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Metal lustres are usually applied to a fired glazed surface, normally by brushing, spraying, screen printing or stamping, although other techniques are possible. Lustres can thicken on standing and thinner or essence can be used to thin the lustre as well as to clean up. Care should be taken when using lustres as some of the metals contained within them are harmful. Wear a mask and avoid skin contact.

Grease and dust interfere with the lustre process, so cleanliness must be maintained throughout. Lustre should be applied in a dust-free and well ventilated environment and allowed to dry for an hour before firing. Firing is usually between 750 and 850 C. The resultant fired surface coating is thin and therefore not suitable for dishwashing.