How to Decorate Glazed Ceramics

How to Decorate Glazed Ceramics. Turning something ordinary into something special with your own hands is a rewarding way to decorate your home or make gifts for others. A simple coat of paint can do wonders for a plain ceramic mug or an unadorned porcelain ornament. Though these surfaces require a bit of special attention, once you know how to treat them you can get great results. Several companies make paints especially for ceramics so look for these first. Most glass paints will also work on glazed surfaces. If want to use a color that is not part of the ceramic paint line, look for a surface additive that can be added to any acrylic paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Ceramic items to be painted

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cotton pads

  • Acrylic paints for glass and ceramics

  • Paper plates

  • Brushes

  • Cotton swabs

  • Oven

  • Timer

Step 1

Remove any hardware from your items such as metal ornament hangers, plastic tags, stickers or decals.

Step 2

Clean the area to be painted with a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol. This will remove the dirt and surface oils so be careful not to add any back by touching that area as you work.

Step 3

Paint your designs lightly. Two thin coats are always better than one thick one.

Step 4

Clean up any stray marks with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

Step 5

One way to cure the paint is to let the items dry for 21 days without being disturbed.

Step 6

Another (quicker) option is to let the paint dry for 1 hour and then place the items in a cold oven and turn it on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it come to temperature (about 5 to 10 minutes) and then bake it for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let everything cool before removing the painted ceramic.

Step 7

Replace any hardware you took off in Step 1 and you're finished!


In order to give the ceramic enough time to cool, you may want to do the oven curing in the evening so they have overnight to come down to room temperature. You may want to seal items that will not come in contact with food but would otherwise receive hard use (like tile coasters).


Never paint the rim of mugs or stemware or any surfaces that will come in contact with food.