diy {painting on ceramic and porcelain}

I have a file box full of tear sheets of projects I’d like to try. In January 2006 (yes, that was nearly 5 years ago) I pulled out an article from Martha Stewart Living on Dot-Painted China. The minute I saw it, I knew I wanted to try it. I’ve meant to do if for quite a while now but I was stuck at finding the paint. I know craft paints, but I just never seemed to find the time or remember to look for paint for china.

I’ve gone to a few of those paint your own pottery places and honestly am usually disappointed with the results. The paint seems to be too thin and not as detailed as I wanted. We are a form & function house, so I needed something easy to clean and durable. FINALLY I found the perfect paint. Martha did not share with me in her magazine the pointers for finding the paint supplies, so I will share with you what I have found that works.


China, Ceramic, Porcelain….it needs to be able to go in the oven and cook at 350. My bowl is from Walmart, plate from Target.

Pebeo Paints:

Porcelaine 150 1.2 paint pen – for larger dots

Porcelaine 150 0.7 paint pen – for smaller dots

Porcelaine 150 paint (comes in a small little round container)

Porcelaine 150 outliner (comes in a small tube with fine point end)

There is also a little set that that has applicator bottles and fine point end you can attach to the bottle. This works great for making dots and fine details with the colors of paint that don’t come in pens.

You can get the paint at Micheals,, and other craft stores.

Martha has tips for transferring a pattern onto the china before painting it. For me that was just another step to figure out, so I skipped it and just started freehanding it as I went…while looking at Martha’s designs for inspiration. I started with the large paint pen to get the basic design and then filled in details with the more fine point pen.

After you finish painting the dish needs to dry for 24 hours. Once that period is over you cook it in the oven for 35 minutes at 300 F. Double check your paint instructions, especially if you use a different brand of paint. Also be sure to remove any stickers from the bottom…you don’t want to cook those!

To keep it real…I painted these with a 1 year old on my lap. She is still working on cutting 4 molars and really likes to be held. I took this picture to remind me one day of what creative endeavors were like during this phase of life. One day I won’t have little ones on my lap when painting…I think I’ll be okay with that.

1,000,000 ways to make this cute as a gift.

There are so many ideas floating in my head now, you’ll be seeing a lot more of this kind of stuff soon!

Keep in mind not all paint is food safe. I’d do most of your painting on the outside of bowls, cups, mugs. If you paint the top of a plate like I did, you can use it to serve wrapped food (like cupcakes) or use it for decoration.



In other diy news, my monthly post on Design Aglow will be up sometime today

…what my ‘studio’ looked like to get the product shots 🙂

Have a Great Weekend!!

UPDATE: If you make a mistake it is super easy to correct. The plate you see in the post was actually my practice plate. It was full of all kinds of colors and designs. Once I was done practicing I just washed it all off and started over. The paint can be washed off until you bake it…then it is set for good. My plate has been through the dishwasher too…and still looks quite lovely.


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  • RachelC - Oh wow…..those look GREAT!!! All the more impressive with a child on your lap….I think maybe even I could paint dots….well, sans child, of course! Cool idea.

  • Lindsay - GREAT gift idea. The good thing about Martha and Real Simple and the like is that they don’t go out of style! Crafts are crafts and they are great for years to come!

  • Betsy - I just used those exact pens to make a celebrate plate to use for family birthdays and other extra special days. I remember seeing that dot project and wanting to try it, so now I know what I’m going to do with my leftover paint. Yay!

  • Nicole - those look awesome! adding to my never-ending list of ‘to do’ items!

  • Emily @ Charles & Poppy - I LOVE the curtains in that last photo….I think they are made from Amy Butler fabric? Did you make them? Buy them? Have them made?? I WANT!

  • Leslie - I totally ripped out the SAME article way back when and have yet to do the project! You’ve given me a great reminder and motivation to tackle it!

  • Krista @ Blue Eyed Yonder - How stinkin’ cute! The possibilities are endless. I have some yellow bowls similar to the ones pictured in the magazine. I can hear them clapping in the cabinet; they want pretty dots too! Thanks so much for digging this project out of your pile and sharing it with us.

  • Wendy - I ? This!!!!!! Yours turned out so fabulous and this project has definitely been added to my “to do” list ?!

  • the whyte house - Thank you!! I’ve been racking my brain to figure out what to do for my in-laws for christmas. Oh, the wheels are turning! 🙂 I can guarantee it’s not gonna look as intricate as yours, though!

  • Ruth - Gorgeous! I love crafts that don’t look crafty (i.e. tacky). And I love it that Firecracker was on your lap the whole time, though I’m amazed she didn’t try to grab the paint!

  • Betsy Jo - Another Ashley Ann page to bookmark! I can’t WAIT to work on a version this project!! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  • Jamie - Ashley, I remember seeing this idea in Martha years ago! I thought it was so cute but forgot all about it until now. Thx for sharing your tips bc these would make a great gift!

  • Sadie - WOW. Seriously? You amaze me! LOVE the plates and bowls… of these days I will be like you!

  • Dana - What fabulous fabric is your curtains made of in the ‘studio’? Yellow with white chrysanthemums…….

  • anne c - you even make dots look great! love it. my brain is in overload of all the cool ideas you give us!

  • Heather - i am always a fan of all your crafts.. but these might be one of my favs!!! soo cute! and with a toddler on your lap thats impressive!

  • Mariah - Love it! Great idea for Christmas!

  • Hannah Bunker - I love it! I have this same project on my to-do list! I bought the plates and paint a long time ago and just haven’t gotten around to it. I love your design!

  • Heather - how did you know that your plates would work in the oven?? and has the design lasted a wash or two in the dishwasher??

  • Dacia - wow I love this! I may have to save ‘rip’ (or bookmark) this post for me to try it out. they came out great!

  • Jill E. - this are amazing. what a great gift looks so high end and with a kiddo in your lap very impressive.

  • Heather - now MY head is spinning with ideas!! the design you created is sooo cute. thanks for sharing all the details. happy weekend!

  • Shannon - Oh AShley! This is absolutely stunning! What a great way to gift handmade. Truly beautiful. I wish I could rip this off the computer to stash in my “need to do” pile!

    And I love the behind the scenes on your Design Aglow post. That post was fantastic, by the way.

  • Erin - I love your DIY projects. And so timely for Christmas gifts. Please do post more!!! 🙂

  • Trinity - Awesome!!! There is a good little crepe place in Shawnee that has really really good tiramisu crepes. Yummy!!

  • Anna - Wow, I love this DIY! It looks like a design that you would be able to buy at the store…maybe you should think about that … 🙂

  • valerie - I’ve always wanted to try that too and never have. Yours look great! I could never do that so neatly with a kid in my lap. Ha ha.

  • Rebecca - How did you get the dots consistently the same size in diameter?

  • gina - your freehand is amazing!! I need to get a “kid in my lap shot while crafting” too, but my 14 month old is grabbing everything in her reach. Have a great weekend!

  • christina larsen - love that.

  • Elizabeth Beattie - You read my mind! I was just thinking last night that I wanted to do “something” with the large ceramic white platter I have. This is IT!!!

    You are a genius! Thanks so much!

  • Krista Lund - great timing as these will make wonderful christmas gifts. you rock!

  • Leanne - I LOVE that plate and bowl you painted! I may have to try this!

  • amber - I LOOOOVE that! So going to give those to a couple of special girls for Christmas…as long as I can make them look that good:). You’re so awesome.

  • ashlee - I LOVE this idea!!! i think i will make plates for my kids…they each can have their own plate and bowl:) and the fabric on your curtains in the last shot is one of my FAV amy butler prints, but its sooooo hard to find!

  • stephanie - Great job. I love seeing the behind the scene shots. Thanks

  • Tweets that mention diy {painting on ceramic and porcelain} » -- - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by csrock, Jennifer Raymond. Jennifer Raymond said: diy {painting on ceramic and porcelain} » […]

  • Candice - Oh my heck…I LOVE IT!!! So cute! I just went to Michaels yesterday, but I see a trip again in my very near future!!!

  • giozi - I bought some plates to do something similar a year ago, but the end was awful, ha ha I deleted all, besides something wasn’t clear to me, the time at oven.
    Maybe I need some pens 🙂

    I saw the christmas card but I don’t understand very well the tutorial, is late here and I’m really tired so I’m going to look it if I can tomorrow at morning. Tomorrow is grandmom day, so we are going to her home at Barajas 🙂 long that my town.

    Have a nice weekend Ashley 🙂

  • caro - love the idea, but here in my country you can’t get that pencils.
    Sorry me, lucky you.

  • Carolyn - oh my!…so I know you’re just like the rest of us…but this is amazing!! you painted that beautiful pattern freehand?!…with a child on your lap?! fantastic work! I will have to put this type of project on my quite long to-do list.
    …and ‘mmm” is right – the Tiramisu looks delicious!..even if it is still only breakfast time here in this part of the world 🙂

  • Kristy C - I just took a group of students to a paint already made pottery place and I really enjoyed it! This idea gives a whole new spin to it. I don’t have an actual file that I keep these craft ideas in, but it does go into a file in my mind. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Kristin Guillory - ohhh my, this is soooo beautiful!!!! I want to try this so bad now!! maybe a trip to hobby lobby tonight..hahah

  • erin - I remember seeing this project & drooling a bit over it.
    Thanks for giving us all the additional pointers (that Martha never seems to remember to tell us…)
    I may try this for holiday plate gifts!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Okay – I totally want to do that, but on fabric. I wonder if they make fabric paint in pens? Lovely and delicious ideas circling in my head now.

  • Desiree - Those look great! They sound so simple, too! Thanks for the great Christmas gift idea!

  • Jessica P - I love this project! And that fact that you could freehand it with a baby on your lap is all the more impressive! Thanks for sharing.

  • Kristin S - And now this link has been added to my “craft ideas” note in Outlook. Maybe I’ll get around to it in 5 years.
    Great idea!

  • Lynn - Ashley, What a great idea!! Thank you for showing how you did it!! I love it, I just tried it today and can’t wait to bake it tomorrow!! How cute!! I couldn’t free hand it as well as you but the transfer paper worked well!! I want to find a platter for cheese and crackers or something that I can cook and make this work! That would be a great gift addition to anyones china!! Thanks again and keep them coming, love reading your daily posts!!

  • ashley jensen - I saw this when you posted it Friday and I just now thought of a question…how easy is it to wipe off if you make a mistake in the process? I will be doing this for my Aunt’s Christmas present thanks to your post!

  • Becka @ Life as an Artistpreneur - Love these! I would love to do one with a flock of tiny birds. Although I’m afraid I’m not nearly as good at freehand as you are. Mine might end up looking like ants…although that might be cool too. 😉

  • Yanet - Oh, this is how I craft oh so many times! With a baby on the lap (even if the “baby” is 3 or 4).

    Great idea for Christmas gifts. I use a similar idea to personalize popcorn bowls for friends or family members.

  • Kelly - These are fun and I’m glad I’m not the only one who has had ideas of projects I want to do for multiple years. 🙂

    My husband is a big fan of tiramisu and for his first birthday we were dating I made one for him, the first I’d ever made. I proudly stuck candles in the top and when we went to blow them out a HUGE cloud of cocoa blew up and settled over me as I was holding the tiramisu out to him. 🙂 Someone captured a photo. Such a fun memory. Kelly

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  • Jer - I tried this project today and bought the same pen — the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 fine point. I wasn’t able to get it working consistently. It took a really long time for the paint to come out and when it did it was all blobby and the paint wouldn’t come right to the tip of the pen, so I wasn’t able to make any dots… any suggestions for getting the pens started and working consistently?? Thanks…

  • Cari Bella - I think we were separated at birth. I love your ideas!

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  • Kristen Buley - LOVE.IT!

  • Billie - This perfect since I can’t find the dishes i want. I will just make them. Thanks for the info.

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  • cailan - What! Since when did you continue to put out amazing projects into the weekend? You just don’t quit. 🙂 I love it – so pretty.

  • Valerie - I did something similar to these except in an alice in wonderland theme on white tea mugs that I bought at the thrift store. I am not that great of an artist and am not able to freehand it but I instead bought some graphite paper from the art store to help me with this. I taped the graphite parer to my mug (graphite down;) and taped my image over the graphite paper and traced it, this left a light pencil like image on the mug that I was then able to paint over. I didn’t actually use the pen because I found that the tip was too large for my liking so I instead used toothpicks to paint my design on and it worked perfectly! I gave them to my sister and they are her favorite mugs to drink tea out of!

    good luck!

  • KC - Those plates and mugs look great. Just had a question though can you eat out of those plates and mugs???

  • diy blogs | Pearltrees - […] diy {painting on ceramic and porcelain} » In other diy news, my monthly post on Design Aglow will be up sometime today …what my ‘studio’ looked like to get the product shots […]

  • Thiptop - I Love your idea and Work,I wish to do as you too,so inspiring me! Thank U!

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  • danielle - I wanted to stop by and let you know that I featured this on my “What I Bookmarked This Week” post today stop by and see – and grab a button if you’d like.

  • tracy_a - lovely! thanks for making this clear – and thanks for the info about washing/redoing – makes it more likely that I will do it!

  • Nancy - Um, the product information on Dick Blick and the Pebeo site both say that the markers aren’t intended for eating surfaces…

  • Meghan - I love this idea and the way you’ve executed this! However when I’ve looked into doing similar things before on ceramics there’s always a warning on the paints (including the one you link to) that recommends you not use it on the surfaces that directly come in contact with food. For me that includes the little saucer you show cake being eaten on. Just thought I should point that out.

  • truebluemeandyou - You cannot eat off plates or drink out of cups (if your lips come in contact with the design) where the marker is. There is a European product and others other than Pebeo that are food safe. I don’t think people read past the “non-toxic” part of the description. I’ve stopped posting all ceramic tutorials using this marker.

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  • Denise Smith - Do you think i could use these pens to “paint/decorate” my ugly backsplash tiles in the kitchen??? :))))

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  • Marutxi - I love the results and very helpful your blog 🙂 Thank you very much

  • Niru dhar - When you put the porcelain in the oven ,do you put in on BOTH UP AND DOWN heat to bake or JUST the above one only?

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  • Ellise - These are darlin’! I’ll definitely have to try this! Awesome Christmas gifts!

  • im6234 - Sorry ifthis has already been asked or answered but how long does the design last.

  • AshleyAnn - im6234 – Mine designs still look great…

  • Tamar - I have made plate with the outline paint. It is puffy. The paint is food safe so I had figured that people would eat off of the plates. Do you know if there is any sort of clear coating that can go on top of the paint? I’m worried that with cutlery the paint will get chipped off. Your dishes look beautiful, thank you for sharing!!!!

  • I Love Gifting - This is pretty Ashley and it would make for such a lovely gift too.

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  • melody - Hi I have about 20 pounds of china paint in every color you can think of FOR SALE.. My grandma was an art teacher and just passed receantly and I dont want her stuff to go to waste. I dont paint at all. So please if anyone is interested or knows some one who would be please contact me. My name is Melody phone is 801-886-7589 please send the word out. Thanks for reading

  • Jolene - Did you put the design on both sides of the bowl or just one?

  • Brenda Kirk - I found a stack of old meat platters in a box of old wrapped stuff that I found along the road on trash day in Cleveland, Ohio, about 6 years ago. Obviously, They had been packed up for a number of years, and were so covered with dust that the designs were covered up. I decided to take a shot at cleaning them; mostly just to see what they were like. I found one that was badly chipped and had some pretty good “crackling” on it, but the shape was so intriguing that I could almost envision a scene painted on it. I am no artist by any means, but decided to research possible ways to embellish them with some easy, yet decorative designs. I had no idea how or what to use on them, but have run across this page and thought that if it could be done, I should be able to handle it, too. So, I want to thank you for bringing the project a try. I think I should be able to find some suitable paint at the local craft store, so I am now quite anxious to find out if I am talented enough to make it work. Normally, I do things like sewing, making jewelry and have even tried my hand at working copper into designed plaques, but this idea seems quite unusual, and I don’t believe I have ever seen anything done like what I have in mind. Thank you so very much for making the information available to me.
    Hoping for another art form in my life,
    Brenda (BJ) Kirk

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  • Angie - I did all of the steps and I can still chip off the paint..why??

  • necla - harika boyamalar ellerine sa?l?k ashley:)

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  • Tré Cavil - Love the paint on the china. Beautiful accents!

  • Jason - That’s a great idea to spice up your dinner ware.

  • Valerie - Just wondering if you think the little pot of paint is thick enough to cover up an old marketing logo on a mug? Or would the old logo still show a bump through the paint?

  • ray - hi this great stuff
    how do cover a logo on a plate
    i have many plates

  • denise - i want to stencil fleur di lis on white plates.what paint would I use? i want to be able to use them as well as the cups and small plates.does the paint come in a jar ?????yhanks

  • J P Patnaik - There ia requirement for spray paint for porcelain insulators 33 kV out door sub station
    Pl send the catolog if any
    J P Patnaik

  • J P Patnaik - There is requirement for spray paint for porcelain insulators 33 kV out door sub station
    Pl send the catalog if any
    J P Patnaik

  • Teresa Schieckoff - I would like to find stuff go colour with sharpie markers

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