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Low Fire Friday - Base 3

Meagan Chaney Gumpert - Friday, July 06, 2012

Recently, I've been doing a lot of tests and line blends looking for a reliable, food-safe, base glaze that works well with Mason Stains. And I think I just may have found one that suits my needs!! 

Base 3 has a glossy surface, though not super crazy shiny. It's a bit semi-opaque with lower percentages of stains, and becomes opaque when higher percentages are added.


Base 3 - Cone 04
Frit 3134       75
EPK             15
Silica             10

Bentonite         2%

For color add...
The Mason Stains I've tested are:

  • #6236 - Chartreuse
  • #6026 - Lobster
  • #6379 - Robins Egg
  • #6025 - Coral Red
  • #6201 - Celadon

The test tiles pictured have line blends of these stains. A line blend is an easy way to get fairly quick results when testing colorant/stain in a glaze.

I mixed up a 100g batch of Base 3 for each of the above Mason Stains. (That's five separate 100g batches.) For each batch I started by adding 1% Mason Stain, or 1g. Then, to test how the glaze would look with 3% Mason Stain, I added 2g. Yes, only 2g because my 100g test batch already has 1g in it. For a 5% Mason Stain, I then only needed to add another 2g, and so on. It can get tricky so I always write all this down before I get started. Between each addition I brush a stripe on my test tile before moving on and adding more Stain.

I tested each Stain at 1%, 3%, 5%, 8%, 10%, 12%, 15%, 18%, and 20%. Some of the differences are too subtle to see in these images, but are more viable in person. 

This will give you a nice range of color saturation for each Stain. From these results you can decide what you like and do further testing if desired.

So, for example, if you like the color/look of the third stripe from the left on the Celadon Line Blend, then you would mix up the Base glaze with the addition of the 2% Bentonite and then 5% Mason Stain #6201 - Celadon.


I've labeled each image with the Mason Stain used and tried to test all colors on both red and white clay. (Though you can see the state of some of my test tiles is a bit rough and I'm missing red clay samples for the Lobster Stain and Chartreuse Stain.)



Lots of testing, but if you're (crazy) like me, you love this part of the process! If you've got questions, just leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Well, happy glaze testing. Meagan

Elise Somers commented on 04-Mar-2013 08:58 AM
Hi Meagan,
Xtra big thanxs for your posts. I would like to use Mason stains in a mat glaze? ( Like amaco velvets) So I can do multiple firings. Any recipes, ideas? Have great morning

Elise Somers
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 06-Mar-2013 04:47 PM
Hi Elise,

You're looking for a base glaze that has a mat surface? One you could color by adding mason stains? I don't have one I currently use, but let me check my notebook to see if I have a recipe I could recommend trying. I'll get back to you with that ASAP!

Thanks again for checking in!
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 07-Mar-2013 08:20 PM
I found this matte glaze in my notes. I haven't tested it, but it looks pretty good.

Zaedar Matte Cone 05/04

Lithium Carbonate 7
Wollastonite 25
Frit 3134 40
OM4 22
Silica/Flint 6

Good luck! I'd love to hear how it turns out!

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