RESOURCES FOR ORDERING DECALS:
Commercial (Open Stock) Decal Resources:
Olympia Enterprises, Inc. (www.olympiadecals.com)
Har-Bon Ceramics and Decals (harbon.com)
FTH Studio International (http://fthinternational.com)
Trinity Decals (instardecals.com)
Held of Harrogate (www.held.co.uk)
The Ceramic Shop (theceramicshop.com)
Bailey Decal (baileydecal.co.uk)
Custom Order Decal Resources:
The Ceramic Shop (theceramicshop.com)
Inplainsight Art (inplainsightart.com)
Digital Ceramics (digitalceramics.com)
Art Decal Corp. (www.artdecalcorp.com)
J.T. McMaster & Son (www.skolldecal.com)
Little Chair Printing (www.littlechairprinting.com)
Ceramic Decal Printing (ceramicdecaprinting.com)
Milestone Decal Art (www.milestonedecalart.com)
Silk Screen Ceramic Decals (silkscreenceramicdecals.com)
1. First and foremost, the kiln must be in a ventilated atmosphere away from any workspace. Firing decals creates harmful fumes that can cause nasal and throat irritation, so fire them in a well-ventilated atmosphere.
2. Decals should dry on for 24 hours before loading into the kiln. Handle work carefully so as not to distort decals accidentally. I was taught to give decaled work a 1-inch (2.5 cm) space around the perimeter, as well as 1-inch (2.5 cm) stacking space, for burn-off and to prevent image distortion.
3. Set the cone in the sitter and/or create a program for the desired decal temperature.
4. Keep all peepholes empty and the lid cracked open about 6 inches (15.2 cm) during the first part of the firing. Keep the fire on low until about 500°F (260°C)if fired too quickly, you risk the decals coming off or having image distortion.
5. Lower the kiln lid to an opening of 2 inches (5.1 cm) when the temperature is between 500° and 600°F (260° and 315.6°C), and put the firing speed on medium. The purpose of leaving the lid open is to allow burn-off and fumes to escape. It is natural to see the decals turn brown and look burned when you take
a quick peek at them (remember to have that respirator on).
6. The burned material will disappear at around 800°F (426.7°C). Close the lid completely at that point and plug all the peepholes.
7. Once the kiln reaches the desired cone temperature, allow it to cool naturally. Ive even heard that programming a slow cool-down on a computerized kiln can create a better adhesion between decal and glaze and prevent thermal shock that causes stress to ceramic ware. These may be good tips to consider if applying many layers of decals and creating multiple firings.
FIRING TEMPS: If your image or decal wipes clean from the surface of your glaze, then the glaze wasnt fired hot enough to fuse the decal. If the image looks ghostly, faded, or disappears, the glaze firing was too hot.
TEST: Decals lend themselves to the surfaces of ceramics fired at all temperatures. However, some glazes do not like to be refired. Some will dunt, craze, crack, and even change color. Test! Seriously, test your glazes, especially if you work with mid- range and high-fire glazes. By refiring ware, youre causing it to go through additional stress, but also not allowing glazes to hit a specific maturing temperature can shift the appearance of your glaze.
GOLD: Decals with gold can be fired a bit hotter than the recommended temperature. I fire gold decals to cone 015 and highly recommend that temperature when a mid-range or high-fire glaze is used.
FOOD SAFETY: Many custom-made decals are food safe, or you can request food-safe pigments! However, some decals may contain lead. If you are unsure of what ingredients are in your decals, then I strongly suggest you dont use them on surfaces that come into contact with food or beverages.
RECOMMENDED GLAZE/DECAL TEMPS
Low fire (cone 051) --- Decal fire to cones 018017
Mid-range (cone 27) --- Decal fire to cones 016015
High fire (cone 810) --- Decal fire to cones 016015