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The How-to for Fired Lusters: Article or Project

Suitable fired, glazed ceramic item
Appropriate soft bristled brushes
Essence or Mineral Spirits
Q tips (cotton swabs)
Soft cloth
Luster of choice

More Details

Lusters (Mother of Pearl, Mardi Gras, Halos) are chemically induced special effects that create a touch of elegance to glazed items. These are iridescent over-tints of varying color and degrees of translucency. Applied unevenly which is its purpose to create the greatest effect. Can be applied to any color of glaze with differing results. No two pieces turn out the same.

When EPA and CPA got involved in the field of paint production, many of the wonderful lusters were taken off the market in the USA; however some manufacturers are making great strides in duplicating some of them.

To apply lusters to your glazed item, make sure it is clean and dust free. It is a good idea to wipe it down with alcohol to remove finger prints and other spoilers. DO NOT shake or stir the luster.

Use a dry clean soft bristled brush that is reserved only for lusters. Dip brush into the luster and apply a thin coat to your glazed item, using a circular brush stroke. The larger the brush and the larger the circles, the larger the crystallized pattern will be. Broad sweeping strokes rather than circular will create an entirely different effect.

If you get luster on an area you do not want it, clean it with a Q tip dampened with essence, or mineral spirits.

Let the luster dry for 24 hours then fire to cone 020-018 in a well-ventilated kiln unless the product instructions indicate differently.

Clean your brush with essence, cleaner or mineral spirits and store in a manner that will ensure the brush is not used for other purposes. If you clean your brushes by swishing them in the essence bottle, do not use the same essence for metallics, contamination will contaminate future application and firings.

NOTE: Gold/metallics and lusters should not be fired in the same kiln. If you want them on the same piece, fire the metallic first and then apply/fire the luster

Weeping and Halo lusters have similar application, but you will need to follow directions on the container as each manufacturer may differ.

Metalics and Lusters create fumes during the firing process which conflict and contaminate each other. After their first firing, there are no further issues with contamination.


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