Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TECH TIP: Mask for better silver stain application

Stains are corrosive to metals. I use brushes with plastic ferrels, a plastic palette knife, mix stains in plastic or glass containers and use a dedicated badger blender for stains.

Mask the area to be stained with contact paper.

Apply the stain broadly with a brush - keep the entire area evenly damp. The mixture should not be too wet. Consider this as a guideline: If you applied it to a horizontal surface the mixture would not drip.

Blend it with a badger blender.

Stop blending before the stain starts to dry. Dry the stain at this point with a hair dryer but be careful not to disturb it with too much "wind". When dry, remove the mask and watch for any stray flakes of dry stain that cling to the glass by static electricity. Remove these with a soft brush. Fire the stain face up in the kiln. It will contaminate the kiln shelf if fired face down. If you must fire the stain down use a removable barrier layer - like disposable fiber paper or a dusting of whiting.

You can blend the wet stain in a complex shape by masking as described above.

Here is another example of shading the application of stain. 

Q: What medium do I mix Silver Stain with?

Q: Can you help me with a simple question?  I'm ready to complete a silver stained piece and can't remember what medium we mixed to liquify the silver stain. 

I took the Silver Stain Workshop at Glencairn in Nov 2011.

Are you offering the classes again this fall; I know of someone who is interested in taking the class. Is there any room? Could you send a schedule of future classes.
Thanks again,


A: 99% of the time I mix silver stain only with water as shown in my book and on this blog. For the purpose of testing I mixed the silver stain with distilled water but at home I don't bother to be that precise. I never add gum arabic as the stain already has its own binder added. Brush marks definitely show in your silver stain work so you want to paint boldly so the entire stained area is the same wetness and then blend it with a badger. Laboring or futzing in the application of the stain will lead to terrible results - blotchy and inconsistent. The best method I have found is to mask the area to be stained with contact paper, apply broadly with an applicator brush then blend with the badger. Dry the wet stain stain with a hair dryer uniformly making sure not to disturb it as it dries with too much "wind". When dry remove the remove the masking. I do this by holding the piece upside down over the trash can and pealing off the contact paper. Any stray flakes of dried stain should be discarded in this way as they will stain the glass if left in contact with it. Be on the alert for flakes that cling by static electricity and remove these with a soft dry brush. Neatness counts! Do not breath the dust from the stains - wear a mask if necessary. The other 1% of the time I will mix silver stain with oil if I want to apply line work with a tracing brush or if I have very small areas that are impractical to mask.
You can also refer to this post

REGARDING CLASSES: It will take you a few clicks but start with the TAB marked CLASSES at the top of this blog and you can navigate to my upcoming workshops. You will also find information about private classes if nothing fits your schedule.

Success story

Here's the panel with a second coat of stain

I am happy to report that I made that pale stain work for my purpose! After studying your book, I laid the stain on nice and thick, turned the temp up to 1075 and held for 20 min as opposed to original 5. It came out gorgeous amber I needed. Thank you again! I am attaching a photo. May be your blog followers will find it helpful.

Thanks for sharing your success story! Here is a link to more of Ekaterina's stained glass