How to Paint Unglazed Ceramic: Full DIY Info Guide from Expert


Unglazed ceramic can be fun and easy to paint. Unglazed ceramic can be painted without any rules. This allows you to let your imagination run wild. This comprehensive guide will show you how to paint unglazed ceramic. It covers everything from selecting the right paint, surface preparation, and applying the paint or sealant. No matter if you are a novice or an experienced professional, this guide will help you create beautiful painted ceramic pieces.

What is unglazed ceramic

Ceramics are made from clay fired in a fire kiln. There are two types of ceramics, glazed and unglazed. Glazed ceramics have smooth, shiny finishes, while unglazed ceramics are matte. Unglazed ceramic is any pottery that hasn’t been glazed. They usually use for functional purposes like flower pots and baking dishes. Unglazed ceramics don’t have a layer of glass, so they are matte. Unglazed ceramics may not have the same shine as glazed ceramics, but they are still stunning in their own right.

Learn more about deep cleaning textured tile floors.

Facts that you should know

What is light-bodied clay?

Light-bodied clay is pottery made from a mix of quartz and kaolin. This solid and durable clay makes it an excellent choice for painting. Light-bodied clay is also non-porous and will not absorb paint. This clay is also lighter in color, making it easier for you to paint. You can find light-bodied clay at most craft shops and online retailers.

What is lightfastness?

The ability of a color’s lightfastness to resist fading is measured by its resistance to sunlight. This is an essential factor to consider when choosing paint for unglazed clay. Some pigments are lightfast than others. You can paint unglazed ceramic with lightfast paint. Lightfastness is one of the most essential qualities to look out for in paint. This is how long the color will last when exposed to sunlight. It is essential to use lightfast paint if you intend to use your painted ceramics outdoors. The color will fade over time if it is not. There are many lightfast paints available. To find the correct paint for you, carefully read the labels.

Which ceramic is best for painting?

Bisque pottery is the best for painting ceramics. Bisque ceramics are made of clay that has been dried in the air before being fired in a kiln. They are, therefore, extremely durable and will not lose integrity even after being used regularly. Bisque ceramics are also non-porous. This means that paint won’t seep through the surface. They are an excellent surface for painting because the paint will not fade or lose its detail. You can find bisque ceramics in most craft shops, so they are easily accessible for those who want to paint.

How to paint unglazed ceramic

Unglazed ceramic absorbs paint quickly because it is porous. Depending on your desired effect, this can be a good or a bad thing. Painting over unglazed ceramic can give you a distressed look. The paint will seep through the ceramic pores, giving it an aged look. If you want to achieve a smooth and even finish, you will need to prepare the surface before painting. Here is a quick guide to how to paint unglazed ceramic.

Unglazed ceramic surface for painting

The first step in painting unglazed ceramic is to clean it. Unglazed ceramic absorbs dirt and oil, so it is best to clean the surface before you start painting. You can clean the piece by using mild dish soap and water. You may need trisodium phosphate if the work is extremely dirty or greasy. To remove any residual cleaner, be sure to thoroughly rinse your surface.

Seal the paint

Protect the paint once it has dried. Clear sealer recommends pieces that are likely to be used often, such as plates and mugs. This will extend the life of your design and help keep it looking great. You can leave the paint alone for vases and sculptures likely to be used infrequently.


Although it may seem tedious, primer is essential in painting ceramics. Primer helps the paint adhere to a smooth surface and ensures uniform color. Use light strokes when applying primer. After the primer has dried, you can begin painting.

Sanding the surface

After you have cleaned and removed all varnish or paint, it is time to sand. This will make the paint stick better and give it a smoother finish. To roughen the surface, you can use fine-grit or commercial etching solutions. To remove dust, you can wipe the surface with a damp cloth after sanding it. You will be rewarded for taking the time to properly prepare the surface.

Paint it!

Once you have applied the paint, it is time to set it, so it doesn’t get damaged. Acrylic paint can be baked in an oven following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will make sure that your art is enjoyed for many years.

Apply the paint

It would help if you chose the paint you need for the project. Acrylic paint is an excellent choice for small projects like painting a mug. Ceramic paint is best for larger projects like painting a vase. After you have chosen the color, use a sponge or a brush to apply it. Use even strokes, and only work in small sections to ensure that the paint does not dry before you can spread it.

How to paint unglazed ceramic: Things to follow


  • Use a primer made for ceramic. This will allow the paint to stick to the surface.
  • Apply the stain with a sponge brush or paintbrush.
  • Before you use the item, let it dry completely.


  • Use regular paint only on unglazed ceramic. It won’t stick well, and it will likely chip.
  • It would help if you didn’t paint glaze ceramic. You’ll make a mess, and the paint won’t stick.

The pros and cons of painting unglazed ceramic


  • Unglazed ceramic’s porous nature can make it easier for the paint to adhere.
  • Unglazed ceramic can be used to add texture and interest to your paintings.
  • Unglazed ceramic is a great way to challenge your artistic abilities.
  • Gifts for family and friends made of painted ceramics are a great idea.


  • Unglazed ceramic’s porous nature can make it difficult to control your paint and create clean lines.
  • It would help if you were careful not to break or drop unglazed ceramic.
  • It can be challenging to achieve a smooth finish due to the texture of unglazed ceramic.

Painting on unglazed ceramic is a rewarding and fun experience if you are up for it. Be patient and take your time. You’ll soon be creating stunning works of art with a bit of practice.


  • You must ensure the ceramic’s surface is free from dirt and debris.
  • For more detailed work, use a smaller and bigger brush to paint large areas.
  • Apply thin layers of paint and let each dry thoroughly before adding another. Avoid dripping and running by using light layers.
  • To protect your work, seal the surface after you have finished painting.
  • Try priming the ceramic first with a layer of gesso or white acrylic.
  • The surface of the ceramic may be causing cracking and peeling in your paint. This problem can be solved by sanding the surface with fine-grit paper.
  • Unique ceramic colors may be better if your paint performs differently than you would like.
  • Remember, practice makes perfect. You’ll improve your skills by painting on ceramic more often. Keep at it!


Unglazed ceramic painting is something that anyone can master with some creativity and patience. You only need a few essential tools to transform ordinary pottery into something beautiful. It is necessary to take your time, allow the paint to dry between coats, and be patient. You risk your design being smudged or, worse, the entire piece may be destroyed. If you take your time, follow the directions carefully, and take pride in creating beautiful art. Let your creativity flow!

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