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Stain

Alternate Names: Ceramic Stains

Notes

Thousands of body and glaze stains are available from dozens of stains companies around the world. Some companies have been in business for a hundred years or more, many specialize in creating products for a particular manufacturing sector. Some companies have multinational distribution networks, others will deal directly with small companies. Most companies have technical staff and research facilities to handle a wide range of color problems.

Stains are fired blends of metal and ceramic oxides that have been reground into a fine powder. Stains containing otherwise toxic oxides can be employed without significant dangers. This is the first aspect of something that stains have that coloring oxides don't: stability. A second aspect of stability is that stains produce much more consistent and repeatable color than using raw oxide colors.

Stains are most popular at lower temperatures where colors tend to be brighter. However most stains can be used right up to high fire. Premixed low fire glazes are typically made by blending stains and commercial frits and other than following firing instructions, users of these products give little thought to the technical challenges that were overcome to produce them. This is a third key advantage of stains: the ability to target a specific color. Many ceramic color shades (i.e. reds) are difficult to achieve and beyond the abilities of end users.

While many stains are 'standard' and their composition is well known across the industry, others are proprietary. Stain companies don't release the exact makeup of stains but they do tell us the 'system'. For example, a green stain might contain chrome, cobalt and silica and be labeled 'CrCoSi'. Although silica is not a colorant itself, it is included to create a stable silicate crystal structure with the other two.

Stain companies often supply multiple products to produce a given color using different oxide systems (i.e. chrome-tin pink, manganese-alumina pink). Various factors like the base glaze chemistry, color shade, temperature, and end use determine the system you should choose. Knowing how to calculate the oxide makeup of a glaze or dealing with a stain company that provides good service are key factor to being able to troubleshoot color problems with stains.

Thus stains do not come with a 'unconditional color guarantee'. The shade produced depends on many of factors including the host glaze chemistry, on/over/underglaze use, glaze thickness, amount of opacifier, firing temperature, etc. Achieving colors with stains is certainly easier, but it is not a 'no-brainer'. Certain systems are quite flexible and produce color in many kinds of glazes (ie. cobalt silicate). Other systems either require that certain oxides be present in the host glaze in minimum amounts or others not be present at all. The symbiosis of host glaze chemistry and stain, for example, can be demonstrated with chrome-tin stains. They will not develop color if zinc is present or if there is inadequate calcia. It is common to hear people say that their pink stain 'burned out', but generally the stain is being used in an incompatible glaze base. Another interesting demonstration of these factors is the color chart of a typical stain company. These charts show the stain used in one or more fritted base glazes that are selected to be compatible with as many of the colors as possible. Certain samples will also have added opacifier and zinc, for example.

Admittedly, stains can produce homogeneous color which can be less interesting than the variegated and speckled color effects that can be achieved with raw metal oxides like iron, cobalt, copper, etc. But for manufacturing, it cannot be ignored that stains are far more consistent and reliable to use.

Potters love to paint stains over and under glazes to decorate ware. Majolica ware is a good example. However, keep in mind that stains vary in their willingness to allow the underglaze to envelope the color particles. Some tend to crystallize the surface if used overglaze. Likewise, if stains are used underglaze they vary in their willingness to allow the overglaze to penetrate through to form and interface with the body. Stains don't suspend well in water to create a paintable material either so it is necessary to mix them with a compatible and paintable glaze medium for doing brushwork.

Stains exist either in the context of the huge industrial ceramic industry or in the hobby, pottery, and ceramics markets. Large industries either have in-house technical people or contract consultants. Small users do not have this luxury. They should know that certain stain companies, (i.e. Mason) have developed excellent reputations for dealing with smaller volumes and providing support.

A fired glaze can leach heavy metals whether these metals are sourced from a stain or from raw metal oxides. Thus you should have your glazes tested for leaching if you are making functional ware having stained food surfaces. There are many factors that determine if a glaze is leachable (for more information see links).

Stains can be slightly soluble in water. This will be noted in the slurry and at times as a cloudiness on the surface of the fired glaze surface.

Related Information

Links

Oxide Analysis Formula
Materials Stain 6280
Materials Stain 6317
Materials Stain 6318
Materials Stain 6319
Materials Stain 6320
Materials Stain 6330
Materials Stain 6331
Materials Stain 6332
Materials Stain 6333
Materials Stain 6313
Materials Stain 6310
Materials Stain 6308
Materials Stain 6288
Materials Stain 6296
Materials Stain 6300
Materials Stain 6302
Materials Stain 6303
Materials Stain 6305
Materials Stain 6306
Materials Stain 6307
Materials Stain 6336
Materials Stain 6338
Materials Stain 6383
Materials Stain 6385
Materials Stain 6386
Materials Stain 6387
Materials Stain 6388
Materials Stain 6389
Materials Stain 6390
Materials Stain 6392
Materials Stain 6381
Materials Stain 6379
Materials Stain 6376
Materials Stain 6339
Materials Stain 6343
Materials Stain 6360
Materials Stain 6363
Materials Stain 6364
Materials Stain 6368
Materials Stain 6371
Materials Stain 6373
Materials Stain 6393
Materials Stain 6274
Materials Stain 6123
Materials Stain 6166
Materials Stain 6190
Materials Stain 6194
Materials Stain 6200
Materials Stain 6201
Materials Stain 6202
Materials Stain 6204
Materials Stain 6206
Materials Stain 6163
Materials Stain 6160
Materials Stain 6153
Materials Stain 6124
Materials Stain 6125
Materials Stain 6126
Materials Stain 6129
Materials Stain 6131
Materials Stain 6133
Materials Stain 6134
Materials Stain 6149
Materials Stain 6207
Materials Stain 6209
Materials Stain 6254
Materials Stain 6255
Materials Stain 6263
Materials Stain 6264
Materials Stain 6265
Materials Stain 6266
Materials Stain 6267
Materials Stain 6268
Materials Stain 6246
Materials Stain 6244
Materials Stain 6242
Materials Stain 6211
Materials Stain 6219
Materials Stain 6221
Materials Stain 6223
Materials Stain 6224
Materials Stain 6226
Materials Stain 6234
Materials Stain 6236
Materials Stain 6271
Materials Stain 6396
Materials Stain CF 600
Materials Stain C-184
Materials Stain C-202
Materials Stain C-2222
Materials Stain C-287EZ
Materials Stain C-292
Materials Stain C-416
Materials Stain C-464
Materials Stain C-620
Materials Stain C-183
Materials Stain C-182
Materials Stain C-181
Materials Stain CF 6140
Materials Stain CF 804
Materials Stain FCP 30
Materials Stain FCP 48
Materials Stain FCP-55
Materials Stains (inclusion)
Materials Stains Encapsulated
Materials Stains Mason
Materials Stain C-768
Materials Stain C-790
Materials Stain C-810
Materials Stain C-1865
Materials Stain C-892
Materials Stain C-896
Materials Stain C-1942
Materials Stain F-3786
Materials Ferro 239416 Yellow Stain
Materials Stain CF 2184
Materials Stain 6398
Materials Stain 6500
Materials Stain 6503
Materials Stain 6506
Materials Stain 6515
Materials Stain 6523
Materials Stain 6527
Materials Stain 6528
Materials Stain 6530
Materials Stain 6485
Materials Stain 6471
Materials Stain 6464
Materials Stain 6404
Materials Stain 6405
Materials Stain 6406
Materials Stain 6407
Materials Stain 6408
Materials Stain 6433
Materials Stain 6440
Materials Stain 6450
Materials Stain 6531
Materials Stain 6537
Materials Stain 6700
Materials Stain 6768
Materials Stain 6790
Materials Stain 6908
Materials Stain 6910
Materials Stain C 415
Materials Stain C 440
Materials Stain CF 1862
Materials Stain 6666
Materials Stain 6657
Materials Stain 6650
Materials Stain 6540
Materials Stain 6572
Materials Stain 6573
Materials Stain 6591
Materials Stain 6600
Materials Stain 6601
Materials Stain 6609
Materials Stain 6616
Materials Stain CF 1875
Materials Stain 6122
Materials Stain 1226
Materials Stain 1387
Materials Stain 1390
Materials Stain 14 E 35
Materials Stain 14 E 44
Materials Stain 14 E 87
Materials Stain 14 H 113
Materials Stain 14 H 200
Materials Stain 14 H 201
Materials Stain 1385
Materials Stain 1383
Materials Stain 1378-Y
Materials Stain 1228
Materials Stain 1243
Materials Stain 1243-A
Materials Stain 1289
Materials Stain 1359-C
Materials Stain 1377
Materials Stain 1377-U
Materials Stain 1378-M-3
Materials Stain 14 H 235
Materials Stain 14 H 236
Materials Stain 14 K 648
Materials Stain 14 L 114
Materials Stain 14 L 232
Materials Stain 14 L 305
Materials Stain 14 L 98
Materials Stain 14 M 124
Materials Stain 14 M 192
Materials Stain 14 M 200
Materials Stain 14 K 266
Materials Stain 14 K 193
Materials Stain 14 K 191
Materials Stain 14 H 362
Materials Stain 14 H 365
Materials Stain 14 H 386
Materials Stain 14 H 548
Materials Stain 14 H 674
Materials Stain 14 H 704
Materials Stain 14 H 708
Materials Stain 14 K 139
Materials Stain 14 M 204
Materials Stain 1221
Materials Stain (blue/green)
Materials Stain (blue)
Materials Stain (brown)
Materials Stain (flux)
Materials Stain (green/blue-green)
Materials Stain (grey)
Materials Stain (grey)
Materials Stain (grey)
Materials Stain (blue)
Materials Stain (green)
Materials Stain 6339
Materials 14R969 Brown Stain
Materials Red Stains
Materials Red Stains
Materials Stain (blacks)
Materials Stain (inclusion)
Materials Stain (orange)
Materials Stain 1089
Materials Stain 1094-K
Materials Stain 1094-S
Materials Stain 1094-V
Materials Stain 1099
Materials Stain 1207
Materials Stain 1208
Materials Stain 1208-F
Materials Stain 1051
Materials Stain (yellow/orange)
Materials Stain (yellow)
Materials Stain (pink)
Materials Stain (pink/coral)
Materials Stain (pink/crimson)
Materials Stain (pinks)
Materials Stain (white)
Materials Stain (yellow)
Materials Stain (yellow)
Materials Stain (yellow)
Materials Stain 1218
Materials Stain 14 M 222
Materials Stain 1821-E
Materials Stain 6001
Materials Stain 6002
Materials Stain 6003
Materials Stain 6004
Materials Stain 6005
Materials Stain 6006
Materials Stain 6007
Materials Stain 6008
Materials Stain 6000
Materials Stain 3794
Materials Stain 3778-A
Materials Stain 202
Materials Stain 2270
Materials Stain 3708
Materials Stain 3772
Materials Stain 3775
Materials Stain 3776
Materials Stain 3777
Materials Stain 3778
Materials Stain 6009
Materials Stain 6020
Materials Stain 6103
Materials Stain 6104
Materials Stain 6107
Materials Stain 6108
Materials Stain 6109
Materials Stain 6111
Materials Stain 6113
Materials Stain 6119
Materials Stain 6101
Materials Stain 6100
Materials Stain 6098
Materials Stain 6023
Materials Stain 6029
Materials Stain 6031
Materials Stain 6032
Materials Stain 6052
Materials Stain 6065
Materials Stain 6067
Materials Stain 6090
Materials Stain 6121
Materials Stain 1821-D
Materials Stain 14 M 265
Materials Stain 14 R 56
Materials Stain 14 T 158
Materials Stain 14 T 192
Materials Stain 14 T 390
Materials Stain 14 T 391
Materials Stain 1437-F
Materials Stain 1440-W
Materials Stain 1454-T
Materials Stain 14 R 452
Materials Stain 14 R 34
Materials Stain 14 R 32
Materials Stain 14 M 387
Materials Stain 14 M 432
Materials Stain 14 M 58
Materials Stain 14 N 110
Materials Stain 14 N 144
Materials Stain 14 R 191
Materials Stain 14 R 221
Materials Stain 14 R 297
Materials Stain 1458
Materials Stain 1465
Materials Stain 1556-A
Materials Stain 1582
Materials Stain 1606
Materials Stain 1611
Materials Stain 1617-D
Materials Stain 1630-G
Materials Stain 1632
Materials Stain 1819-K
Materials Stain 1555
Materials Stain 1529
Materials Stain 1523
Materials Stain 1476
Materials Stain 1477
Materials Stain 1490-E
Materials Stain 1496
Materials Stain 1499-B
Materials Stain 1513
Materials Stain 1515
Materials Stain 1516
Materials Stain 1821-B
Oxides CuO - Cupric Oxide
Oxides MnO2 - Manganese Dioxide
Oxides PrO2 - Praseodymium Oxide
Oxides Se - Selenium
Oxides NiO - Nickel Oxide
Oxides V2O5 - Vanadium Pentoxide
Properties Glaze Color
Glossary Colorant
In ceramics and pottery, colorants are added to glazes as metal oxides, metal-oxide-containing raw materials or as manufactured stains.
Glossary Encapsulated Stains
This is a type of stain manufacture that enables the use of metal oxides (like cadmium) under temperature conditions in which they would normally fail.
Glossary Ceramic Stain
Ceramic stains are manufactured powders. They are used as an alternative to employing metal oxide powders and have many advantages.
Articles Glaze and Body Pigments and Stains in the Ceramic Tile Industry
A complete discussion of how ceramic pigments and stains are manufactured and used in the tile industry. It includes theory, types, colors, opacification, processing, particles size, testing information.
Articles An Overview of Ceramic Stains
Understanding the advantages of disadvantages of stains vs. oxide colors is the key to choosing the best approach
Articles Formulating a Clear Glaze Compatible with Chrome-Tin Stains
In ceramics color is often a matter of chemistry, that is, the host glaze must be compatible and have a sympathetic chemistry for the stain being added. Chrome-tin stains are a classic example.
Articles Getting the Glaze Color You Want: Working With Stains
There are many things to know about to make the best use of stains, but one often ignored aspect is the relationship between glaze color and chemistry. If you want to control color you need to know about stains and chemistry.
Typecodes Colorant
Metallic based materials that impart fired color to glazes and bodies.

By Tony Hansen


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