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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Designer Liner Tips

Pun intended, because there are 2 tips on each little bottle of Mayco's Designer Liners.
First is the plastic screw-off top (under a tiny white press-on cap) which has a tip for dispensing thick lines.  But there's an additional little metal tip which comes in the bag, as well as a little round topped straight pin.  The metal tip can be just pressed down with its collar on the plastic tip, and believe it or not, it will stay there the rest of the time you use it...if the glaze doesn't dry out.

Drying out is a major thing to avoid with little tips.  If I leave my Designer Liners (DL's from now on) sitting around for a month, they usually get dried glaze in the tip.

To avoid that I try by leaving the little bottle upside down, as well as keeping it inside the original plastic bag.  If that fails I will remove the metal tip from the plastic tip, push the pin in and out a few times, then just submerge it in water and use a brush to get all the dried glaze out.  ALL is important, because dry glaze will just wait till you're in the middle of something beautiful to clog the tip back up. And inside the plastic top there may also be dried glaze, which will respond to the same water technique.

All this before even using it...or at least the second time.  The first time it usually isn't dried out, somehow.

I also want to thank the Mayco demonstration guy that came last year to Highwater and showed me and some friends how to use the DL's.

These little bottles create air keeping them shaken upside down is a great idea.  Maybe they'll eventually make the bottles so they stand on their heads, but I just keep shaking mine upside down, to get the glaze into the tip, and the air bubbles up in the bottom of the bottle when in dispensing position.

You need to start the glaze coming out by making dots and lines on a paper towel or a piece of something without any grit to get into that little hole.  Squeeze gently as you pull it towards you, and you will make lines.  Or squeeze and tap gently on the surface and you get dots.

Avoid letting gritty things get sucked back into the nozzle.  This means clay, especially.  And glaze also.  So I've found glazing on bisque-ware gives the least amount of grit to be picked back up by the nozzle as I apply lines.  It doesn't keep it from happening completely, (even after sponging off the surface dust) so a frequent cleaning with sponge, a drop of water, and quickly making dots on my test surface will clear the tip.  Also using that wonderful pin, which I keep in the sponge so I don't lose it (again.)

Now let's paint.  Just as when using a paintbrush, always pull with the point coming toward the easy movements of your hand.  I can come down towards my body, or to the side away from my body in the direction of my hand...for me to the right.  This gives an easy stroke, and when I get where the stroke is hard to move, I lift the tip.  I'm squeezing the whole time I'm applying, and stop as I pull the tip up.  My arm is either braced on my body or a table.

When the lines start to look diminished, it's time to clean the tip...starting with just tapping it on my practice surface.  This must happen every couple of minutes, but I haven't been able to get away from it.  I'm still squeezing at the same pressure, but less is coming out.

If you should get a blob on your work, or you sneeze and your line goes off in the wrong area...just let it dry, but not too long, and with a fine knife edge, scrape off the wrong place and you're ready to put the correct line on.  However, remember how soft that bisque-ware is, and don't scrape too much.

I may have cracks in my little spirit house, but the bottom can be signed with Designer Liner.  It won't stick to the shelf in the glaze kiln! 


  1. wow, sounds like a lot of trouble, I think I'll stick with my mason stains and thin paint brush for lines.

  2. Great tips! I don't use DL but have some of those bottles and tips for doing glaze decoration. Like my slip bottles, I remove the screw cap and metal tip and clean thoroughly after each use. With slip that stays in the bottle I float a little water on the top to prevent the slip from drying. Before use, pour off the excess water, then shake it up; test for thickness. I learned that trick from a decorator at Salmon Falls Stoneware in Dover, NH. She worked full time slip trailing pots for salt glazing. When using glaze in the bottles, I empty and wash after each use.
    I love the details on your spirit houses. They must be fun to decorate.

    1. Great info on slip trailing containers, Michele...THANKS. I may try the clean it when done trick, rather than when starting work.

  3. great use of the DL on your work. I looked it up and it seems they only fire to Cone 6 while I fire to Cone 10 - what a shame...

  4. Hi - I love Designer Liner - I also use it on glazed ware - to jazz up a decoration. Glazed ware is much easier to draw on as the tip does not catch a it does sometimes on bisque ware. I use it on cone 10 work and refire in cone 6 - so then the line usually does not get runny as the glaze underneath does not run. However not sure if this is then dishwasher safe - so use it on vases and such stuff. To see examples - .
    To see eamples -

  5. I love designer liner. I transitioned from being a painter to a potter, and DL allows me to bring some of my old life into the new. However, I have had a terrible problem with the white liner lifting up during the glaze firing. It is only the white liner which behaves this way, as though there is a shrinkage incompatibility between the mayco stoneware glazes and the mayco DL. But this problem does not occur with the black DL. I really want to use the white. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. I'd try calling Mayco at this point. I've had a few of my white dots bounce off...but i'm applying them at the end of my process. They also didn't do that well with a glaze that kind of went too hot. Do you also put some clear over the designer liner? I have to be careful not to apply too much.

    2. Thanks, Barbara. I don't clear glaze over. I've stumbled upon something I really like the looks of with a raw, flat gray with the white Designer Liner, but so far I have not been able to produce a single food safe piece, because I'm afraid something might chip off. I've tried cooling the kiln slowly, tried thinning the glaze, nothing works. I'll try a new bottle of liner and then call Mayco.

  6. Great info. Thanks. I didn't realize that the Designer Liner was designed for cone 5-6. We use a reduction kiln, cone 10. Does anyone know if the DL simply drips at cone 10 or could something worse happen? Thanks in advance for any tips

    1. Sorry, I don't know. You can always call/look on line at Mayco. Their support has been really good when I called.

  7. I love Designer Liner. My daughter and I use it all the time! We have a Highwater Clay in Clearwater, FL near my house. Sooooo gosh darned convenient. My daughter sometimes paints small detail with Designer Liner. It's a God send.


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