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AMACO Egyptian Paste

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Pottery horse figurines made with Amaco's Egyptian Paste using yellow, mauve, green and blue.

Pottery horse figurines made with Amaco's Egyptian Paste in the yellow and mauve varieties.

Photo © Beth Peterson

The Bottom Line

AMACO's Egyptian Paste is a great way to explore this interesting clay offshoot without having the hassles of mixing up your own batches out of raw materials. If you are considering working with Egyptian Paste, these products will help you gain the experience you might need to make a fully informed decision.

Pros

  • Easy, trouble-free way to introduce yourself to Egyptian paste.
  • Comparable to Do-It-Yourself Egyptian paste bodies.
  • Thorough and understandable instruction sheet included in each box.

Cons

  • Color choices have decreased, and the traditional turquiose color is no longer available.
  • Like all Egyptian paste, these are very stiff and non-plastic.

Description

  • Comes in one pound boxes in four colors (as of this writing): yellow, green, mauve, and black.
  • Inexpensive way to discover and work with the peculiar properties of Egyptian paste.
  • Like most Egyptian pastes, AMACO's are self-glazing ceramic bodies fired to Orton cone 06 (1855°F - 1013°C).
  • NOT for use by children or in health care facilities.

Guide Review - AMACO Egyptian Paste

Before assessing AMACO's Egyptian Paste family (four colors of the same body), it is important to note the normal properties of Egyptian paste. By its nature, Egyptian paste is a low-fire, non-plastic, self-glazing ceramic body. Of these, the non-plastic properties may give you the most trouble.

The first thing you may be tempted to do is increase the amount of water listed in AMACO's instructions. Do not do it! Egyptian paste is incredibly stiff and non-plastic; too much water will not make it more flexible, it will only make it into a goopy mess.

Actually, AMACO's instruction sheet gives very good instructions on how to mix and use their Egyptian paste. Do start with the lesser amount of water. I increased the water slightly in a few bags, but on the whole once the water is thoroughly mixed in, the paste is ready to go. As noted, aging the paste a few days can help make it slightly more plastic (but it will not induce a miracle).

I worked with mine using pinch, coil, slab, and press mold methods of forming. Of these, press molds worked best of all by quite a large margin. Proper drying will greatly enhance the finished piece. Again, the instruction sheet gives good directions and tips.

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