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How to Paint Over Glazed Ceramic?

how to paint over glazed ceramic
So, you just found a nice vase at your local flea market but you are not that crazy about its color. However, if you know how to paint over glazed ceramic, you can turn that secondhand vase into a personalized treasure.

The glaze that you put on ceramics does more than just make it look pretty. It also makes it food-safe (depending on the glaze). Most importantly, it makes it highly resistant to staining. This also means it will be difficult to paint over – that is without proper preparation first.

This article will teach you the proper ways to paint over glazed ceramics and make them look entirely different than they were before.

What to Prepare:

  • 1-2 sheets of 150-grit sandpaper
  • A couple of clean rags
  • A can of spray-on primer
  • Your choice of paint – If you cannot find true ceramic paint, you can use acrylic, latex, or epoxy paint.

Detailed Steps:

Step 1 – Sand the entire surface

Since the glaze all over the ceramic pottery is slick, you have to scuff the entire surface so the paint can adhere to it. You might think that directly painting on the ceramic piece will work, but once it dries, you will see the paint chip off almost immediately.

Take a piece of 150-grit sandpaper and using medium pressure, proceed to sand the entire glazed surface. Thoroughly sand the entire surface, even the nooks, and crannies. Only stop upon seeing the once glossy surface becoming matte.

You do not need to strip off the color of the ceramic. You are just preparing the surface so you can put a new coat on it.

Step 2 – Wipe the surface clean

After scuffing the surface of the ceramic with sandpaper, take a rag, dampen it with some water, and proceed to wipe away the dust. You may wash the entire thing with soap and water, but just wiping the surface thoroughly is much quicker and does the same thing.

After removing all the dust on the surface of the ceramic, allow it to dry completely, which usually just takes 1 hour or so. Do this step to prevent any dust from mixing with the paint and leaving an uneven and bumpy finish.

Step 2 – Apply the primer

Although you can already paint on the scuffed surface of the porcelain, it would be better to apply 1 or 2 coats of primer first. The primer does not only provide a rough surface for the paint to adhere to but also helps fill in any pockmarks or inconsistencies on the surface. This will make the final painted piece look more uniform and smoother.

You can use spray-on primer or paint-on, but I find the spray-on primer much more convenient to use. It can easily reach the nooks and crannies of your ceramic piece that brushes cannot.

Lay down a couple of sheets of newspaper or whatever paper scraps you have lying around the house. This will prevent you from making a mess out of your floor. Lay the sanded porcelain piece in the middle of the sheets.

Hold the can around 12 to 16 inches away from the piece you are painting and at a 45-degree angle.

Press the nozzle while still pointing away from the object and pass the spray over it. This will prevent the primer from streaking on the surface. Give the porcelain a couple of passes until the entire surface has a thin coat of primer. Let the paint dry for around 30 minutes and then place a somewhat heavier coating on top of it.

Step 3 – Paint the porcelain

Now that you have finished applying the primer and it is already dried, you can proceed to paint the ceramic.

What paint to use to paint over glazed ceramic? Ideally, you should use ceramic paints. However, you can use acrylic paints if that is what you have. Also, if you want a glossy finish, you should use epoxy paint.

First, spray the entire surface with a base paint color. This will cover all the primer you laid down initially. Use the same spray-painting technique you used with the primer. Apply light coats and sand the surface anew after every one of them. I find that 2 to 3 coats are fine.

Next, you can add more details to the painted surface. You can use a paintbrush to freehand paint your desired designs. On the other hand, you can also use a stencil to give your designs sharper lines and corners. Allow the paint to air dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 4 – Set the design using an oven

Just letting the paint dry on the ceramic piece is not enough to keep the new paint from fading. Set the oven to around 200 to 250 degrees, and then place the repainted ceramic inside the oven for 30 minutes to an hour.

You can also re-glaze the surface by brushing the ceramic with pottery glaze. You are also allowed to make your own.

The baking process will ensure that the paint permanently adheres to the surface of the ceramic. Also, it makes the glaze glossier than not baking.

What Kinds of Paint Can You Use on Ceramics?

what paint to use to paint over glazed ceramic

Consider what you will be using in the ceramics after painting. For instance, if you will be painting over a glazed coffee mug that you intend to use, choose food-safe paints. On the other hand, if you will be painting a vase or anything else that is purely decorative, you do not have to check if the paint is toxic or not.

What paint to use to paint over glazed ceramic? Here are the ones most people use:

  • Acrylics – Most acrylic paints are ideal for ceramics mainly because you can bake them on the surface.
  • Enamel – This is the usual paint used by hobbyists for painting on non-porous surfaces. They also look great after baking.

Helpful Tips

  • Use acrylic pens – If this is the first time you are learning how to paint over glazed ceramic pots and other items, you can try using acrylic pens. These pens are ideal if you want to create detailed and flowing designs. They are easier for beginners to use, and they are quite forgiving, unlike most paintbrushes.
  • Remember that you do not have to sand off all the paint on a ceramic item – This is especially true if you will be painting over the entire surface with another color. You just need to sand until the surface is no longer glossy.
  • When baking the ceramic, place the item in the cold oven – After that, set the temperature to 350 degrees F and the timer for 30 minutes. Let the item cool gradually in the oven. Taking the ceramic out while it is still hot can cause it to shatter.


You don’t have to settle for the color that a ceramic item has, especially if you really like the item. You can easily change the color of any glazed ceramic items that you can think of. There is also no need to use any fancy tools or chemicals.

In addition, learning how to paint over glazed ceramic can be quite fun and therapeutic. This is a great way to get personalized ceramic items without having to make them entirely from scratch.


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