Wax resists allow you to add intricacy to your pottery and ceramic projects. Choosing the best pottery-making wax resist is critical if you want to ensure your designs come out as planned. But how can you tell which wax resist will work best?
To help you pick out the best wax resists for pottery and ceramics, we’ve put together the following buying guide. Here, you’ll find wax resist products you can purchase, as well as tips on how to get the most out of using wax resist. We’ve even included a list of alternatives in case you decide wax resist might not be the way to go.
Are you ready to find your next best pottery wax resist? Let’s get started.
Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick summary of the products we recommend.
|Wax Resist Name||Why We Picked It|
|Grafix WM2 White Mask Liquid Frisket||Best All-Purpose Wax Resist|
|Penguin Pottery Wax Resist||Best Wax Resist Made in USA|
|Ceramic Supply USA Premium Wax Resist||Best Value Wax Resist|
|Laguna Premium Wax Resist||Best Premium Wax Resist|
|Amaco Wax Resist||Best Overall Wax Resist|
Best Wax Resist for Pottery & Ceramics
Here are our top picks for the best pottery and ceramics wax resist.
Grafix WM2 White Mask Liquid Frisket
This white mask liquid frisket from Grafix may not quite look like wax resist, but it achieves the same effect. Within this 2-ounce bottle is a removable latex that you can use on just about any material in order to resist paint and/or glaze.
In fact, this white mask liquid frisket is fluid enough to be airbrushed if necessary. This could create a very interesting effect on your pottery if you choose to apply it this way. Grafix makes the White Mask Liquid Frisket right here in the USA, so you can be proud of supporting the local economy.
- Made in USA
- Can be applied with an airbrush
- Applicable to various material types
- 2-ounce bottle may not go very far for larger projects
Penguin Pottery Wax Resist
Also made in the United States, Penguin Pottery Wax Resist comes in a large, chunky wax jar. This design is helpful for dipping wide brushes into the resist so you can get an even application. The jar lid unscrews easily as well.
Unfortunately, this wax resistance from Penguin Pottery goes on clear. That can make it a bit harder to visualize as you’re applying it, especially if you plan on adding more glaze to your bisque piece. However, there are ways you can get around this, as we’ll discuss in a later section.
Penguin Pottery sells its wax resist in a 16-ounce jar that can be diluted for use.
- Large, squat jar helps when dipping brushes in wax resist
- Can be diluted and still just as effective
- Goes on clear
Ceramic Supply USA Premium Wax Resist
If you’re looking for a wax resist with a fast drying time, check out the Ceramic Supply USA Premium Wax Resist. Sold in a 16 ounce jar, this wax resist has a bluish tint to it that the manufacturer cautions will burn off during firing.
This particular wax resist is non-toxic and water-based. It brushes on evenly for a solid application that you can depend on.
- Fast drying time
- Blue can be hard to see on bisque white background
Laguna Premium Wax Resist
The 16 ounces of wax resist within this jar from Laguna may not look like much, but when applied to your pottery piece, can help bring out your intended design. In fact, Laguna’s wax resist is great for thin areas of clay that tend to dry faster than the rest of your project.
The Laguna wax resist contains a slight coloring agent that allows you to identify where you’ve applied the product on your pottery piece. With a consistency slightly thicker than water, this wax resist can also be diluted with water and still remain effective.
- 16-ounce jar
- Coloring agent makes it easy to identify when applied
- Wide jar makes it easy to dip large brushes
- One of the more expensive wax resists on our list
Amaco Wax Resist
This liquid wax resist from Amaco has a coloring agent, which allows you to easily see where you’ve applied it. You can purchase the Amaco wax resist in either a 16-ounce bottle or a full gallon. Even with 16 ounces, you can easily dilute the wax resist in order to make it last for quite a while.
Amaco also makes this particular wax resist water-soluble. You can add water to thin the wax resist out or use it to remove excess resist where necessary. Once applied, the wax resist can be fired with the rest of the piece.
- Coloring agent to easily identify application
- 16 ounce or gallon options
- May resemble color of similar glazes and make differentiating the two difficult
Alternatives to Wax Resist
There are a few alternatives to using wax resist that you can turn to. Here’s a shortlist of the most common methods to use other than wax resist.
Sponge and Water
After finishing the glazing process, you may find you dripped onto a spot where you don’t want any glaze to be. In this case, you can easily catch it early enough by wiping the glaze away with a wet sponge. As long as you don’t let the glaze dry too much, you should be able to remove the majority of it with a wipe of your wet sponge.
Latex resist works in a similar way to wax resist, with a few differences. For example, latex resist can be peeled off if you make a mistake, whereas wax resist takes a bit more effort to remove.
At the same time, both latex and wax resists will clog up your brushes easily if you don’t take care of them and let them dry completely. Both latex and wax resists can be water- or oil-based, which affects how easily they’re removed from brushes and cups once dried.
Paraffin wax might be considered a canning and spa staple, but it’s also good for ceramics and pottery. In fact, you can easily melt paraffin wax in an electric skillet and apply it to your projects. Just be sure to practice caution around this wax, as it’s just as volatile when heated as other types of wax.
Raiding your child’s art supplies could be beneficial when it comes to wax resist. Crayons are made from melted wax and can be used in a pinch to keep glaze away from certain parts of your project. However, some crayons can leave color behind, even after firing. Keep this in mind if you want to use crayons on your pottery pieces.
Alternatively, there are many crafting crayons you can purchase. These crayons are often transparent or white in color and will not leave color behind after firing. They’re used for many other things besides ceramics, but that’s not to say you can’t find a use for them on your projects.
What to Look for in Wax Resists for Pottery & Ceramics
One jar of wax-resist can vary greatly from the next. If you’re unsure how to tell the difference between wax resists you find, here are a few characteristics you can look for to make a better buying decision.
Water-Based and Oil-Based
Wax resists can be water- or oil-based. One of the biggest differences comes with the cleanup. Water-based wax resists are water-soluble, so they’re easier to remove from brushes after use. Oil-based wax resists typically have a thicker consistency that can turn gummy as they dry.
Having a wax resist that’s identifiable when painted on your pottery piece can be a big help, especially if you’re working with intricate designs. Most of the wax resists we’ve included on our list have a color to them, but we do have a method for adding color if you scroll down to our tips section.
Depending on the color of the wax resist, it may be hard to tell the resist from the glazes you’re using. If you’re glazing a pot, for example, it’s best to separate your processes in order to ensure you apply resist where desired, as well as glaze. It may be helpful to draw out your pot on a piece of paper and structure out the wax resist and glazing application processes.
It’s always a good idea to purchase a quality wax resist, especially considering how much time you’ve spent on your project. Wax resists that don’t work can ruin the overall look of your piece, because they tend to fail only in certain areas. This can leave your piece with bare spots sporadically placed over your project, that may or may not be where you want them.
Diluted or Undiluted
You may look at the small amounts of liquid wax resist on our list and think it’s an expensive product. However, many of these wax resists can be diluted and still perform as they should. While they may be diluted slightly from the manufacturer, you can still dilute them even further.
We recommend experimenting to see what dilution ratio allows you to achieve the best results.
Most wax resists will cure within 15-30 minutes of application. However, there are some that may dry faster, which can allow you to work quickly if necessary. You should always follow drying times in order to achieve the best results during glazing.
If you’re applying wax resist over dried glaze, make sure the glaze is completely dry first. If the glaze is not fully dry, your brush could pick up the pigments from the glaze and muddy your wax resist process.
How to Apply Wax Resist
Here are a few tips you can reference as you use wax resist:
- Dedicate a handful of brushes to work with wax resist. You can dip the wax brushes in soapy water before using them with the wax resist to make cleanup easier but you should always clean your brushes as soon as you’re done applying wax resist. This will help them last longer.
- Colorless wax resist can be dyed with food coloring. This will allow you to see it better during application but it should come out during the firing process.
- If you’re wanting to paint a precise, even line on your piece, use a banding wheel with your wax resist. This also makes it easy to apply a thin coat on bisque ware.
- You only need a single coat of wax resist, anywhere from one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch up from the bottom of your piece. Remember, wax resist will in fact resist itself as well, so a second coat won’t do you any good.
What can I use to fire lids on my pottery projects?
If you plan on firing the lids of your pieces on their counterparts, you’ll want to add a bit of alumina to your wax resist. This will keep the lid and body of the piece separate during and after the firing process.
What can I use to clean wax resist?
While it may be easy to apply wax resist, it’s not as easy to remove it. If you catch it soon enough, you can remove the resist with boiling water, but practice caution.
If boiling water sounds like too much, you can also sand or scrape the dried wax off as well. In some cases, you can re-fire your piece to burn off the wax resist, but that’s not always possible if you already have a glaze applied to your piece.
How can I dilute wax resist?
Diluting wax resist should be done with small amounts of water. You can experiment with the particular wax resist you invest in to see how much you can dilute it before it becomes ineffective. A single layer of wax resist should be all you need.
How long should I let the wax resist dry?
Let the wax resist rest for 15-30 minutes on your piece before you handle it or proceed with any further steps. Make sure it’s completely dry before applying any glazes. Also ensure there are no air bubbles, as only the waxed areas will remain unglazed.
Can you fire wax in a ceramic kiln?
Yes, wax resist can be fired in a ceramic kiln. The wax burns off at a temperature of anywhere from 200 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, you may smell or see smoke as the wax burns off, so be sure to use wax resist only if you have proper ventilation or are working with an outdoor kiln.
What are some wax resist techniques?
Wax resist techniques typically include painting the resist up to a quarter-inch from the bottom of the piece in order to prevent the glaze from sticking to the kiln shelf. However, there are many other techniques you can use to apply wax resist, many of which resemble painting techniques. Experiment and you’ll soon figure out how you can best use wax resist for decorative effect.
We hope you’ve found this article on the best wax resist useful in your search. Working with wax resist can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you have a quality wax resist you can depend on.