How to Paint on Porcelain Plates

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Porcelain can provide a canvas for great art.
Porcelain can provide a canvas for great art. (Image: bol chinois sur fond noir image by Unclesam from Fotolia.com)

Painting on porcelain is a great craft to learn, and is made all the better by the fact it is incredibly simple when you know the basics. With just a particular type of paper, some specialized paint pens, and an oven, you can create beautiful works of art on a wonderful surface--and when it is finished you will still be able to use the plates.

Things You'll Need

  • Porcelain paints
  • Carbon paper
  • Pen
  • Cloth
  • Paint remover
  • Varnish
  • Oven

Before beginning the task of creating a painting on your surface, ensure that your porcelain plate is free of dust and dirt by washing it thoroughly with a cloth and allowing it to dry.

Although some people may choose to sketch their design directly onto the plate the best way to get your image outline is by using carbon paper; it gives you a bold outline Cut the carbon paper so it fits over the plate and simply face it with the carbon side down and sketch your image with a pen or thick pencil. You will be left with a clear outline of your image, and if there is any carbon residue you can simply wash that away.

With the outline of your design now in place it is time for the fun job of painting. Use porcelain paint, or porcelain paint pens, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application. Paint directly onto the plate until you are satisfied with the result. If you make a mistake you should dab away the area with an alcohol-based paint remover.

Allow the plate to dry naturally for at least 24 hours until you are sure the ink is no longer wet. Refer to the paint manufacturer's application instructions. If you wish, you can add a layer of light varnish to the painted area in order to ensure it comes out of the oven with a shiny glaze.

Put the plate in the oven, according to the paint manufacturer's instructions. The temperature is not an exact science, but it should be very hot. Around 300 degrees F should be sufficient, and you want to keep the plates in there for around 30 minutes. When the plates come out of the oven the image should now be ingrained, and thus resistant of cleaning liquids and dishwashers. This process should also have given the plate an aesthetically pleasing glaze.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't want to draw your design freehand, then trace an image onto the carbon paper beforehand (from a photograph or different drawing) and then simply draw around that, with the carbon side down, onto your plate.
  • The plate will be exceedingly hot when you remove it from the oven. Allow the plate to cool completely before you attempt to pick it up or use it.

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