With the fast-paced living lifestyle that so many of us endure, we are finding that more and more people are opting to stay at home on weekends where much more quality time is dedicated to the family. We will be exploring some very exciting pottery painting ideas with you so that the next time the family meets, the creative juices will automatically start flowing. As with any other form of art, starting new projects such as painting pottery and pottery designs, it is recommended to start with small pottery painting ideas and as the artistic confidence grows, so too will advanced pot painting ideas materialize. Come and join us on this journey of discovery as we explore ways to not only tap into your inner creative souls with exciting pottery painting ideas, but we will also discuss the history of pottery painting ideas and pottery designs.
- 1 A History of Painting Pottery
- 2 How to Paint Your Own Pottery
- 3 Glazes and Stains for Painted Pottery
- 4 Pottery Painting Ideas
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
A History of Painting Pottery
Throughout history, clay has been used to create bowls, jugs, jars, vases, and figurines and because of its versatility clay has been used by many artists as a sculpting medium. So, it is safe to say that a day spent with the family doing creative projects could easily lead to a lucrative job opportunity in the future.
Painting pottery is definitely a physical exercise and can sometimes be quite a messy process, as a lot of paint and water are involved.
The summer months are the best time of the year to tackle any pottery painting ideas that you may have as it can easily be done outdoors where spills could occur, especially when working with young children. Painting pottery is just another form of art but instead of using paper to draw on, we are now working on clay or ceramic.
Learning a new art is always exciting and pottery painting ideas will flow once the process starts.
The idea is really to not be critical of your work but to embrace what you have done as practice indeed does make perfect. There are many easy and stunning pottery painting ideas for beginners, both young and old, and once the art is perfected, even beginner ceramic paint designs will start looking quite amazing.
How to Paint Your Own Pottery
When starting with new pottery painting ideas, it may be easier to start with the small clay vases that can be purchased at any big supermarket or nursery. For young children who want to show their talents at painting pottery, some very cute small pots can also be purchased which are very affordable.
Using these types of clay pots for first attempts is always a good idea and once painted, they can easily be placed in the garden as accent color pieces to liven up a dull or dark corner.
The majority of people starting on this new art venture may struggle with pot painting ideas and if this is indeed the case in your household, painting solid colors is highly recommended. If you are painting a clay pot for a plant, the top of the pot can easily be painted in one color with the base of the pot painted in another color.
The main goal here is to make sure that you paint your own pottery masterpiece and that everybody enjoys the painting pottery sessions.
A very popular pottery painting idea is to paint branches and leaves. Because most people are not steady with their hands, especially young and upcoming artists, the thought of painting branches to incorporate into pot painting ideas should be very appealing because there are no solid lines that can be spoilt by a hand that is not too steady. Of course, finishing the branches with a few green leaves is also achievable with the right amount of green paint on a brush. Small brush strokes will give the effect of leaves blowing in the wind.
Modern pottery really can be described in two ways: we have commercial pottery or production pottery, which is painting pottery pieces that are mass-produced in factories such as your dinner service sets or tea sets. The other form of modern pottery is called art pottery.
This is normally undertaken by the individual where usually only a once-off piece of painted pottery is produced.
Beginner Ceramic Paint Designs
All beginners need to know that getting the right paint at the start of the project will always end in a better result. Acrylic paint is the only paint that is recommended for beginner ceramic paint designs. Acrylic paint can be purchased at any arts and craft shop or major supermarkets and it is reasonably affordable. This is a very flexible paint and can be used on almost any surface that you may wish to paint. The acrylic paint is hardwearing and sticks well to untreated clay or ceramic.
Before using the acrylic paint on the pottery of choice, it is recommended that a light coat of clear acrylic is painted over the pot before the painting starts as this gives the paint more grip.
Should you be lucky enough to attend an art class that works with the beginner in ceramic paint designs, you will be taught that to seal acrylic paint onto ceramic, you will need to head cure the paint. This in simple terms means that you will want to bake your painted finished masterpiece and then seal it with a water-based varnish or a clear acrylic coat which is often referred to as Modge Podge in the art world. Modge Podge or clear acrylic can both be purchased from any arts and crafts shop.
After all the options discussed, at the end of the day, your beautiful piece of new art or painted pottery will no doubt look its best if it is baked in a kiln and done professionally.
This will not only give the final art piece a more professional look but the piece will also be much more hard-wearing if left outside in the garden as display pieces. The important thing to remember is that you have successfully painted your very own pottery.
Glazes and Stains for Painted Pottery
Pottery colors can be used in two ways, either you glaze over the painted item or you paint an item that has already been glazed. When a person is looking for added color on their clay pottery pieces, the painting is very rarely completed with traditional paints, instead more professional products such as slips, oxide stains, and underglazes are used.
All used products fuse onto the clay when the clay is fired and this process also ensures that the paint will not fade or flake.
If the decision is made that a specific pottery piece is not intended for household use and is only to be used as a display piece, then normal acrylic paints can be used as you would use to paint ceramic. Various items on the market can be used for painted pottery, such as oxide stains, underglaze, slips, regular glaze, acrylic paint, and strangely enough, even fingernail polish.
The Underglaze Method
Using the underglaze method for painted pottery gives the pottery the effect that the picture has been painted with watercolors. It is important to use the correct coating of underglaze to make sure that the color of the picture does not fade.
Semi-moist water glaze pans are very effective for creating the watercolor effect and the benefit is that they are easier to control than liquid underglazes.
For a brighter result on your painted picture, we recommend a liquid underglaze which works well with thicker paint. If you work in layers with the liquid underglaze, you may have to coat the painted pottery at least three times to obtain the full strength of the glaze.
The Slip Method
This is commonly known in the painting pottery world as a liquified suspension of small clay particles in the water which is also something that you can use to color the clay pottery before you start the firing process. White or colored slips are available and are tinted with oxides. Slips are best suited as a method when using wet greenware.
Using the slip method really means that it is much easier to clean off any mistakes that may occur with any pottery painting ideas. The slip method is also more durable should any clay shrinkage occur.
This is a great stain for painting any flowing lines that may be needed when painting your pottery, such as leaves or intricate flowers. There is the option of being able to use the stains that are commercially prepared or stains can simply be oxides mixed in water. Some oxides are quite fickle to work with.
In more cases than most, the oxide changes color dramatically and the end result may just not be what you are expecting when you paint your own pottery.
The Glaze Method
Ceramic painting ideas have been used by both seasoned potters as well as beginner ceramic pot designers. The process includes using a glaze-on-glaze painting and often different areas of an object are painted with different colors of glaze.
However, it has been found that this process often results in the glaze flowing which in essence gives the impression that the design is sagging and the picture could even disappear completely.
Pottery Painting Ideas
There are so many fun and exciting things to try when painting pottery, as well as countless different techniques and cool painting styles! If you are painting a pot, plate, or bowl, we have listed some interesting ideas for you to try. If you are painting anything else, these ideas might work as well!
Pot Painting Ideas
A great and unique idea for pot painting ideas is to make the pot look like a human face. The concept is fun and children have amazing imaginations, especially when talking about their favorite superheroes, for example. To paint a face onto a clay pot is really a lot of fun and not costly at all. In addition to the paint, you will also need to buy some extra clay that can be manipulated into eyes, mouths, noses, and even ears, to ensure a great finish to your pot painting ideas. Extra clay can be purchased at any arts and crafts shop.
We find that the trick when buying extra clay is ensuring there is enough clay to go around as kids can be extremely adventurous when it comes to their own pot painting ideas.
Remember, because you are working with clay, quite a bit of water is going to be used, hence the suggestion that your family art sessions take place outside where spillages will not create a tense atmosphere when accidents occur.
When deciding on the face of choice, remember that different faces can easily be built onto different pots and all sorts of emotions can be displayed on the faces such as smiles or frowns, or even crying faces. Once the face has been built onto the clay pot, the pottery designs are then left aside to dry before the painting pottery exercise.
Once you have painted your own pottery face, the masterpieces can be placed in the garden where all your friends will notice them as they walk up to the front door. Personal creativity in the garden always leaves a smile on a face.
Plate Painting Ideas
Plate painting is probably the easiest to accomplish as it has a nice surface with very few lines or curves. The same techniques that were outlined for pot painting ideas would also apply to the plate. Easy patterns with dots can be repeated over the entire plate. The dot technique is called Pointillism and has been used for decades but has become very trendy over the last few years.
The painting of dots on all pottery designs is very therapeutic and calming.
Of course, it goes without saying that in most cases, less is always more, and therefore whenever you may get the urge to fill up all the white spaces on a plate when thinking about plate painting ideas, this is not necessarily always the route you want to take.
When you start with the process of painting your own pottery or ceramic a good idea is to paint half the plate with a solid color and the other half with a simple yet eye-catching design. Painting lines have definitely become very popular over the years, but if a perfect line is going to be achieved then a very steady hand should be the order of the day.
There are really no mistakes in beginner ceramic paint designs as the goal is to let the creative ideas flow rather than to criticize.
Bowl Painting Ideas
It is always a good idea to start new creative ideas off with small objects. Starting on your creative journey by painting a bowl will automatically put you in good stead for further ceramic painting ideas. The inside of the bowl does give you quite a nice space to work with so with that said, the design could also be more elaborate.
The modern technique of dot painting has really become very trendy over the last few years and of course, the bigger dot called the polka dot just never seems to go out of fashion.
If you want to create a unique bowl painting idea other than dots, painting swirls with a thick paintbrush could be just as effective. The correct method to paint swirls is to use a very big paint brush, dip it into your favorite color paint, then after wiping off excess paint, place the paintbrush in the middle of the bowl and slowly twist the bowl around whilst raising the brush.
If you are really keen to explore more pottery painting ideas, geometric shapes are always pleasing to the eye when thinking out of the box for any bowl painting ideas.
A great way to entertain the kids is to have a competition where fruits are painted onto a small bowl. Painting fruit is one of the easiest and more common pot painting ideas. Each child receives their own white bowl and they are then asked to paint their favorite fruit inside the bowl. Ideas for fruit that are easy to paint would be watermelons, oranges, and lemons, to name a few. Once the fruit is chosen, the inside of the bowl would reflect the inside of the fruit, not forgetting the outside of the bowl, which will then take on the outside of the fruit.
It is clear that to be creative is to be free to express your inner emotions. Any type of art, be it music, dancing, sculpting, painting, or even something basic such as pottery painting ideas, should be encouraged from an early age. Using the creative part of our brains allows us to imagine the world in color and in more cases than not, someone who is gifted with an ability to portray their art, can certainly make a good living from it. When thinking of careers, it is very easy to think of university studies and becoming a professional in the marketplace, but the ability to create with imagination is something that you cannot put a price tag on and the more encouragement that is given, the more we will be able to sit back in wonder when we see our efforts bearing fruit.
Take a look at our ceramic painting ideas webstory here!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Pottery?
So, what is pottery, really? By definition, pottery is a pot or container that is made from clay. When you think of pottery it is safe to assume that a flower pot is the first thing that comes to mind. Most flower pots are rough and cold to the touch. Clay can take the shape of many forms and figurines or solid pieces of work can also be manipulated into amazing pottery designs. Pottery painting ideas will come naturally once a nice piece of pottery has been decided upon.
What Are Ceramics?
Ceramics are objects that have been permanently changed when heated. Clay is the raw material that is formed and worked with and is then fired up in a clay oven. The finished product that comes out of the clay oven is then known as ceramic. Once the ceramic is formed, it cannot change shape or be manipulated into anything else.
Megan is a writer and researcher who holds a degree in Social Sciences, with a specialization in Psychology and Environmental Science, from the University of Cape Town. Her dedication to acquiring knowledge and making a positive impact has driven her current work in promoting conscious and sustainable growth in Southern Africa. Megan’s interests encompass exploring the physical and psychological impacts of color in our environment on our mood and well-being. She is also passionate about the role of art and creativity, which has been an integral part of society since the beginning of human history. Since 2022, Megan has been contributing blog posts on painting and color theory at artfilemagazine.
Cite this Article
Megan, van Schoor, “Pottery Painting Ideas – Explore Beginner Ceramic Paint Designs.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. September 6, 2022. URL: https://artfilemagazine.com/pottery-painting-ideas/
van Schoor, M. (2022, 6 September). Pottery Painting Ideas – Explore Beginner Ceramic Paint Designs. artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. https://artfilemagazine.com/pottery-painting-ideas/