Ceramic & Porcelain Paints

A Guide to Selecting and Working With Ceramic & Porcelain Paints

Painting can be used to add all sorts of lovely decorative details to ceramic dishes, vases, pots, and more. Here are some tips for getting started with this craft.

How to mix bisque powder paints

Most porcelain paint comes in a bisque powder formula that can be very easy to use. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Place a small pile of paint in your mixing container. Consider using a ceramic tile as your palette.
  2. Add a few drops of baby oil or artist medium and stir with a palette knife.
  3. Use a grinding motion to thoroughly break up any clumps.
  4. Add more baby oil a drop at a time until a toothpaste-like consistency forms.
  5. If the paint gets too runny, put it on a piece of newsprint, which will absorb the extra oil.
How do you pick the right color?

Colors can change when fired or mixed. Often, they become brighter and more translucent, with even pastel clay paints developing a more intense hue after they set. If you want a specific color for your project, it is always advisable to do a test run with a small amount of paint to see how it will look after being fired. Ceramic and china paints can also bond with your ceramic glaze during firing, further adjusting the color. Before buying a particular shade of paint, you may be able to get a sample from the manufacturer to see the product's true color.

Working with acrylic paints on ceramics

Basic acrylic paints can bond to the surface of ceramics and porcelain, allowing for a flexible and easy painting experience. Just keep in mind that they should always be applied after firing, since the high temperature would completely melt off the acrylic paint. Acrylic paint on ceramic pieces typically is not waterproof or food safe. However, it can be used to create fun decorative pieces.

What are some of the most popular ceramic paint brands?

Here are some leading brands:

  • Duncan: Duncan is known for producing excellent paint sets for beginners. Their premixed pigments are easy to work with and come in many shades.
  • Ceramichrome: Ceramichrome's line of colors is especially popular among bisque doll painters, since this company offers a huge range of skin tones.
  • Amaco: AMACO is great for those who want a professional finish. They have a large variety of specialty paints, including metallic ceramic paints and matte and shiny finishes.