Painting Ceramics 

After the glaze has been applied and your creation is back in the oven for glaze firing, is when you really get to bring your piece to life. There are so many ways you can further embellish your pieces of art. Once out of the oven, you will be able to tell if the colours you chose turned out just as you wanted them or if the colour was off just a little bit. 

The most popular techniques for painting ceramics are: 

  • Use of transfers

  • Silkscreens

  • Digital Printing

  • Enamel 

  • Lusters

In my workshop, I use transfers, enamel and lusters. In the future, I want to make my own transfers and work more with enamel.

 

Transfers

When I say transfer, I am referring to the process in which a design on paper is transferred to a clay object. This is an easy task to perform and remain strong and durable even after baking. The ceramic ink design is printed on special paper. The ink used is mixed with enamel with a medium oil base. This technique can also be applied using screen painting. Transfers are available for purchase in craft supply stores and certain companies can make them using your own designs. 

 

Enamel

Enamel helps bring out the vibrancy in colours on ceramics. It’s sometimes hard to navigate with enamel when used alongside a glaze as it tends to leave colours more matte than intended. Enamel itself is a glaze baked at different temperatures at least 3 times. The first bake is done at an extremely high temperature but the nexts ones are at an increasingly lower temperature. Enamel is really good glaze but ensuring it sticks to the object is very important. To ensure that happens, you can use a spray bottle so you cover the most surface. 

 

Clean lines on your creation can be achieved using tape or a template. Keep in mind that the removal of tape or template has to be done very carefully. Damage can happen easily and once it is set, enamel cannot be reapplied. For a precise application, you can paint enamel on by hand using a really soft paint brush. You can mix enamel powder with white spirit to obtain the right consistency with a medium oil base. 

 

Lusters

A luster is a metal-colored layer that is applied to enamel. It consists of precious metal, resin and oil. During the baking process, the resin and oil burn off and the glazing agents melt together. Luster can be applied with a paint brush, a sponge, a stamp or with a spray bottle. Generally though, it is applied by brush using the most meticulous strokes. It takes a lot of practice to get this right as it is difficult to apply and must be used sparingly. 

Safety equipment like a mask and/or gloves should be worn when working with lusters. Some of the metals used can be harmful to the skin or when inhaled. Good ventilation is key because of this, and that goes even for the baking process where vapours are released. I love to accent my figurines with gold luster.


Do you also want to start painting ceramic?

Look no further! Please contact me to set up a time! I’ll share all of my tricks of the trade, and hopefully pass on a bit of my passion for this rewarding hobby! 





 

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