Ken Horstman Studios

Magic Water Part Three

This is part three in a series about some of the many uses of Magic Water.  Please refer to my blog, Magic Water Part One and Magic Water Part Two for the Recipe(s), a description of what it is and other uses.  They also contain some helpful links.


One of the ways to use Magic Water. Is to add dried and crushed dry from your trimming scraps etc… to your magic water and blend with an immersion blender to your desired thickness.    This liquid can be used for attaching handles etc.. or it can be used as a decorative slip.  It can also be made extra thick by adding more clay and it can be used to make drips on the side of your pots  ( if you want  to know the science behind this just use the contact page to ask me a question.)  You can also add colorants such as Mason Stains or Chemical Oxides  to this slip for a wide variety of results.  I recommend adding the colorants to some magic water before adding to the slip to ensure better blending.


Magic Water is also great for repairing cracks and attaching pieces to greenware as well as leather hard clay.  I find I do have better results with leather hard clay as opposed to greenware.   First get some Magic Water and some Thickened Magic Water Slip.  ( this should be quite thick and may take some practice to get the thickness that works for you and your individual needs)

First take the pieces or crack you want to mend and brush the plain Magic water into the crack while it’s still wet brush the thickened slip over the crack until filled ( do both sides if needed).  Clean up the excess slip with a rib/fettling knife or tool of your preference.  Then as the patch is drying you can carefully burnish the area. this should help hide the crack ( you can skip the burnishing step if you don’t think it’s necessary)   

As with anything it may take some practice to get the results you want.    



Magic Water Part Two

In the previous post, Magic Water Part One (see link) I discussed what is magic water.  In this post I will discuss how I use magic water and several links on other ways to use magic water.

The way I like to use Magic Water to attach items is as a slip.  

Step1: Take a cup of Magic Water and put it in a container (one with an air tight seal/lid, so you can close it when to in use)  

Step 2:  I will take clay that has dried and grind in a powder. Or take clay when it is leather hard and use a food grater to grate it to the medium fine side of a grater box.  Then let this clay completely dry.   

Step 3: Add some of the dried clay from step 2 to the magic water from step 1 and mix in the container using an imersion  blender mix until smooth.  

I usually use a consistency of cream.

To use this mixture I score where I want my attachment and brush a coat of the slip to with er or both sides and press together.   I also do the same for attaching handles.

If you want your slip mixture thicker add more clay, thinner add more magic water or regular water or distilled water.  Playing with various thicknesses you will soon discover what works best in your studio  practice.


Here are a couple of different ways studio artists use magic water in their studio practice.

here is a good article from    lakesidepottery.com  also included in the article is making paper clay. It’s very insightful.

Next is Marion Williams pottery and she use the magic water straight which is a method you may prefer and you may find it to be just as effective.


Next I will explore more uses for magic water. 

As always if you have any questions or appreciate this content, please sign up for my my mailing list on the contact page   





Magic Water, Part One

Ever wonder what the best way to attach your handles?  Ever wonder what many potters use to make sure the slabs attach when hand building?   Well the answer you may be looking for is Magic Water.

In an over simplified world Magic Water is  Darvan 7 , a  deflocculant , and Soda ash (flux) mixed with water.  it’s basically a casting slip without clay.  Darvan 7 nd the soda ash both act like a flux and strengthen the clay.

There are several recipes out there and here are couple that I have used.


Magic Water Recipe  One

1 Gallon Water

3 Tablespoons of Darvan 7

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Soda Ash


Magic Water Recipe  Two

1 Gallon Water

3 Tablespoons of Sodium Silicate

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Soda Ash


I’m not sure if there are any real advantages to either recipe.  I’ve read sodium Silicate is a better glass former and may be stronger.  Darvan 7 is recommended for use in porcelain.  Since I use Porcelain a lot I use the Magic Water Recipe One.  I Encourage you to explore your options and what works best in your studio practice.


Next time I write about some of the ways Magic Water can be used.

To keep up with all that’s going on use the contact link to get updates and What’s new in the Studio.  Contact


Here are links to the sources I used.  

potters.org    marianwilliamspottery.com  lakeside pottery.com


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