How To Paint With Ceramic Paints

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Ceramic is widely used for home decoration and home supplies, such as vases, tea sets, floor, and tiles. Ceramics are not only beautiful but also durable; thus, they are quite expensive. If you have great interests in ceramics, you should try ceramic painting. Not only can you obtain a personal touch with you ceramics, but you can also create unique designs that are not available in any stores.

Before one starts painting, you need to know the ceramic painting techniques and how to paint them.

Ceramic Painting Techniques

Ceramics can be painted using an assortment of different colors or you can paint only in one tone or hue of color. The piece can have plenty of details or a quite simple one. When painting, one should choose the best techniques according to what effect, you want to achieve with them. In addition, the design also takes a role in deciding which techniques will be used. Ceramic painting techniques include glazes, stains and acrylic paints.


Before one starts painting, you should know what greenware is. Greenware is an unfired pottery or piece of ceramic, which is directly taken from a mold. Then come the Glazes. Glaze is the first step in ceramic painting. Underglaze is a specific glaze applied to greenware. When the underglaze is applied to greenware and then dried, it’s later fired in a kiln. Overglaze is a type of ceramic painting that is used on a fired piece of ceramic and is then is fired again for the second time to bake the color in.


Stains are normally applied to bisque pieces of ceramics which have been fired in a kiln. Stain is applied all over the paint or glaze and then wiped down in order for the stain to remain in the crevices and create more depth.

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are the last step in the painting technique. They are water-based and applicable to ceramic pieces without necessarily being fired in a kiln. Acrylic paints have various colors and they are easily found in local craft stores with affordable prices. Before it’s applied, a primer coat will be used to give the piece a smoother look. Primer colors absorb into the ceramic pieces to really enhance the look.

How to Paint Ceramics

Before one starts painting, you should prepare all painting tools, brushes, scrapping tools, sponges, stencils, ceramic glazes, and acrylic paints for the job at hand. It’s better to use different brushes for different techniques. Use broader brushes to apply the paint to the entire surface. Use smaller brushes with a fine point to fill in the colors. Furthermore, always have two or three extra brushes; broader brushes and smaller brushes to avoid mixing your colors together.

Step 1: Cleaning

Before painting, the greenware needs to be cleaned away from any steam lines. Use a sponge and a scrapping tool to do so. Hold the greenware gently while running the scrapping tool down the side. When the line is scrapped away, use a sponge to clean off any scrapping line debris. Dip the sponge into water and squeeze it completely so that it has no water in it. Run the sponge along the piece until the line disappears. If the greenware is a bit wet, dry it first before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Drawing

It’s better to draw an outline of the image on the clean greenware. If one is not really good at drawing; tracing the image on the greenware may be a wise choice. Draw the image with a fine pencil.

Step 3: Priming

A primer coat is used to form a bond between the ceramic and the paint. If it’s oil-based, the primer colors should be oil based as well. Apply the primer colors using a roller on the flat surfaces and using a brush on the sides. Let the coat dry. When it’s completely dry, apply the second primer coat and let that dry.

Step 4: Painting

Remember to use the best-quality acrylic ceramic paints possible when doing ceramic painting. Paint the image carefully and let it dry. Make sure that there’s no dust or debris, which can fall on the piece. If one does not have any image drawn, you should paint three coats on it. When painting the coat, wait for the first coat to dry before painting the next one.

Step 5: Glazing

The paint colors will be dull if it’s not glazed properly. Therefore, it’s better to apply acrylic gloss over the entire ceramic item after it’s completely dry. Gloss will protect the paints and add more shine to the image.

For better results, apply three coats of gloss.

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