Do It Yourself Crafts

Updated on December 10, 2009
J.W. asks from Roseburg, OR
5 answers

Does anyone know the basics of plate painting? Like, what kind of plates and paint to use, if you have to bake them or spray them with something. I want to do this as a family day of crafts on Christmas... About 20 people and would like to do from plates to bowls to cups..... Can I buy a box of dinnerware and paint those... Any help would be awesome... Thanks

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answers from Seattle on

Our preschool does "Mak-It Plates" every year, google that to see what you can order! It's really fun =)

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answers from Seattle on

Typically any kind of ware that's going to be coming into contact with food has to be fired (to remove the toxicity of the glaze/overglaze, and to bond the "paint" (aka fuse the glass particles in the glaze) to the ware for durability's sake.

Greenware - still wet or "bone dry" ... hasn't been fired yet, will melt and turn into mud if gotten wet.

Bisqueware - has been fired once. Very porous and brittle (you can break it with your bare hands). Is inappropriate for food, because the food will absorb into the clay. This is the stage when you add glaze to the piece, and are the blank pieces that you will find in
"paint it" stores. Has to be fired again in order to a) fuse the glass in the glaze and b) to strengthen the clay.

I work in ceramics :) The way that "paint it" places work is that you paint bisque ware, (you're either using glaze to do so or "underglaze" which is a pigment that can stand being heated to 1900-2400 degrees) then you leave the piece. The employees then dunk the piece in clear glaze (which makes it watertight/food safe) and fire it.

While you CAN go to a ceramics store (I'm in Seattle, so I go to Seattle Pottery Supply & to Clay Art in Tacoma) and buy bisqueware, and underglaze and clear glaze, and paint at home, and then bring it back in and pay for them to fire it... it's prohibitively expensive. Each underglaze costs between $5-10, the clear glaze around $15, and the glaze firing at LEAST 20 (around 150 if you use the entire kiln and they load it). So you're looking at about $250. Plus the firing takes at LEAST 24 hours. So you can do it, but it's pricey and time consuming. ((The cost is the same for us, minus the cost of the bisqueware, but because we're doing hundreds of pieces... it brings the overall cost/price per piece waaaaaaaaay down.)) <Laughing> Actually, even though I have a kiln (couple grand there) I've taken my son to the paint it places, purely because I don't want to go out and buy underglaze for $100 (because I don't currently own any, since I don't currently use it in my work). Now... I've fired my son's works, and had him glaze it (underglaze is totally different than glaze) and fired it at home... but for wanting to paint a mug sort of thing, we go to down the block to the do it yourself pottery place.


You MIGHT be able to arrange with your local shop though, to let you take the bisque and underglaze home, and then bring it all back. You'd undoubtedly need to place a deposit, but they might even have the home-party option already made up.

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answers from Seattle on

There are enamel paints that you can use on glass. Some of them have the paint inside a little pen that makes them easy to use.

Some kinds require that you "cure" the paint by putting the items in the oven, while others do not require the oven. I'm not sure of how safe the paint is if you intend to serve food on the decorated plates. The outside surface of a mug or bowl would , of course, be less of a concern.

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answers from Portland on

Have you looked on the Internet? Nearly everything we can do has web sites with instructions and info on where to buy what we need.

I've seen info in magazines that mentioned ceramic paint. I've seen ceramic paint in the craft section of Fred Meyer. I also suggest going to a craft store such as Michael's. They may even have a class you could take. At the least they will have a book or booklet.

Your project sounds like great fun!

I'm from Roseburg. Two of my brothers still live there. I don't remember seeing a craft store but Roseburg has grown so much. If Roseburg doesn't, Eugene does. Look up craft stores on the Internet. You can probably find an on-line catalog and order what you need. You could also ask your questions thru the "contact us" feature via the Internet or phone.

After reading Zoe's great response I realized that I had assumed you were going to paint pieces that were already glazed. I have seen directions for doing that in women's magazines. Now I'm curious about what it is you're wanting to do.



answers from Seattle on

I would check with a store like Michael's and see what they suggest. You probably needs specific kinds.

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