do it yourself

Tutorial: Etch Your Sketch


The walls and shelves of our store are filled with hand painted creations. Year after year, we add to the collection, learning and discovering new ways to bring our ideas to life. So often, our lovely customers walk through our doors, see something they love, and say “I wish I could paint like that.” Well, you can! And we are going to help you with tutorials that cover our most often used design techniques. From stamps and stencils to contact paper and paint pens, we are going to divulge our secrets and help you become the artist you truly are. First up is…


Etching is probably the best trick to have in your treasure chest of painting techniques. Each of our artists uses etching because it’s easy, but looks lovely and polished. So what is etching? Etching is scraping off paint to leave a clean, white design on your pottery. It is especially helpful for writing or stenciling when using a dark background color, such as navy blue, brown, or black. Let’s get started.

1: Find the piece of pottery you want to paint, clean it with a damp sponge, and the paint the surface with one solid coat of white paint. This will protect the surface of your pottery from getting stained by the main color.

2: Give your pottery a quick blow dry, then paint it 4 solid coats of the color of your choice. Use the blow dryer in between coats to ensure the coats of paint are nice and even.

3: Choose the design you want to etch onto your pottery. Whether it’s a quote, a stencil, or something adorable you found on Pinterest, use a pencil to sketch your design onto the paint surface. (The pencil will burn off and disappear in the kiln, but for now it will serve as a guide for you to etch.)

4: Pick up your etching tool and get to work! We use toothpicks, because they give you super fine lines and are easy to handle. Carefully follow your pencil lines with the tip of the toothpick and scratch away at the paint until you get to the ceramic surface, which will reveal a clean, white line. Continue etching until uncover your design! When you’re finished, use a dry paintbrush to brush away any loose paint shavings and leave the surface smooth and ready to be glazed.

BONUS: etching is great for cleaning up lines when paint ends up in a place you didn’t want it. Just blow it dry and scratch it off.

And there you have it! Four quick tips to etching your designs. Pretty simple, right? Head into the store and give it a go. And we are always there to help out in a pinch and answer any questions you have. See you soon!

All you need to know about Olympia's one stop, paint until you drop, holiday fun shop!

This is our 18th year bringing holiday cheer to our wonderful friends and loyal customers. We love this time of year! We are blessed to see many familiar faces and to meet our new comers! The phone has been ringing off the hook and we are noticing a lot of the same questions being asked... 

1-Can I make a reservation??

YES, we accept reservations! If you are coming in and you would like a guaranteed spot, CALL US! (360) 705-2103. We are able to accompany most group sizes and we do our best to get all our painters in!

If our studio is packed and we have a walk in group, we will take your phone number, send you off to our favorite downtown stores to browse and give you a call the second we have a spot available for you!

We are available to host large groups during specific dates and times, call for deposit information (which goes towards the price of the pieces you paint. We only charge a studio rental fee if we are opening early or staying late for your group). The Painted Plate is the perfect place to throw a party... baby shower, office holiday party, birthday party or just a fun get together! Think of us when you think of parties! We are able to help you create a one of a kind memory with you and your friends!

2-How expensive is it??

We like to equate an experience at our studio with that of going out to a movie, or going bowling...except you wind up with a one of a kind piece of art to keep or give as a gift...! Our prices range from $6 up to $65.

Plates start at $14 and go up to $36, while a gorgeous large platter ranges from $30-$65, ornaments are $8 each or 4/ $30, our huge bulb ornaments are $12 each (perfect for handprints!), kids figurines/banks/boxes range from $10-$30, mugs go from $18-$26...we have a GIANT selection and we are constantly finding new fun items and design ideas! You really need to see our wall of pottery to grasp how many options there are available to choose from!

3-What are your hours??

We have new extended holiday hours Mon-Thurs 10am-9pm, Fri and Sat 10am-11pm and Sundays 11am-7pm.

4-Do you have food and drinks available?? 

We sell several delicious appetizer platters (from 4.50 - 6.50) and large party platter for $20. We have wonderful holiday beverages for sale, egg nog-chai, peppermint mochas, spiced apple cider, as well as an assortment of wine, hard cider and Stella Artois beer (all in the $3-$6 range).

5-How do kids parties work??

The cost for a kids party is based on the number of painters. We have several different options, the basics are $12/child or $15/child (party pricing is for groups of 8+ painters). The kids arrive and we usually allow a little time for them to all settle and chit chat. We then show them the awesome items they can choose from (animal figurines, mug, plate, bowl, ornaments, etc). Once the kids choose their items we give painting instructions and then set them loose on their art. Once they have finished we organize everything for you (even bag it all together for easy pick up), clean up and you are welcome to serve treats and open presents. We offer ice cream or Italian sodas for $2 per painter when you are doing one of the packages. We also serve kids appetizer group platters for $20 (serves up to 5). The pieces are ready to be picked up in 5 days! If a parent or sibling would like to paint during your party (and we have the space) they are welcome to paint anything in the store at 10% off!  

6-Not able to make it in before Christmas??

NO PROBLEM!! We sell Painted Plate gift certificates in any price increment you wish. These are able to be used just like cash in our store and make the PERFECT stocking stuffer!!! Buy a gift certificate for Mom to have a girls night out, for Dad to have a fun day out with his kids, for a special person who loves to be creative...and you are struggling to find the perfect gift for! The studio inspires the artist within each of us and EVERYONE can find something fun to paint. Our staff has an amazing amount of knowledge about pottery painting and we love to help our customers create one of a kind pieces.

7-How do I become a frequent painter member??

It is easy, just come in to paint and when you are filling out your paperwork, our staff will show you the simple process, register by phone number or email. We are able to send our VIP's special coupons and discounts. Every time you come in to paint, check into our system and on your 6th check-in you get to pick a free item to paint (we have a great selection of signature pieces to choose from).

8-What if I don't think I am an artist??

Do not underestimate the appeal of stripes and polka dots!! We have a bunch of fun techniques that ANYONE can use to wind up LOVING their pottery...Come check us out!! Ask about our addiction to contact paper stencils and the wonders of a white background!