Standard Ceramic Raw Materials

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In Alberta, Canada, Plainsman Clays warehouses one hundred or more different name-brand popular ceramic materials from across North America. The most common use for these is making your own glazes.

Brand Name Materials

  • Kaolin: Pioneer, Tile#6, EPK, Helmer, Grolleg, Calcined, New Zealand
  • Feldspar: Custer, Mahavir, Minspar, Nepheline Syenite, Spodumene
  • Ball clay: M23, KT1-4, Bell Dark
  • Silica: Ottawa
  • Frit: Ferro
  • Slip: Alberta, Barnard, Ravenscrag
  • Raw colorant oxides, carbonates, sources: Cobalt, Chrome, Copper, Manganese, Iron, Nickel, Vandium, Rutile, Yellow Ochre, Fluorspar
  • Borates: Boraq, Laguna Borate, Gerstley Borate, Ulexite, Boric Acid, Borax Decahydrate
  • Fluxes: Lithium Carbonate, Zinc Oxide, Strontium Carbonate, Barium Carbonate,
  • Miscellaneous: Pyrophyllite, Volcanic Ash, Cryolite, Illmenite, Bone Ash, Alumina Hydrate, Molochite, Kyanite, Petalite, Soda Ash,
  • Other Clays: Bentonites (HPM-20, Hectalite, National Standard), Fireclay (Lincoln 60, Cedar Heights, Plainsman), Redart, Goldart
  • Opacifiers: Tin Oxide, Zircopax, Titanium Dioxide
  • MgO, CaO Sources: Wollastonite, Talc, Calcium Carbonate, Dolomite
  • Grog: Mulcoa, Christy (in fine to coarse sizes)


Stains are man-made powders. They are better (and safer) than metal oxides for coloring glazes fired below 2300F. Add them to base transparent and matte recipes. The percentage depends on the stain (typically 1-5% but higher for lighter colors or encapsulated stains). The brightest colors are achieved in recipes having the cleanest materials (high quality kaolins rather than ball clays, higher frit contents). Higher stain percentages are needed to color engobes (slips) because they have no transparency.

You can make your own dipping glazes by adding stain to Plainsman transparent matte or gloss base glazes. Most of these are mixed with about equal weights of water and powder (see instructions for each glaze for more detail). We recommend that slurries be thixotropic (gelled), this enables more even and quicker application.

You can also make your own brushing glazes by using a Plainsman transparent matte or gloss base glaze and adding stains and mixing with a combination of water and gum solution (start with half-and-half water-gum solution). Instructions can also be found on the pages for each of our base glazes.

Encapsulated stains enable you to achieve colors that are not possible with traditional stain blends. Inclusion stains 'encapsulate' microscopic particles of otherwise unstable colors into zirconium crystals. These crystals do not melt into the glaze and therefore isolate the cadmium against leaching. Glazes employing these stains should not be ball milled and not taken beyond cone 6. Higher stain percentages are needed.