one end to use as a reamer to push into the metal tip. It is helpful to leave the staple in the tip when the pen is not in use to prevent clogging. When you are finished using the pen for the day, the metal tip should be removed from the plastic nipple and the clear plastic cover replaced on the bottle to prevent the pen from drying out. Also when you have an empty pen you should clean it out and fill it with water. After you have finished using a metal tip you should screw it onto the pen filled with water and squeeze water through the tip to clean it out. Letting a used tip soak in water will help prevent hardening and plugging.

HOW TO REFILL AN RAC PEN
In order to refill an RAC pen, you first unscrew the black plastic cap from the top of the bottle. Then using the 16 ounce RAC refill bottles you squeeze more of the same color slip into the bottle. Since the slip is quite thick you may need to tap the bottle on a hard surface a few times as you refill it to get the liquid to settle to the bottom of the bottle.


Glaze Crystals

CR01–CR12 - Our Glaze Crystals are all lead-free and dinnerware safe when fired to a minimum cone 06. These crystals are very versatile and can be used successfully from cone 06 to cone 6. They can be used with any glaze in this firing range to produce a great variety of different appearances. They can also be intermixed. Many beautiful combinations of two or more colored crystals on your choice of glaze background can be used. Please be aware that, due to varying expansion coefficients, some of these crystals may cause crazing on some glazes, particularly at stoneware temperatures. Please test for suitability in your application.

The crystals can be dropped or placed onto the final coat of glaze while the surface is still wet allowing the crystals to stick to the glaze. If the glaze dries out before all the crystals are applied try spraying a little water on the glaze surface to help the crystals stick to it. In this way you can position the crystals where you want them on the piece. Alternatively, you can pour some crystals onto a piece of paper and dip your brush in the crystals as you are applying your final coat of glaze. These crystals may run a lot when fired up to cone 5 or 6 and should not be applied near the bottom of the piece for stoneware firings. This is not of concern at cone 06 or 05 as they will not move and spread nearly as much at lower temperatures. These crystals can also be mixed into a liquid glaze to be brushed on. However, one of the reasons that we decided not to prepare pre-mixed crystal glazes is that the crystals are large and heavy and tend to settle to the bottom of the container. Therefore, you will need to stir the glaze frequently if you choose to mix the crystals into a glaze.


Ceramic Stains

2000-2090 - Not to be confused with bisque stains which are not meant to be fired, these ceramic stains come in powder form and can be used to color glazes, underglazes, overglazes, engobes, slips and clay bodies. In general, they have greater temperature stability than many other commercially available stains. They are suitable for use from the lowest temperature ranges (cone 06) to the highest (cone 10) although colors may vary somewhat with increased firing temperature. For specific recommendations on each stain see Spectrum’s Technical Information Sheet. Our color charts show the results for the stains mixed in our 1050 underglaze base and fired to cone 06. The strength shown on these charts was achieved by mixing 100 grams of liquid underglaze base (3.5 oz.) with 50 grams of dry ceramic stain (1.75 oz.).

Spectrum Ceramic Stains (2000 series) are inter-mixable for the most part. However, we suggest that the cadmium encapsulated colors 2082, 2083, 2084, 2085 and 2090 can be mixed among themselves but may not perform as expected when mixed with other colors. Also if you are trying to lighten a color by simply reducing the amount of stain used you may just produce a washed out look. We suggest instead that you try mixing in some of the 2000 White stain to lighten the color.


Oxide Pens

1851-1861 - We have added 10 new oxide pens in the same easy to use applicator bottle as we use for the RAC’s and SuperWriter Pens. These oxide pens contain various oxides, such as copper oxide, cobalt oxide, etc, suspended in water with small quantities of additives such as frit which improves their performance. They are particularly interesting when used on pieces that are to be raku fired.