• My Guide: Painting Bisque Pottery Plates, My New Canvas For Acrylic Painting

My Guide: Painting Bisque Pottery Plates, My New ‘Canvas’ For Acrylic Painting

I think that it should be noted that, as with all art projects, the final product is your own choice. I agree that often potters or artisans would only use glazes (created from glass particle and fired in a kiln), but it is your choice as to how you decorate a piece of canvas or a plate.

My artist journey is all about self expression and creative journey.

I always focus on this and so I encourage you to look at it like this….

I truly believe that as so many of us buy ready made canvases, canvas boards, dyed fabric, canvas sheets, hand-made paper, etc that buying a plate to paint that you did not create is no different. It is a format and a way to express, as simple as that.

That is just my opinion

My Guide:

Tips To Paint Bisque Pottery:


  1. Preparation: Bisque pottery is very porous and needs to have a wet sponge to to firstly clean any dust particles. This wet sponge is also needed to wet the surface as you apply the paint, especially the first layer of colour. If you skip the step of using a wet sponge, you can have the effect of the painted design having layers peeling or falling off.
  2. Painting: It is a necessary to have a small sponge and pot of water to wet the bisque as you paint, to increase quality of the final effect. I use natural sponges as they do not scratch or have a texture, as they are very soft when wet.
  3. Avoiding Brush Strokes: The way to lesson brush strokes depends on the initial layers of painting by continue to use a damp sponge. This is a key part to the final paint effects on your bisque pottery.
  4. What type of paint?: The type of acrylic paint you could/ should use is an open debate, with some saying that it important to use specific products, such as ‘Duncan and Mayco‘ who offer acrylic paints formulated to work well with bisque. There are some who say that you can use any acrylic paints to decorate bisque pottery, but anything is usable, give it a try. Tip: Try purchasing a smaller plate or saucer to practice on, as it would be a shame to ruin a stunning vase or plate.
  5. Acrylic Paint Effects: The effects within acrylic paints are endless. I work with them all the time, in which I use a combination of brands and paint types to garner the effects I desire in my work. I have completed a great list of below, which is after this ‘How To’ guide: See the full blog by clicking here
  6. Creating Depth: I would advise that you create layer upon layer of paint. This will create a greater depth that may not show with just one layer of paint. In addition, this will make the colours more vibrant.
  7. Spray Paints: You can also use spray paints for some base layers of your piece, a perfect dripping effect medium.
  8. Think Outside The Box: Why not try other mediums to gain effect, like Brusho Paint Pigment Powders?
  9. The Last Step Is Varnish: At the end of your painting process, it is important that you varnish the bisque to both keep it in tip top condition and enhance your paints colours. It is very important that you use a good quality, non-yellowing sealer (or varnish) to protect the acrylic paint for years to come. I advise that you use spray varnish after through a painful set of paintings I completely ruined by painting varnish onto it. I found that the fluid varnish mixed with my paints and dragged washes of colour into each other. You can chose from many brands, but I use three finishes: gloss, satin and matte.
  10. One last thought: I wanted to leave you with this….just remember that some plates include two wire holes on the back for hanging. After all I do not want to use a plate wall hanger, which I think are often so ugly! See below on the picture at the top:

My Thoughts on Acrylic Paints

I think there are a vast array of paints on the market and I thought I’d share with you my experience with certain brands/types of acrylic paints. This will include a few thoughts of what they are like to work with and the final effect you could anticipate.

This is my opinion only and has not been endorsed by the brands named below.

  1. Daler Rowney Standard Paints: I have used these paints for 20+ years and are the corner stone of my paint supplies. They offer you a huge range of colours, are perfect for beginners, easy to dilute to work with the paint in a watercolour/ wet on wet technique. I use System 3 Daler Rowney paint as they have a great effect to layer up washes of colour, like you see in watercolour paint techniques.
  2. Pebeo: I have recently accidentally discovered Pebeo high viscosity acrylic paints, having run out of copper paint . I love the silky and textural way it holds palette knife marks and offers a slight translucency in colours such as the neon choices.
  3. Heavy Body Daler Rowney System 3: I mainly use Daler Rowney paints. Daler Rowney also do a 3D paint but it is thicker and has a strange plastic look. The Pebeo high viscosity has a better finish and has a great final effect.
  4. Reeves: Student paints are thinner and I find the pigmentation/colour is not as good. Recently, another paint that I have found has interesting glossy finish due to the resin content in the paint mix. Reeves has created beautiful, high pigment paints since 1766. Their drawback is they are very washy coloured if extra water is added to them.
  5. Liquetex: I have worked with these paints and they have a silky effect, yet strong when dry, with an exquisitely high pigment quality.
  6. Acrylic Paint Pens: I have tested a gold and silver version. Great to add clear, long lines, to highlight/ low lights and sign your work with. I find them restrictive and hard to paint with, as they bypass paint brushes and only offer a set width during application. Possible additional use could be to sign artworks by using the black pen, as normal pens are never advised to be used to sign your work as the ink often could rub off or look messy. The other benefit is that acrylic paint pens when use bond with the acrylic paint well.
  7. Winsor Newton Acrylic: As always, Winsor Newton paints have an extremely high pigment/ colour quality and are beautiful to work with. Highly recommended.
  8. Jacquard Lumiere Light Body Acrylic Paint: This is something I have only very recently discovered and it is a beautiful paint, though a little bit more expensive. The paintings high viscosity and pigment quality add a really beautiful depth to your work. The additional aspect is that this paint is made for all surfaces: canvas, textiles and clay. Perfect!

Just a thought…here was my first foray into painting on ceramics aged 15:

Read my blog by clicking here


All artworks & designs displayed are © Copyright by artist Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip.

View my professional gallery of works at: http://www.lhe-art.co.uk

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