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If you love using your hands to be creative, painting pottery can be a great way to do this. Although not everyone has the space for a pottery wheel and kiln to keep in their home, you can still paint your pottery in the comfort of your home! Pick up your paintbrush and allow the colors to flow as your pottery painting ideas come to life.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Pottery?
- 2 Different Kinds of Pottery
- 3 How to Paint Your Own Pottery
- 4 What Do You Need to Paint Pottery?
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Pottery?
Pottery describes objects that are made of clay and then hardened with heat. Pottery is considered a decorative art; it is one of the oldest methods that has been around. The objects made in this respect are mostly ones that we can use in everyday life, such as mugs, bowls, plates, pots, and vases.
Clay is the primary material used to make pottery. The hardening of the clay is a process that makes the object virtually indestructible. This helps to protect it against agents that are corrosive to metals and organic materials. Another reason for hardening the clay is to protect it against any effects of water.
Different Kinds of Pottery
The art of pottery has existed for so long that many different types have developed. These include things we have used in our homes – possibly even things that have been passed down in our families over the years.
Earthenware was the first kind of pottery made. Although it dates back to about 9 000 years ago, it is still used now in our day and age. The body of earthenware can differ in color, from dark red to gray or even black. It could also be decorated with a mixture of clay and water in an almost milky thickness. It is then finished off with a clear gaze. There are other names for the ones that look a bit different from the regular earthenware.
Stoneware is very hard and, at most times, opaque. The color of the body of this kind of pottery can vary as well, from red to brown, to gray, white, or black. If you have come across fine, white stoneware, you would probably see it was made in China (specifically in the Shang dynasty, which dates back to 1400 BCE). Stoneware was introduced to other countries at different times.
This type of pottery was first made during the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) in China. The more common type of porcelain was not made until the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). They made this out of kaolin (a white China clay) and petuntse, a feldspathic rock that is also known as China stone. Petuntse was ground to a powder form and then mixed with clay. During medieval times, pieces of Chinese porcelain made their way to Europe where they were highly valued. Some European potters have tried to imitate these styles of pieces of porcelain pottery, but could not perfect them.
How to Paint Your Own Pottery
For some of us, painting pottery is nothing new. It is a natural part of the art world and can be therapeutic. Art is not meant to be based on perfection, and anyone can partake in art simply as a fun activity. This is also a great way to keep the kids entertained. If art is not your forte, here are a few pottery painting ideas:
Beginner Ceramic Paint Designs
As a beginner, you do not have to create your own pottery to paint. You do not even need to go out and purchase pottery to paint designs on. You could use any old plain mugs or plates that you already have. Adding designs to an old item is an easier way to begin painting pottery. All you need is a plate or mug, paint, and a paintbrush, and you can paint your own pottery.
To start small, begin painting on mugs. Try to stick to simpler designs at first. Some beginner ceramic paint designs could include cute, simple patterns with little polka dots. This is a lovely way for you to get the feel of painting pottery. There is no going wrong with polka dots – big or small, monochromatic or colorful, they are an achievable technique for making your pottery aesthetic.
Another ceramic paint design for beginners is the use of lines. You could paint straight lines, or even zigzag lines, which are a bit more fun and chaotic. Try painting shapes on your mugs, like hearts, circles, or triangles. A personalized pottery item is an affordable, creative gift, and a good excuse to try new pottery painting ideas – you could decoratively paint their name, and use themes and colors that you think would suit the individual.
If this is not your first time picking up a paintbrush, you could try painting something a little more advanced, such as a mini-landscape. It does not have to be difficult; you could use simplified ceramic painting ideas. The key to keeping it simple is knowing how to break down the idea into simplified shapes.
We can also, however, paint complete landscapes. This would naturally be a bit more difficult for those of us who do not paint regularly. If you want to try these ceramic painting ideas, you may need to get a special kind of paint as the standard pottery paint will not be as smooth when covering up the entire space for your landscape painting.
Bowl Painting Ideas
Now that you are a bit more comfortable with painting pottery, we can look at some designs for bowl painting ideas. This is a fun way to bring your bowls to life. You could even use these pottery painting ideas for pieces you want to keep in and around your home. Remember, bowls have many other uses as well.
Bowl painting ideas could include small or big polka dots, lines and stripes, and of course, shapes. We have a lot more space to get creative with a bowl, allowing you to elaborate more on your pottery painting ideas.
A simple and elegant design for your bowls could involve swirls. For the best effect on swirls, use a big and thick paintbrush. Using the color of your choice, all you need to do is place the paintbrush in the center of the bowl, and then slowly turn the bowl as you raise the brush against the sides. This will give it that tornado swirl effect. This particular bowl painting idea works well for the inside of the bowl.
For our experienced painters, you could try more complex pottery designs like a repeated geometric shape pattern. This pattern would then be used around the entire bowl, making it look a bit more elegant. There are many shapes we can use for this, and sometimes basic standard shapes (like squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles) work the best and look the neatest in a repeated pattern. The best part is allowing your mind to get creative with how you decide to use these shapes to make your geometric patterns.
Painting ceramics is a fun way to get the kids involved with something they can use their hands for. Children often love to paint and see the colors come to life. Fruit bowls are handy items to paint. Have everyone paint the bowl with the theme of their favorite fruit, or simply let the young painters use their creative freedom to come up with something that appeals to them artistically. Fruit bowls as a pottery painting idea require you to paint both the inside and outside of your bowl for the best effect.
When we look at bowls and plates in the stores, it is quite easy to find some with flower patterns. Something we might not see often is pottery designs with tree branches on them. You can have fun with this painted pottery idea by looking up eastern style plant patterns and drawing inspiration from them. So, grab some bowls and get started!
Pottery Painting Ideas for Plates
A plate is one of the easiest ceramics to paint because a plate has little to no curves. You can paint pretty much anything with a relatively flat surface. There are a few ceramic painting ideas for plates. The go-to easy designs for most ceramics are, as we know, dots, lines, and shapes, but let’s try to be a bit more creative with the space we have.
An easy way to be creative with painting pottery items like plates is to fill half of the plate with a solid color, and the other half with a simple pattern. This will give it a fun and colorful feel. Some of these patterns could include dots, little arrows or open triangles, circles, or even short lines.
We could also try one of the more popular ceramic painting ideas, such as leaves or plants. This type of painted pottery design is quite elegant, which is why it is so popular. However, we have seen more than enough floral patterns on plates and bowls. Let’s try painting some leaves! This will give it a simple look, where less is more. Try to use a different shape or type of leaf for each plate. This look will work best on a white plate, so your green leaf can stand out more. You could also paint a thin strip of gold around the edge or curve of the plate to make it pop a bit more.
Should you want to try a floral pattern, or simply paint a big flower on your ceramics, there are lots of ceramic painting ideas for this. Remember, the entire plate does not need to be covered. For a simpler look, you could just paint one flower, or a branch with some flowers such as those found on the cherry blossom tree, to give it an eastern-style feel.
Some of us collect ceramic pieces with fun little images painted on them. If this is something that appeals to you, you could use pottery designs that you would usually collect. This can be anything from abstract designs to cute little cats painted on your plates. These pieces can also be painted in black or white to make them look like collector’s items.
Pot Painting Ideas
Have you ever thought about decorating your pot plants and vases? This could be an exciting way to bring your garden to life and make it a bit more colorful. Some pot painting ideas would be similar to painting your ceramics above, however, we can explore the different styles to do this.
Whether your pot plants are indoors or outdoors, you can decorate them with pottery designs like painting geometric shapes in different colors. Try using pastel colors for your indoor pot painting ideas. Green indoor plants and succulents work nicely with a pastel-colored pot, as it enables them to stand out more.
If you are feeling culturally inspired, you could paint your pots and vases accordingly. The cherry blossom is well-known in Japanese culture. You could paint this floral pattern on your vase for an elegant look. Other pot painting ideas that could remind you of Japanese designs could include blue spirals that cover the entire pot or vase.
To accomplish a simple look on your vases, paint three to four colored bands. Use colors that complement each other, and try combining soft pastel colors with one bright color to make it pop. Try using pastel blues, greens, pinks, and maybe even nude colors, with a mix of a yellow band to bring it all together. Play around with colors before you paint your pottery.
Vases allow you a lot of space to work with, which in turn allows you to make use of more than one pattern or pottery design. Depending on the shape of your vase, you could use solid bands of color and combine them with some shapes as well. Be it solid shapes or even shapes made of dots, this is the part where you get creative.
Vases regularly hold flowers, so it is not surprising that you may want to decorate your vase with some flower patterns. Keep in mind that these flowers and patterns do not have to look perfect. You can have fun with your designs and turn mistakes into something new.
Should you want to cover the entire pot or vase with a pottery design, it is suggested that you try to stick to a simple design. The more complex designs can be quite time-consuming. A quick and simple way to accomplish this look is by using a big, repeated pattern around the pot or vase.
Try to experiment with fun shapes like hearts, doughnuts, colorful circles, and geometric line patterns that burst with color. When we use these shapes for our pot painting ideas, it is a good idea to paint the pot a solid color first, allowing the shapes and designs to pop. You can find lots of examples of pot painting ideas on Pinterest.
What Do You Need to Paint Pottery?
Ideally, we’d all like to go to a pottery class or a clay café where they have everything ready for you to use. Some of us may not have the time to do this, or the finances to enroll in an actual class, but still want the experience. You do not need to make or have new pieces of pottery to do this. Here are some supplies you might even have at home that you could make use of for your pottery painting ideas:
- An old mug, bowl, plate, or vase (you could also get fun ready-to-paint items online)
- Acrylic paints
- Paint pens
- Ceramic paints
- Varnish or finishing glaze
There are so many pottery painting ideas, it is easy to find inspiration if you cannot think of where to begin. The best part about painting pottery, or painting in general, is that it does not have to be perfect. Pottery painting is art, so you should allow yourself to be creative and just have fun with the colors. Allow your mind to express itself through this art form, all while giving you a therapeutic feeling. This is where you should be able to unwind from life’s daily stresses and just be you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need a Specific Kind of Paint to Paint Pottery?
You can use acrylic paint to paint your mugs, and bowls, just remember to use a finishing glaze or varnish if you want to preserve your design. However, should you want to go all out, there are special kinds of ceramic paints you can use.
How Long Does It Take for Painted Pottery to Dry?
If you are a beginner with using paint, you should know that paint can take a while to dry. When doing DIY pieces of art, you will notice that sometimes paint can appear to be dry before it actually is, so be careful not to touch it. Waiting for your paint to dry at home can take up to 72 hours.
Is It Safe to Eat and Drink Out of Your Painted Item?
An acrylic-painted bowl, plate, or mug is not safe to use when consuming food. There are specific paints you could purchase that are labeled as food-safe paints, which you could get from your local supply store. Keeping in mind that pottery is decorative art, therefore, anything that you might want to paint should be for decorative purposes. However, if you only paint the outer parts of your mug, bowl, or plate, eating and drinking out of it should be okay.