How to Paint Bisqueware

By Charong Chow
Paint bisqueware with acrylic paint or underglaze.

Bisqueware is clay pottery that has been fired in a kiln or pottery oven. It gives strength to dried clay, called greenware, and it is ready to be painted or glazed. It is light tan in color, and it is the kind of ceramic that do-it-yourself pottery-decorating stores carry. You can use acrylic paint on bisqueware, or you can paint it with an underglaze to fire in a kiln again. The advantage of using an underglaze and glaze is that the bisqueware becomes food safe and able to hold water.

Pour the paint colors you want for your project into small plastic cups. Decide on acrylic paint or underglaze. If you use acrylic paint, your project will be completed more quickly, since it would not need to be fired in a kiln again. Underglazes and glazes have a shinier and smoother look.

Practice sketching a design for your bisqueware with pencil and paper. Once you finish the drawing on paper, use the pencil to sketch the design onto the pottery before applying the paint.

Paint the bisqueware with brushes and paint. If you are using acrylic paint, wait until it dries before adding a second coat. If it you are using an underglaze, wait until it dries before adding a clear glaze.

If you have a home kiln, fire the bisqueware after the glaze dries. This will increase the strength of the bisqueware, and it will become food safe and able to hold water. If you do not have a home kiln, take the bisqueware to a professional pottery studio, university art department or art store to have it fired.

Tip

Underglazes are actually made from clay material, and the colors sometimes do not look the same after they are fired in the kiln. Use the color on the bottle as a guide to what it will look like after it is fired.

About the Author

Charong Chow has been writing professionally since 1995. Her work has appeared in magazines such as "Zing" and "Ocean Drive." Chow graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. She also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.