Materials Monday: Marvelous Mason Stains®
To celebrate this accomplishment, and to highlight the talented artists who utilize Mason Stains® in their work, Brackers is running a promotion! To enter, all you need to do is make a post on Instagram or Facebook featuring a photo/s of your work using Mason Stains® and include the hashtag #MarvelousMasonStains and we will send you a code to receive 20% OFF of your next Mason Stains® order.
Why Use Mason Stains®?
Mason Color Works Inc. is a quality brand that has been around since 1842 and a global supplier of ceramic pigments for over 40 years and offers over 90 colors of pre-mixed ceramic stains. These stains can be fired at Low, Mid, and High Fire temperatures and applied to ceramics in almost every way imaginable.
What are Mason Stains®
Mason Stains® are oxides or combinations of oxides and opacifiers that have been blended and fritted* to ensure color consistency and stability for uniform firing results. They can be used to add color to clay bodies, slips, engobes, and glazes. Luckily for us all, the fired color of most stains is very similar to the raw color. If you can’t find the exact color you were hoping for, they can be blended to achieve other colors; however, not all Mason Stains® colors are compatible with each other. This variation is due to the different chemicals required to formulate each color. Specific advice can be found for each color on the Mason Color Works website here. Custom colors can also be requested from them if larger, productions-sized quantities are needed. As always, the best way to achieve your desired results is just to test, test, test until you find what works for you, your clay, and your kiln.
*Frit: A frit is a ceramic composition that has been fused, quenched, and granulated/powdered to render the component materials insoluble.
Mason Stains® can be mixed into a white glaze for opaque color or into a clear glaze for translucent “celadon-esque” appearances. Intensity of the color is determined by the percentage of stain added to the glaze. Generally, we recommend a starting point of 20-25%. We even weigh the bags out in 1/4# amounts, so you can start off by mixing one bag into one pint of glaze and then “season to taste”
Similarly, Mason stains can be mixed into underglazes or engobes for decoration purposes too!
You can even mix the stains with water and decorate on top of a glaze for beautiful brushed-on decoration and majolica techniques. (Please note that at low temperatures, the stain needs to be mixed with a flux. We suggest equal parts stain, Frit 3124 and Gerstley Borate)
You can also use stains mixed with water directly on bisqueware and then cover with a clear glaze.
Extra Tips and Tricks
- When adding stains to a moist or liquid base such as moist clay, glaze, or slip, try mixing the stain first with a little bit of water (to a consistency of latex paint or slightly thicker) to make it easier to blend with the base.
- Heavy-duty (or freezer style) zip-close plastic baggies are particularly useful when adding stain to a clay body in small amounts to reduce mess and wasted stain. Just close the bag securely and knead the stain into the clay until well mixed. You can also make thin slabs of clay and apply a layer of the stain-and-water mixture between each slab, then knead/wedge together.
- Bracker’s Mason Stain Handout: PDF click here.
- Linda Arbuckle’s Majolica Handout: PDF click here.
- Mason Color Works Reference Guide: Webpage click here.