Hi there! I was wondering what clay, paint and sealant you use for your reptile dishes you make? I wanna make one for my lil guy, but I wanna make sure all my supplies are reptile safe. Thanks!
They are ceramic and glaze, fired to
As far as I know there are no safe modeling materials that aren’t kiln-fired from which to make reptile dishes.
However, there are options, such as carved foam, which are safe for hides, as long as food and water are not being offered in them. Some people make water dishes with foam sealed with silicone aquarium sealant. I can’t recommend that due to the fact that the resulting dish would be extremely hard to clean and could harbor bacteria, is soft and prone to damage, among other reasons.
I have recently found a food safe resin I’d like to experiment with. Most resin available to the home crafter is not food safe. It is clear, which limits its use for things like hides (though I have some ideas), but it could make some cool crystal-looking dishes (possibly with embeds). Resin casting is an involved process of first sculpting, then making a mold (generally out of silicone), and finally casting. It requires technical mold-making knowledge to start. It is extremely toxic and releases dangerous fumes before it’s cured. However, the final product would be safe in this case. I haven’t worked with this particular resin before so I can’t recommend it yet.
personal shop fave paperandclaystudio is run by maker brit whose smooth, understated aesthetic is right up my alley. i have one of her ‘fuck yeah’ mugs and it’s my #1 pick in the morning, but i’d also love to continue adorning our cottage with more ceramic goodies like these color-dipped trays and milk bottle-style vases, also available in other hues.
Oscularia deltoides cutting in handmade pot signed R*
I came into a large cache of pottery the other day all by the same artist. Several were about this same 3" size with the same blue-green glaze over partially exposed natural tan earthenware. Of course I started thinking about what plants I have that could match! You will see a few more in the future using this tan Bonsai Block topping stone.
Bubbles are a crowd-pleaser on every party and this exceptional 14k Gold wand and white ceramic ball are an eye-catcher even if they are not in use. Lance McGregor created the Bubble Ball an Wand together with the 3D-printed design and home accessory specialist Othr.
Are ceramics, paints and glazes that are human safe safe for reptiles too?
For the most part they are safe… but there are exceptions.
Low fire ceramics (terra cotta, earthenware, etc.) are porous. Only use new pieces for your pets, as a used piece may have absorbed pesticides or fertilizers or a toxic cleaner. Do not feed off porous surfaces. Unfortunately a lot of commercial dishes (such as you would get at any store) are also low fire. Most are covered in a glaze, so they are not porous on the food surface, but may have an un-glazed ring (foot) on the bottom. Chips and cracks means potentially dangerous substances can reach the porous clay.
Especially for artisan ceramics, food safe dishes may have a safe glaze on the eating surface, but a non food-safe glaze on the outer surface. Totally fine for human use, but not so much for sitting in an animal enclosure.
Vintage pieces, such as from a thrift store may not be labeled, and may contain lead… or uranium….
Finally, I avoid glazes using copper as a colorant in all my animal-safe pieces. This is possible overkill as a good glaze is unlikely to leach copper. However, in an acidic environment (touching constantly moist substrate with peat in it, or in a soft water fish tank) it could potentially leach over time. For reptiles, as far as I know, this isn’t a big deal. However, copper is toxic to inverts and some fish and amphibians, so I make sure my dishes are safe for all animals, because I never know how someone is going to use it.
In terms of paint (which does not go on ceramics), most paint is not meant to be walked on constantly, or eaten off of. Acrylic paint is the paint I most often recommend for reptile enclosures, as it’s essentially inert polymer once thoroughly dry. I don’t recommend it for food surfaces, however. In addition, it’s best to cover it with a protective sealant which will help protect it from damage. Shield’s All for example is essentially a clear acrylic that is stronger and meant to hold up.
Sealants do not protect animals from potentially dangerous surfaces. They are meant to protect the surface from the reptile, not the other way around.