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More Ceramic Painting Techniques

Updated on July 7, 2012

More Simple Techniques for Painting on Ceramics

Welcome to advanced training in ceramic painting techniques; ramp up the fun decorating your ceramics, at a ceramic studio or at home. In this lens you'll learn about blending colors, bubbling, feather marbling (no feathers involved!), how to create leopard prints, using puff paints and sponges, and more!

Creating Blended Colors

Using a square brush, draw a line or a wave with color #1. Let this dry between the first and second coats of paint. While the third coat is still wet, dip a clean brush half into color #1 and half into color #2. Be generous with the paint! Stroke on, covering color #1 with the same color; color #2 will start in a new area. Add more paint to the brush if needed. When you are done with the blend, fill in the color #2 area.

To add another color, dip another clean brush half into color #1 and now color #3. Paint this on the other side of the wave, same as you did the first time. Fill in color #3. You can paint over all the original colors with their same color to make them bolder, taking care to avoid covering the blended paints.

Blending Colors - A Visual Explanation - Blend, baby, blend!

Bubbling Effect

This can be messy! Make sure you have lots of space and a drinking straw.

Mix paint, water, and soap; use mostly paint, a tiny squirt of soap, and a small amount of water. The water dilutes the paint and makes it soapy so there are some bubbles. You don’t want the paint to resist its firing because of having too much soap; you can tell if there is because there will be foam!

Use a straw to blow bubbles (don't inhale!). If you see bubbles start to form in the container, make sure you see color in the bubbles. Blow into the paint with the straw until the bubbles almost overflow.

Now put your piece onto the bubbles. Pop the bubbles that remain on your piece, gently touching only the surface of the bubbles.

You can repeat this for a more intense pattern, and can repeat it with different batches of the paint/water/soap mixture in different colors for another effect. This is nice with a background color as well.

Feather Marbling

This is a very messy technique you can do over the sink or on paper towels! Basically, you take two or more colors and drizzle the paint onto your piece, then shake and move the piece.

Pour the first color in a generous random drizzle onto your pottery, then another color or colors in different places. Shake the piece and move it about. If there is too much of one color, add more of the other on top. Keep shaking and see what shapes you create.

You can take a toothpick and create more defined shapes and textures by drawing it through the paint into swirls.

Feather Marbling - If you need to see if for yourself!

Fo' Mo' Info'

For other ceramic painting tips, visit my other lens Ceramic Painting Techniques

Painting a Leopard Print onto Pottery

Using a rounded brush that will come to a point when it’s wet, dip the brush into a caramel color. Keeping the brush strokes loose, make little macaroni-shaped marks in various directions onto the pottery piece. Only do one coat. Let the paint dry completely.

Again use rounded brush, but smaller one this time. Use loose strokes again using the black paint to border either side of the caramel shapes already made. Only do one coat so you can see the brush strokes.

Making a Patchwork Quilt Design

You don’t need a ruler! Use a nice square brush to paint patches in different colors.

Now use a puff paint pen to make “stitches” after the paint patches have been completed. You can also use the puff paint pain to write things onto the painted surface.

Painting with Puffy Paint Underneath - Give your ceramic texture and interest

Sponge Painting

Use a household sponge. Starting light, dip the sponge into the paint and blot it. Bounce the sponge gently onto your piece. Don't add paint, but keep going over the same areas until you are satisfied with the density.

To blend colors with sponges, dip the same sponge into another color and start dabbing on the edge of the first color, graduating onto its own side. Then add a tiny bit more paint of the second color to the sponge and finish that side.

Or, for something completely different, use children's sponges of various shapes to use as stamps on your pottery. This time be more generous with the paint, stamping the specially-shaped sponge once per your area of choice.

Toothbrush Spattering

You can create something akin to Zolatone by spattering paint over your potter piece with the aid of a toothbrush!

Dip the toothbrush or other short brush modestly into the paint. Using your thumb, pull back the bristles of the toothbrush to create a spatter pattern. This can be fun when you use a color opposite to its background!

Here are more ideas for toothbrush spattering:

For a sand look: Paint the background a light brown, then spatter darker brown paint on top.

Quickie marbling: You can spatter your piece with different colors without washing the brush between colors.

Create a white-out technique by holding a paper or tape over your piece and spattering over the selected area. This leaves an area free from the spatter.

Going Over It Again with the Toothbrush - You may want to get some snug disposable gloves . . . .

Zebras and Other Stripes

And a way to see stars . . . .

For zebra stripes, tear masking tape into thin strips with points. Attach to your pottery piece, smoothing out the tape as you go along. Put some of the tape going the opposite way of the first tapes so it's more zebra-like. Using a square bruth, paint three good coats of color over tape smoothly and paint directly on top of the tape.

For more definitive stripes, carefully cut the masking tape into the size you need and apply it. Paint over the stripes as above. For the flag in the picture, you can apply adhesive stars before painting the blue field, then remove when the paint is dry.

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi, Just visiting lenses on Painting Topics.. You have lots of resources here. Thanks for the info! Julie

    • Zen Automat profile image

      Zen Automat 

      10 years ago from New Hampshire

      nice work, 5* and into my favorites :)

    • Haveagood1 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      You are so kind - no, no book, just wanted to learn more about how to paint ceramics better! From my research I decided to make a lens, which turned into two.

    • lovemybob profile image


      10 years ago

      You may want to start your own Ceramic Painting Group...have you published a book on this?

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      10 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      This is such a helpful lens for anyone wanting to paint ceramics. Really good information. Welcome to the Art and Design Group.


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