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Fun Glaze Alternatives For Clay Projects

Clay projects are so much fun to do. Children and adults love creating ceramic projects and while we do love using clay glazes sometimes it just isn’t feasible. Here are different glaze alternatives to try during your next clay lesson.

different clay projects done with variety of non-glaze ways to add color.

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Why might you not want to use clay glaze?

Time, money and availability of clay glazes can all factor into needed to find other ways to add color to clay. Seriously if you have ever tried to get 500 clay projects fired twice before the end of the school year, you may be considering other options for adding color to ceramic projects. Use these ideas in your art classroom, studio or home. 

What makes a non-glazed clay project look cool?

The type of clear coat that you use can make a world of difference. Some clear coats will help seal the project, but can also have a fun appearance like the clay flower below.

two different images of clay flower pinch pot project painted with acrylic paint and then one sealed with gloss medium.
You can see how this pinch pot was painted with acrylic paint and the after was sealed with iridescent gloss medium.

What can you use instead of clay glazes?

We have used most of these materials in one way or another. This list will continue to get new images as we experiment with different clay coloring ideas.

clay fish and watercolor paint pallette after being painted.
Paint Clay With Watercolor Paint
Watercolor paint is a lot of fun for adding color to clay because you can work in layers with washes. Add darker washes in your textures to really make them stand out. Just like we acrylic paint, we love add a fun clear coat on top of these painted projects as well.
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small clay pinch pot with tissue paper decoupaged on.
Decoupage Tissue Paper On Clay
Any age child or adult can easily decoupage tissue paper onto their ceramic pieces. Use either a glue water mixture or mod podge to help create the look and style you want.
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clay flower pinch pot painted with pink and yellow acrylic paint.
Paint Clay With Acrylic Paint
A lot can be done with acrylic paint on clay. You can practice all your painting styles without worrying about the paint chipping off. We love adding different clear coats to really make acrylic painted clay pieces shine.
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3 different images of how to use oil pastel on clay flower relief tile.
Use Oil Pastels and Paint Resist
This is by far one of the coolest non-glaze ways to add color to clay. Every art teacher loves the classic oil pastel resist and why not try it on clay. This technique is perfect for clay tiles and other sturdy clay builds. See in amazement when you rinse the project under the sink.
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greenware clay monster with arrow pointing to monster with glaze on it and then after glazed monster was fired in kiln.
Only Do A Single Fire
This pinch pot monster project was done with glaze, but we glazed the greenware (or unfired clay). Get tips for how to glaze non-bisque fired ceramic pieces to save you time. Just beware that this technique can be a little risky.
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clay circle slabs with snowman and painted blue finished snowman craft for kids.
Use Crayon and Tempera Paint
Just like our oil pastel resist on clay, you can also use a crayon to resist watered-down tempera or acrylic paint. We love these adorable clay snowman ornaments that young kids can easily make.
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We hope you have fun creating pottery projects with these glaze alternatives. We know we love seeing the smile on a child’s face when they see their finished, colorful creation.

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