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The Danish Porcelain House
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You are here:  / Home page / Do you need help? / Guides / Tips and Ideas for your home decor / What is the difference between overglaze und underglaze?

What is the difference between overglaze und underglaze?

Overglaze and underglaze are two different methods for decorating porcelain. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, but each gives the porcelain a completely different expression. Whether you use one or the other method depends on what you want for the finished porcelain.

It is all about color!

That is the gist of it when it comes to overglaze and underglaze. The differences between the two methods are expressed visually by the colors of the finished porcelain. The color selection is much wider in the overglaze technique than in the underglaze technique. The reason for this is chemical. It is simply a matter of the colors disolving at different temperatures and underglaze subject the colors to much higher temperatures than overglaze. That is why you will find far more colors in overglaze porcelain than in underglaze porcelain.

In fact, the reason for the extensive use of blue in porcelain is because this color can withstand the highest temperatures and especially underglaze is widely used in Danish porcelain. Have you never thought about why there are so few colors in Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl figurines? This is because they are underglaze figurines and therefore have only a few colors available.

Overglaze Greenlandic figurines  

This collection of figurines with a Greenlandic theme is a really good example of the large range of colors that is available when applying the overglaze method. At the same time, there is much richness in detail.

Figurines in underglaze 

Here is a selection of figurines etc. in underglaze. The colors are somewhat more limited and at the same time they are more shiny in the surface.

Why two methods?

Since the overglaze figurines have greater possibilities for colors, why is it that the underglaze has been much more used especially at Royal Copenhagen?

What is the important difference between overglaze and underglaze is when the paint is apllied. In the case of overglaze, you burn the glazing on the porcelain and then paint it. While when using underglaze the paint is applied on the unglazed porcelain and then the glaze is applied over the paint. Thus underglaze. The paint is under the glaze. The glaze on porcelain is a layer of glass that covers the porcelain mass underneath. The glaze is burned at a very high temperature of more than 1300 degrees celsius. That temperature dissolves most types of paint, but on the other hand, the paint is permanently protected under the glaze. After glazing, overglaze is burnt at only 850 degrees celsius, which means that several types of paint can be used. In particular, red and gold cannot be used in underglaze.

Overglaze needs an additional burning after the paint is applied, which increases the cost. Therefore, overglaze is also often more expensive than underglaze. An example of dinner service in overglaze is Flora Danica.

It is therefore a trade-off that forms the basis for choosing overglaze or underglaze for the porcelain. Is color choice in the decoration or price the most important factor?

Overglaze will often be used for more detailed and complex figurines, as this method is most suitable for this, since the colors here are not affected by the heat in the same way as with underglaze.

Below we show a few examples of the same figurine in overglaze and underglaze respectively:

The emperor's new suit in overglazeThe emperor's new suit in underglaze

Girl with calf in overglazeGirl with calf in underglaze



Delivery terms

There are 2 types of delivery terms:

  1. Delivery of items in stock
  2. Delivery of customised/special ordered items and items not in stock

Delivery of items in stock

All items currently in stock are items that we currently have stored at our warehouse.

Items in stock are normally shipped immediately (within 1-4 business days). When your payment has been confirmed by us, you will receive an order confirmation.

Should the time of delivery be delayed beyond normal (i.e. orders of large quantity) we will let you know.

Attention! By delivery time we mean the time from the order is confirmed to the order is shipped from DPH Trading. Not the time between the order is made to the time you receive the order.

Delivery of customised/special ordered items and items not in stock

Customised/special ordered items and items not in stock are all items we do not currently store at our warehouse.

We are therefore depending of the various suppliers, dealers and collectors and the time of delivery is only an estimate.

In some situations it can be impossible for DPH Trading to predict the exact time of delivery if the items are specially ordered or customised.

Sometimes the items have to be produced from scratch. If the particular item is of significant age we may have to rely on private collectors who are willing to sell.

All the customised/special ordered items are delivered as close to the agreed delivery date as possible.

DPH Trading could take precautions for the delivery of entire or parts of an order. Part deliveries can occur. We always strive to inform you as quickly and efficiently as possible, should any deliveries change or be divided into separate deliveries.

In extraordinary situations negotiations can be made where the buyer are not responsible for the extra delivery cost in case of part deliveries.

Collect your items at our shop

If you prefer to collect your order at our boutique in Odense, Denmark you very welcome to do so. 

You can see our opening hours and contact information at the page top and bottom.

When you collect you order in person at our shop the freight cost is free. A visit to our store also gives you the opportunity to experience our amazing selection of items on display.


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Sell to DPH
• 45 years of experience
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Call us Mon-Thursday
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
(+45) 66 18 95 95
DPH Trading, Loekkegravene 49, DK-5270 Odense N, Denmark EU,
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