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Black copper oxide (CuO) is a blackish-grey powder used as a colorant in the preparation of slips and glazes. It acts as a flux and produces fluid glazes. Black copper oxide can also be prepared as a wash and used for brushwork application to bisqueware. In oxidation, it typically produces greens, while its reduced form is red. Because it contains more copper than copper carbonate, copper oxide is more intense.
Suggested concentrations of copper in the preparation of slips and glazes are as follows:
In slips: 2 - 8%
In glazes: < 5%
If concentrations above 5% are used, glazes often change to a metallic pewter/black.
Black copper oxide is harmful if swallowed and a potential skin and respiratory tract irritant. Please use protective coverings when handling this substance.