Specifically related to photoceramics, I am wondering what photosensitive materials exist that can be bonded to glass at high heat in a kiln (a microwave kiln to be more exact).

By non-toxic I mean a material that does no give off hazardous fumes, so silver, cyanotype and dichromates would be out of the question as far as I am aware.

The process I had in mind is, coat on glass, expose image via contact print using UV, then kiln fire to make the image permanent with the glass.


Essentially im after a non-toxic light sensitive material that can survive/is stable when it is bonded to glass. This could be at a vitreous enamel temperature, or a low melting point frit temperature.


2 Answers 2


There are a number of types of photosensitive glass which change in appearance and chemical reactivity upon exposure, and of photochromic glass, which undergoes reversible change in color with radiation.

If you are using this as a surface applique on ceramic, one key factor would be having thermal expansion coefficient compatible with the ceramic, or the object will crack on cooling. Consult the literature from a manufacturer, such as Schott or AZO Materials.

There are also techniques for making a photosensitive layer on ceramics, such as Pyrofoto, that do not involve applying glass. A small Pyrofoto kit is ~US$20.

BTW, you might find that microwave oven kiln adapters do not reach high enough temperature to be useful in this work -- literature states a limit of ~900°C, cone 010.

You might be better served with alternate technologies.

BTW, to see some astounding art in glass, often using etching to remove various colored layers of glass, se the works of Preston Singletary. In addition to hot glasswork, he uses various subtractive techniques to produce some spectacular pieces.

  • $\begingroup$ A photosensitive layer on ceramics is what im after. Pyrofoto is a dichromate (dichromates are now banned in europe), Are there other layerable types? Or am I stuck with the pyrofoto option? $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2021 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ You may be better served by alternate method, which I'm adding to the above answer $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2021 at 0:05

Old method (and quite expensive at present) would be to apply silver gelatin ("Liquid Light") to unfired porcelain, enlarge or contact print onto the silver gelatin, then replacement tone the silver image developed out with iridium chloride. Iridium will replace virtually all of the silver. Refer to pre-1990s 20th century cemetery portraits on headstones, typically on a bronze plate with a hinged cover. This commemorative technique was quite popular in the US among the Eastern European immigrants.

Modern technique is ceramic printing. Google / youtube search that phrase.


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