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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making Your Own Knobs - Intro to Finishing a Ready-to-Fire Ceramic Knob

There are two options of ready-to-fire ceramic knobs, glazed and unglazed.

[caption id="attachment_111" align="alignleft" width="90"] Unglazed[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_112" align="alignright" width="90"] Glazed[/caption]

The difference between the two is that the unglazed has not had any paint applied to it, so the glazed knob is shinier and softer.  The color of the unglazed knob is the color of the clay; glazed knobs usually come in white or clay colored (when it's been coated with a clear glaze).

The unglazed option allows for you to paint the knob any base color, the glazed knob is already coated with base and you can paint a design right onto it.  To paint these ceramic knobs you can use acrylic paint or glaze, both can be purchased at an arts store or online.  If you use acrylic your project is finished as soon as your paint is dried.  On the other hand if you use glaze you will have to fire your knob in a kiln.  You must use a kiln, which is a special oven for firing clay, a regular oven cannot do the job.  If you do not have access to a kiln, you may be able to find a pottery shop, a local ceramics studio or ceramics artist which will be willing to fire your pieces for you.  Regardless of whether you are using acrylic or glaze you will want to get a few different sizes of brushes, making sure to get smaller ones if you plan to paint a lot of detail.  Also, make sure you to get medium soft or harder brushes if using underglaze as it will make it much easier to apply the paint because it is not as thick as acrylic.

You may want to keep in mind that if you use glaze, the paint will be fired onto your knob - meaning it will be set on the clay.  On the other hand if you use acrylic, which is a plastic-based paint, it will be superficially set on the clay.  What this means is that the durability of  your work is affected, with fired glazed knobs lasting longer than acrylic painted knobs.  However, if your knobs will be mostly decorative and not will not be handled too much, acrylic will work just fine and then you do not have to worry about finding a kiln if you do not have one.

[caption id="attachment_113" align="aligncenter" width="108"] Almond Color Glazed[/caption]

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