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Slip Trailing


A technique of adding a relief pattern to a clay surface by trailing lines of slip (clay in thick paste form) using a tube or nozzle (like cake decorating). The raised lines and strokes are often colored and create a surface that is both visually appealing and tactile. Slip trailed lines are often applied to define areas of color and contours on pieces, or to highlight a painted design.

Slips are applied at the leather hard stage (where the ware is stiff enough to be handled but soft enough to bond with the slip). It is normally easiest if the slip is the same clay as the body of the piece, then they will have the same drying and firing shrinkages. If not care must be taken to choose or formulate a slip that is drying, firing and thermal expansion compatible with the body.

Online ceramic supply retailers offer a variety of tools and materials for this process. Many videos about slip trailing can be found on youtube. In fact, there are endless help pages all over the internet about this technique.

Cone 6 porcelain decorated via slip trailing

A transparent glaze appears to have been colored using green, blue and red stains. The slip is the porcelain itself. The bottoms of these pieces are signed "Law". Someone gave them to me years ago. Do you know who it is?

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  • (Glossary) Slip

    In ceramics, this term can refer to a number of th...


By Tony Hansen




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