Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jungle Gems Glaze Product Review

Last year, my 4th grade students created coil pots as Mother's Day gifts. This year, we're doing it again! I purchased some exciting new glazes called Jungle Gems to make this project even more fun. In addition, I asked the PTO  to purchase flowers to plant in the flower pots (they have a small hole in the bottom, and a saucer, so flowers can be planted directly in them!), and the PTO was totally on board. I am super excited about these gifts! I think we'll have a lot of happy mothers in May.

Because these glazes are new to me, I wasn't sure what to expect! I've used only Amaco glazes in the past. It's a big risk to buy enough of a new glaze to use with 90 4th graders, so I'm going to share my experiences with you, in case any other art teachers who read my blog are considering them.

First, the good:

1. This is probably obvious, but: they look cool!

2. The results are consistent! The bottle says 3 layers of glaze, so in order to save time, I told my students to do two thick layers. Some students have a different idea of "thick" than others, so despite various amounts of glaze, all the pots came out marvelously.

3. Along with that, the colors don't get blotchy where the glaze is thicker or thinner on each pot. I can't imagine my 4th graders all glazed perfectly evenly all the way around, but the glaze looks even on all sides!

Now for the bad:

1. They are very hard (nearly impossible!) to stir! All the crystals are at the bottom. Shaking the bottle or leaving it upside down for two weeks does nothing. I had to use a giant popsicle stick to stir the bottle up, and it was hard. Pouring some of the glaze into another container helps.

2. The little glass crystals are sharp! I got some cuts on my hands from handling the glazes and glazed pots, but the students did not from just handling their own. rubber gloves could be helpful.

3. Is it safe to wash paint brushes in the sink? I'm concerned about glass crystals clogging my drain!

4. They fire to Cone 06, which is different from all of the other glazes I have (Amaco F-series, O-series, LT, and LM), which fire to Cone 05. It can be annoying to not be able to fire all glazed projects together.

And now for the verdict: Would I use them again? Yes! Would I recommend them to others? Yes, they are an easy way to get interesting surface designs on pottery.

I purchased 9 colors, and now I'm going to review each one individually. It's hard to tell from the catalog how the colors look, so here are some photos:

1. Firecracker. A bright red with yellow and orange dots. Very consistent, and popular with the students.

2. Peacock Green. I love this color! The photo does not do it justice, at all! It is very shiny, almost iridescent, with many shades of green throughout.

3. Sassy orange. Yellow with orange and green dots. Very bright and bold.

4. Lagoon blue. A bit of a disappointment; mostly just blue with white dots; it seems to have a few green spots as well. It's a nice color, but the crystals don't do much for it.

5. Kaleidoscope. This glaze is a pale gray with many colors in it. It looks beautiful up close; from far away (when you can't see the colors), it looks more like a light tan.

6. Royal fantasy. Purple with other shades of purple scattered throughout. It's a pretty deep purple, kind of mauve.

7. Bloomin' Blue. This color is green with small blue spots throughout. It's a nice glaze, especially up close.

8. Masquerade. This color is very popular with the students. It's a pure black with yellow and red crystals throughout.

9. Strawberry Sundae. A redish-pinkish hue, speckled throughout.


  1. I agree completely with your review from the time I tried out a few of their colors. I haven't tried this, but I have heard that you can take old, dried up glaze and crush it into "crumbs" and sprinkle over wet glaze to create a simlar effect, which is such a great idea if it indeed works. Maybe worth a try.

    1. Neat idea! I imagine that would work especially well on a flat surface, such as a plate.