Creative Kids: Paint Your Own Pottery

Kids Love Painting Pottery!

If you own a kiln or have access to one, invite the children in your life over to paint their own pottery!  Mugs, plates, bowls and ornaments make great gifts from children to loved ones.  Visit, Big Ceramic Store or Creative Crafts, Inc. for a wide selection of bisque and glazes.


Laminated Glaze Color Charts


I downloaded thumbnail images of all of my Low-Fire glazes from the internet, inserted them into a Word Document, then laminated the printed pages as shown in the picture above.  This was a lot of trouble, but it greatly simplified the color-choosing process for the kids since the glaze in the jar isn’t exactly the same color as the fired glaze.

Ceramic Painting Color Workshop: Paints, Palettes, and Patterns for 16 Projects

Decorating Ceramics: Over 300 Easy-to-Paint Patterns

Ceramic bisque unpainted mega mug 4.25″ x 4.5″, case of 6

Instruct the children to wear old clothes and to bring a change of clothing. (I recommend that they change out of their painting clothes before they go home to avoid breathing any dust from dried glaze.)

Show the children the kiln and give a brief overview of the ceramic firing process – invite their questions, you’ll be surprised at what they ask!  Make sure all surfaces are covered with old towels or sheets, and instruct them on how to use and clean a paintbrush.  Let them know that glazes shouldn’t be mixed (for example, don’t put the blue glaze-covered paintbrush into the green glaze).   Instruct them on glaze application according the glaze manufacturer’s recommendations (usually two to three even coats).

Painting a Child's Hand for Handprint

After wiping the dust off of the piece with a damp sponge, the children can write on the bisque with a pencil to draw their own designs (the pencil will burn off in the kiln).  Or, use foam stamps, hands or feet to decorate the pottery!  I used a rubber flower stamp on the plate in the main image above and was pleased with the results, but rubber stamps that had detail didn’t work for me.  To use a hand or foot, hold it with one hand, and brush on the glaze quickly with the other hand.  Apply a good, even coat of a darker color – and then immediately press into the pottery.  Don’t wait too long or the glaze will dry, and you’ll have to start over.

I used Duncan Concepts Black Underglaze CN253 in a Mayco Detail Bottle AC220 for the black “Grandpa” and “Grandma” writing in the photo above (I’m still getting the hang of this).  The children who painted the pottery above used mostly my Mayco Gloss Colors.  If a piece was completely covered with a gloss glaze, then I did not apply any clear glaze on top of it.  I did apply Mayco Clear Brushing Glaze (S-2101) over the pieces that had unpainted bisque, once the colored glazes and any black writing on the piece were COMPLETELY dry (otherwise the black writing will smear).

Be sure to have the kids sign their work!

The kids had a lot of fun, and came up with some great ideas!


Copyright 2011 Kathryn Depew

Related articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.