The effects of the active and passive protection mechanisms of powder beds on the sintering of Si3N4 were investigated. Shrinkage, density, and coloring behavior of sintered samples were analyzed using different compositions and packing conditions of powder beds based on BN and Si3N4 with different additives. Y2O3 additive in the powder bed influences the weight change and phase formation behavior of the samples, although it has a very low vapor pressure at the sintering temperature. When MgO/Y2O3 was used as sintering additives, the packing density and thickness of the powder bed had a much stronger effect than in the case of Al2O3/Y2O3. For the optimization of the powder bed conditions, the vapor pressure and chemical stability of sintering additives at the sintering temperature has to be considered.