Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi




Carbon paper (originally carbonic paper) is paper coated on one side with a layer of a loosely bound dry ink or a pigmented coating, usually bound with wax. It is used for making one or more copies simultaneously. In the past it was used when typing with a typewriter, layers of paper and carbon paper were put together so when typing an original document three or four copies were made.

In pottery it can be used to mark the outlines of a design on to ware that is going to be decorated. A design is prepared on paper, this is put on top of the carbon paper and they are laid over what has to be decorated with the carbon side touching it. Using a pencil, draw following the lines of the prepared design so it is marked onto the object. This can be done onto dry clay, bisque and glazed surfaces. When marking onto a fired glaze it is better first to cover the surface with a thin layer of Arabic glue, which acts as an adhesive to the colors and helps to hold the ink of the drawing. Both Arabic glue and carbon are natural products and will burn away when fired.