How to paint ceramic with acrylic

Written by cristel wood
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How to paint ceramic with acrylic
Use acrylic paint to add colour and life to your ceramic pieces. (Getty Creative)

Acrylic painting on greenware ceramics, or even pre-fired ceramics, adds colour and individuality to sculptures, dishes and tiles. Painted ceramics make beautiful decorations, as well as thoughtful, personalised gifts. A hobby enjoyed by many, painting ceramics combines creativity with technique, and the end result is a long lasting work of art. Acrylic paint is inexpensive, versatile and, because it is water-based, it is remarkably easy to clean up after.

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Things you need

  • Ceramic scraping tool
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Ceramic primer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Ceramic varnish
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrushes
  • Oven
  • Kitchen scrub pads
  • TSP cleaning agent

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Instructions

    Painting greenware

  1. 1

    Use a ceramic scraping tool to gently scrape away obvious seams from your greenware ceramic. Your scraping job doesn't have to be perfect, just be sure not to gouge or scratch the ceramic.

  2. 2

    Dip a sponge in a bowl of water and squeeze out any excess water. Your sponge should be just slightly damp.

  3. 3

    Use the damp sponge to wipe away any remaining traces of the seams.

  4. 4

    Allow your ceramic to dry.

  5. 5

    Apply at least two layers of primer to your ceramic, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. The primer should evenly coat the ceramic without leaving or creating any ridges or inconsistencies on the piece.

  6. 6

    Paint your ceramic as desired. Ideally, you should apply three coats of paint to your sculpture, allowing each coat to dry before moving on to the next. Allow your sculpture to dry thoroughly after the final coat.

  7. 7

    Apply finish to your ceramic. You can use paint-on, or spray-on finishes. Allow the finish to dry.

    Painting pre-fired ceramics

  1. 1

    Wash your ceramic thoroughly, and allow it to dry.

  2. 2

    Paint your ceramic as desired. The more coats of paint you apply, the more vivid the colours of your paint will be and the longer your paint will last.

  3. 3

    Apply a finish to your item and set it aside to dry.

  4. 4

    Place your ceramic in a cool oven. Set the dial to 120 degrees Celsius. Make sure your oven is set to bake, not to broil.

  5. 5

    Bake your ceramic for about 30 minutes.

  6. 6

    Turn off your oven and allow it to cool completely before removing your ceramic.

    Painting ceramic tiles

  1. 1

    Repair grout or damaged tiles at least 48 hours prior to painting.

  2. 2

    Use a kitchen scrub pad to buff the gloss finish of your tiles. Buffing your gloss before painting will allow the paint to adhere more effectively to the tile.

  3. 3

    Clean your tiles thoroughly, using a TSP cleaning agent, to remove any dust, debris or oils.

  4. 4

    Apply at least two coats of primer to your tiles, allowing the primer to dry between coats. Allow your primer to dry after the final coat.

  5. 5

    Use a kitchen scrub pad to buff away any ridges or paint brush lines in your primer.

  6. 6

    Paint your tiles as desired. Three coats of paint is recommended, and each coat should be allowed to dry before the next coat is applied.

  7. 7

    Apply at least two coats of ceramic tile sealant to your painted tiles, allowing each coat to dry before the next is applied.

  8. 8

    Allow your tiles to dry for two weeks.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a pencil to sketch a design on your ceramic before painting. The pencil marks will not be visible after painting.
  • Trisodium phosphate, otherwise known as TSP, is very effective for cleaning ceramic tiles before painting.
  • Use a wide variety of brushes for painting. Some brushes are better for large areas, while other brushes are more efficient for painting details.
  • Talk to the staff at your local ceramics store. They can give you advice on paints, finishes and technique.
  • Hand wash painted ceramic items, such as coffee mugs or plates, in order to prolong the life of the paint.

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