Discover the creative world of pottery painting ideas, where you can decorate your very own mugs, bowls, plates, vases ! These designs are beginner-friendly, easy to understand and apply, and they’ll add a personal touch to your home.
Is this your first time using acrylic paint on ceramic ? Be sure to check out this beginner’s guide before you start painting !
These pottery designs for beginners range from simple hand painted patterns to unique and cute ideas, ready to be applied to your ceramics. Explore patterns such as mandala, nature, floral, Indian, beach, modern, hearts, and more, all in this list of 45 creative and unique pottery painting ideas!
Before you start out, here are some things you’ll need for pottery painting. Most of these can be found at your local DIY or craft shop, or ordered online.
Unfinished ceramic pieces to start with
First you’ll need something to work on. I recommend starting off with something simple, that provides plenty of canvas room. A simple, plain unfinished ceramic succulent planter or coasters are easy to work with and can be put on display. You can find planters or coasters to paint on Amazon. The raised patterns on the planters make painting the designs a cinch! While to smoothness of the coasters is like a complete blank canvas for your creativity to take the lead.
Best paint for unfinished ceramics
Unfinished ceramic pieces have a porous surface, which is absolutely perfect for many types of paint such as regular acrylic paints. Look for water-based non-toxic acrylics, such as these from Caliart on Amazon. Another thing to keep in mind is that most acrylic paints, and enamel paints are not food safe, and are best suited for decorative pieces. Acrylic paints can’t be cured in a kiln or oven and they are not food safe, so using acrylic paints is best suited for decorative pieces.
The benefit of enamel paints is that they can be cured, either in a kiln or air drying which then makes them top rack dishwasher safe.
Best paint for finished ceramics
If you’re working with a finished piece of ceramic, something that’s already glazed, you need a different kind of paint. Basic acrylics need a porous surface to adhere to, and finished ceramics are already glazed so they are perfectly smooth. You can find specially designed acrylic paint that will adhere to glazed ceramics, like this one from FolkArt on Amazon.
Like acrylics, enamel paints are not food safe. If painting a piece like a mug or a plate, strategically paint on the parts that won’t come in contact with food or your mouth (like the underside of a plate, or the bottom half of a mug.
Paint pens for ceramics
For small details, mandalas, or letters you can use paint pens. They offer much more precision and are easier to use if you’re trying to write something, as opposed to a small brush. They can also be cured in a kiln/oven so the final pieces can be hand washed. Try these paint markers from Artistro on Amazon.
Once you’re satisfied with your handiwork, you need to seal the paint. However, if your piece will be cured in a kiln/oven, you don’t need to seal it. Mod Podge is the classic choice, and it works very well with acrylic paint.
Or if you’re prefer a spray version, try this one from Aleene. Just remember that it’s meant for items you won’t be personally using, so no mugs, plates, bowls and so on. Be sure to apply this one in a well ventilated area, or outdoors.
Ceramic painting kit
Looking for a ready-made bundle you can gift ? Or perhaps you’re looking for something for yourself but want to get all the shopping done in one place. A ceramic painting kit is a great idea, as it comes with everything you need already included – unfinished ceramic pieces, paint, brushes, and the rest is up to you. Try this set of 6 DIY succulent flowerpots from Amazon.
Pottery Painting Ideas
Pottery painting is a great way to explore your creativity, and this list of 45 ideas is here to inspire you. These beginner-friendly ideas include nature designs, mug painting ideas, flower themes, heart designs, mandala designs, and so much more !
Collect some fallen leaves this fall and use them as stamps. Simple paint one side of the leave with your paint and then press the leaf (paint side down) on your white plate. Lift up and voila! Repeat with different size leaves and different colors.
Love seafood ? This octopus painted serving platter will fit the theme !
What should I paint on pottery ?
When deciding what to paint on pottery, don’t overthink it. This is a creative exercise, you can apply pretty much any design to any ceramic, as long as you like it. Some themes may be more appropriate for some pieces, for example a mug would work much better with a coffee theme than a bowl. But something like a nature theme – dandelions maybe – would work great on anything from bowls to mugs to plates to vases and so on.
How do you paint pottery for beginners ?
As a beginner you need to start with the basics. Make sure your pottery piece is clean, dust-free, and unfinished (without glaze). Trace a design lightly with a pencil onto the ceramic, and then use your acrylic paints to fill in the design. Take advantage of the various brushed you have to create different patterns, and remember that most colors benefit from two coats of paint.
Can you paint pottery after firing ?
Yes, you can paint pottery after firing. This is known as overglaze painting. You can use special overglaze colors, lusters, or china paints to add details or more colors to your fired pottery. However, once painted, the pottery will need to be fired again to ensure the paint is set and won’t wear off.
Do you need specific paint for pottery ?
You need paint that is appropriate for the pottery you’re using. So if it’s a porous material, you can use any paint but acrylic is the most common and well pigmented choice. Other options include metallic paints and oil-based paints.
If your pottery is already glazed, you need a specially formulated paint that will adhere to a very smooth surface (or glass). You’ll find options for these paints in the Panting Supplies section above.
We’ve explored some pretty cool pottery painting ideas, from nature themes to mandalas to cute and unique ideas that will brighten your day. These designs are perfect for beginners, and easy to apply using acrylic paint. It could even turn into a family project, bringing the kids into the fun !
Show off your creativity with these pottery painting ideas, and enjoy your handiwork !
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