Ceramic pots add color, texture and brightness to any room or outdoor space. If you want to add color or change the painted design on your ceramic pottery, understand the basics of how pottery accepts color and how to protect the painted surface. Apply color to unfinished ceramic bisque with either a ceramic glaze or acrylic paint. Paint over a glossy, store-bought pot with acrylic paints to get the look you want.
Use synthetic bristle or synthetic sable brushes with acrylic paint. Since acrylics are more caustic than oils or watercolors, brushes made for use with these mediums should not be used with acrylics.
Things You'll Need
- 200-grit sandpaper
- Clean, damp rag
- Latex primer
- Acrylic craft paint in colors of your choice
- Set of synthetic bristle or synthetic sable artist's brushes in various sizes
- Brush-on clear acrylic sealer
Step 1: Sand It
Sand the surface of the pot with 200-grit sandpaper to rough it up and remove some of the existing glaze. Doing so allows the new paint to properly adhere to the surface, so it will not easily peel off. Wipe clean with a damp towel and allow it to completely dry.
Step 2: Prime It
Apply latex primer to the entire surface of the pot on the inside and outside with a large brush. Latex primer adheres well to ceramics, so it will fully cover the existing paint color, and it will help the new paint color adhere properly. Allow the primer to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary for complete coverage, and allow it to dry before continuing.
Step 3: Paint It
Paint the entire surface of the pot with the acrylic paint. Cover large blocks of color with a large brush. Use smaller brushes to paint decorative details such as stripes, dots or geometric motifs. Apply decorative images with stencils.
If you are painting decorative elements on top of a background color, allow the background color to dry completely before applying so the paint colors don't mix.
Step 4: Seal It
Once the paint has completely dried, brush on an acrylic sealer. This will not only give your project a finish, but it will also protect the painted surface from scratches, rain or sunlight.
Ceramic bisque is fired ceramic pottery that is ready to be finished. Unfinished ceramic bisque ornaments, tiles and pots are available in craft and art supply stores. They are porous and white, and they can be finished with non-fire opaque stains or ceramic glazes that must be fired in a kiln. Non-fire opaque stains are water-based, and they come in an array of vibrant colors that you can mix to create different tones, tints and shades. Choose from a variety of decorative painting techniques when using non-fire stain, including antiquing, dry brushing and stenciling.
Things You'll Need
- Opaque, non-fire ceramic stain
- Synthetic sable artist brushes, #12 round, #12 flat shader and #4 liner
- Brush-on, all purpose sealer in high-gloss or matte finish
Step 1: Apply the Base Coat
- Brush on the first layer of the base color with the #12 round brush. Use very little stain on the brush; applying it too thickly will result in thick ridges that will mar the finished look of the piece. Be sure to work the stain down into all of the creases.
- Allow the first coat to fully dry and apply the second coat. Apply the second coat, painting in the same direction as the first coat.
For coverage that is more translucent, dilute the stain with 60 percent water to 40 percent stain.
Step 2: Choose a Technique
Select a painting technique based on how you want the finished product to look and the style you want to achieve.
- Antiquing simulates age and creates an interesting effect. Thin the stain with a little bit of water. Apply the diluted stain with the #12 round brush to a small area of the piece. Wipe off some of the stain with a dampened sponge, leaving some of the color in the crevices and on the edges of the piece. Finish antiquing the piece in the same manner, working in small areas so the stain does not dry before you remove it.
- Dry brushing has a characteristic textured appearance. Dip a dry #12 flat shader brush into the stain and blot it on a paper towel to remove most of the stain. Lightly brush across the details of the piece. Continue to apply paint in this manner, allowing paint to dry in between coats, slowly building up color, depth and highlights.
- Apply several colors at random by sponging the piece. Dip a round synthetic sponge into three or four colors, overlapping the colors on the sponge, and dab the sponge all over the piece in a random fashion.
Step 3: Seal the Piece
Apply an all-purpose brush-on sealer over the entire surface of the piece with the #12 round brush.
Pottery finished with non-fire stains is not food-safe; use if for decorative purposes only.