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How to Dry Brush Ceramics With Pastels

Home-made ceramic pieces can be useful items, like vases or ash trays, or can be decorative, like figurines and wall pieces. Making ceramics can be relaxing, and even profitable. One of the best techniques for figurines, whether they are animal or human, is a process called dry brushing. This technique often makes for the most lifelike results.

Choose the type of ceramic to be completed using the dry brush technique and purchase the items needed to complete the project.

Lay down paper on which to work. Lay out the supplies. Put on an apron if you want to project your clothing. Use a mask if you fear allergy to the fine dust generated by the chalk.

Choose the colors to be used on the ceramic piece.

Make chalk dust from each of the pastel colors chosen by scraping it through a fine wire screen. Keep the various colored piles sufficiently separated from one another to avoid mixing them.

Paint on a coat of the dry brush coating. Make sure that it is thick enough to thoroughly cover the ceramic piece. Let the piece dry thoroughly.

Dry brush each individual chalk color on to the ceramic, starting with the smallest area and working toward the largest area. Using a stiff dry brush in the appropriate size for the area to be completed, push the chalk into the ceramic with a back and forth brushing motion. It may take more than one coat to achieve the desired color saturation. If several coats of the pastel chalk do not lead to the desired color, move on to the next deepest color (such as moving from baby blue to medium blue) until the color desired it obtained.

Paint eyes and other remaining detailed areas with chalk dipped in water to make a paint or use a regular ceramic paint. This will allow for a more fine, dark line when required.

Spray the ceramic piece with the acrylic coating of choice (such as clear matte, clear gloss, high gloss, pearlized or opalized) once the piece is fully painted.

Things You'll Need:

  • Ceramic(s)
  • Pastel chalk kit
  • Ceramic paint
  • Fine wire mesh screen
  • Dry brush base coat
  • Stiff brushes
  • Acrylic overcoat
  • Paper
  • Apron


Practice the process on old or small trial ceramic pieces until you get a handle on how it works. Mix dry brushing and regular paints to achieve the desired look. Try different types of finishes like a pearlized or opalized look to make the figurine appear older or softer.


  • Avoid inhaling the fine chalk by wearing a mask. Never try the dry brushing technique with an appropriate base coat. The results will be very pale if the chalk takes at all. Avoid excess handling of the piece before it is painted since the oil from the skin might prevent the chalk from adhering properly.
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