Stay Organized by Making Sample Glaze Tiles

Art teachers are always looking for the next best way to sort our assortment of clay supplies. Yes, I get a little giddy when things are neatly organized, and it brings me great pride when students mention how these organizational tidbits work well and make everyone’s life in the art room that much easier.

One magnificent tip to help students understand glazes is to create glaze tiles!

I got the idea because when it came time to glaze, no one ever knew what “Firecracker” or “Amber” would actually look like. Glaze tiles solve this problem. In addition, if you attach the glaze tiles directly to the glaze containers, it makes everything even easier!

How to Create Glaze Tiles

  1. Roll out slabs of clay.
  2. Cut out small rectangles that will fit on your glaze containers.
  3. Label each clay tile with the glaze number and glaze color title.
  4. Add texture to your clay tile to show students what the glaze will look like in grooves.
  5. Bisque fire the tiles.
  6. Glaze the tiles with the correct color.
  7. Glaze fire the tiles.
    Make sure you double check your glazes to see what temperatures they need to be fired to. Do separate firings if necessary.
  8. Use clear tape or velcro to attach your glaze tiles to the correct containers.
    Alternately, you can attach the tiles to the container lid. This way, when it’s time for a new jar, you can just re-use the lid with the glaze tile already attached.

Voila! No more glaze color confusion! Students will know exactly what the finished glaze color will look like, and so will you.

I buy the glaze color in both pint and gallon sizes. I use the pint-sized jars with students and refill them with the glaze from the gallon jugs when needed. It saves a little extra money to order in bulk sizes.

Creating glaze tiles is a great way to help students choose the right colors for their project and a great way to help you organize stay organized!

How do you label glazes for students to use in the art room?

Any other ceramics organization tips out there?

Chelsie Meyer

This article was written by former AOE writer and technology guru Chelsie Meyer.


  • Erica

    This is totally a summer project. Need to stock up on glazes it’s time for a donorschoose we never have money for glazes!

    • Erica

      I have been trying to do this for years!!! My issue is I’m always buying different glazes:) going to stick to the same colors to make life easier

      • Hello Erica,  Yes this would be a great summer project! That is the commitment piece.  I tried to choose a range of glazes I knew students really loved before I bought the bulk gallon size $.  This year I did add a few additional glazes and underglazes based on what colors students were asking for.  I thought I would try them out this year as pint size and see how things go before committing to the gallon container.

  • guest

    I make my samples but include a hole in the top so that they can be strung and hung.  I have a pegboard with hooks and hang the sample tiles there.  It’s easier to compare and pick out colors (and cones) that go together.

    • I love pegboards for helping to organize art supplies! Do you fire both low & high fire ?  My glazes are cone 05-06 low fire, to keep it all straight. :)

      • guest

        I have both high and low fire glazes on the tiles. They are on separate areas of the board.   I also have samples of the different clays as well.  Glaze looks completely different on red clay than on a white one!  On the back of each tile, the information is recorded with a black permanent marker.  Included is: name of the glaze, cone at which it is fired, and the company who makes it.

        • guest

          This is a picture of part of my pegboard.

          • Thanks so much for sharing this! What great organization! I’m sure your students enjoy using this to select their glaze colors!

            I really like the fact that you are able to use BOTH low & high fire glazes, as well as red and white clay. What a wonderful glazing experience you provide for your students!

          • I am drooling over your selection of glazes!

  • Dawn

    I have taken a couple of flawed bisque ware bowls and covered them with wedges of color inside and out. After firing I wrote the names with black Sharpie. If we use up a glaze we cross out the name and I know to order more.

    • Hello Dawn,   Thanks for sharing. What a great way to use Sharpie to label the glaze color!

    • I like the large bowl idea and also the small tile idea- How to choose! I currently don’t have a sample glaze time method, so deciding what to do will be key. I love using clear glaze on red earthenware clay, too. It’s simple and beautiful!

  • What a great idea!  I make circles out of clay with numbers on them.  I make 30 of them at a time.  When I get a new glaze, I paint a clay circle and fire it.  Then I add it to my “Glaze Board.”  It is a canvas board that I have glued the clay circles to.  The number on the circle cooresponds to the number on the glaze.  Students go to the Glaze Board to choose their color, then find the table that has that glaze at it.  I like how you have them attached to the bottles.

    • Cassidy, I like how certain tables then have those glaze colors at them. Students know right where to go. Thanks for sharing!

  • I want to try this with my glazes but I think I will cut a circle a little smaller than the lid of the glaze jar and glue it to the lid! That way I can just switch the lid with the sample to another bottle of glaze when empty. 

    • Hello Cathy, What a great idea to simply switch the lid. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cindy

      Great idea! I am totally going to use this idea… with my own twist. All of my glazes are stored in a drawer, so it makes perfect sense to have the coloured glaze examples attached to the top of the jar! I will also label the colour name in permanent marker to ensure the colour matches the appropriate jar. The students will also see the name of the glaze so they can write it down in their notes/plan. Can’t wait to do this!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Chris Hibbard

    I make similar tiles for each color I order. I have organized the glaze bottles into boxes or trays by color families. Each box/tray has its accompanying piece of foam core. I hot glue the color tiles on the appropriate piece of foam core.   When it’s time to glaze, I put the boxes and foam cards on the front supply table. The kids can choose which colors they want and take the jars. At clean up time, the plan is to return the jar to the box from which it was taken. Having the foam cards in front of them allows any student helpers to quickly sort any mistakes. Since I have some colors from different companies, I also put that info on the card. This method has helped me and my students.

  • artstudio301

    Because I teach middle-school art, I need to be vigilant with students dipping their brushes into different colored glazes in which can contaminate the colors. So I pour out about 2 oz. of glaze into disposable 4 oz. plastic souffle cups (the kind used in the restaurant business that can be purchased at Sam’s or Costco). With a Sharpie, I write the name of the color on the outside of the cup. I have glazed tiles with the names of the colors already on them for students to look at for reference. This way they have their own cup of glaze. If the glaze gets soiled, I only have to throw away a small amount. When the student is finished using the glaze, they are instructed to snap the lid back on and return it to a tray I have set up. I rinse the cups out periodically and reuse them when I need to refill them, this way there is little waste. The lid snaps on pretty tightly, so the glazes keep for the time period that students need to finish glazing their projects (about a week). When the project is done, cups get rinsed and stored for the next time. Some lids crack after snapping on and off several times; that’s when I replace the broken ones with fresh lids. Doing it this way saves me counter top space, avoids ruining the entire bottle of glaze, and is portable to move around. Depending on your class size, you will know how many how cups to set up before hand and which are the more popular colors. Clean up is quick and goes smoothly because the souffle cups are easy to manage for this age.

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  • Amanda Fleischbein

    I do something very similar! I teach 5th-8th grade, and have four tables in my room. Three tables are color “groups” (reds/violets, blues/greens, yellow/orange/neutrals), and the fourth table, closest to my kiln in left empty. Students move around the room freely, then put their finished piece on the empty table. This lets me easily load the kiln too! Honestly, it’s awesome. Unfortunately, one student dropped their piece early in the year, causing it to break. Luckily, it was reparable, and word spread quickly through the school that “Mrs. Fleischbein wasn’t kidding when she said to be careful on glaze day”!