Hand-painting Pottery

Hand-painting Pottery

Creating Decorative Pottery

You may remember that several weeks ago we talked about hand-painting ceramics. Today I want to discuss painting pottery. The process is somewhat similar but has some subtle as well as bold differences.

Working with clay is enjoyable and making a vase, pot or other piece from it produces a feeling of satisfaction. The satisfaction stems from working with your hands and mind together to create something. Even better, you take your time to do it, starting over as many times as necessary and no one but you need even see it, much less approve of it.

If you do want to display it, you can easily improve on its appearance—while exercising more creativity—by painting it. Painted pottery, regardless of how rustic it many look, is attractive when displayed in the house or outside on the patio or porch. The process of painting and treating the pottery is simple and you do not need special skills or much instruction to do it properly. Once done properly, the hand-painted pottery is weather resistant and retains its bright colors for many years.

  1. Clean the outside of the pottery piece thoroughly with a damp cloth, taking care to remove dirt and grime. Allow it to dry completely overnight.
  2. Apply spray pottery sealant to the piece. Adjust the spray nozzle to fine spray or hold the can away from the pottery so the resulting spray is a fine mist. The idea is to spray it thoroughly but not allow a lot of the spray to collect in one place and create unsightly runs down the outside of the piece. Work in a well-ventilated area while wearing a nose and mouth mask; the spray can inhibit breathing and is flammable. Let the sealer set according to manufacturer’s directions until it is completely dry.
  3. Paint the outside of the pottery piece with a neutral base coat using a wide brush for better coverage. Allow the first coat to dry and apply a second one. After it has dried, apply one more coat. Allow to dry.
  4. Exercise your inner artist, take your time and paint the designs you wish with patio paints, available from craft stores. Apply as many coats as necessary to attain the bold bright color that satisfies you and allow the paint to dry completely between coats.
  5. Spray the outside of the pottery piece with two to three coats of sealant, allowing each coat to thoroughly dry before applying the next.

The pottery is ready to display inside or outside. When displaying outside, make certain it is not in a position to catch rain or snow.