painting tutorial

Like It. Love It. Paint It!

We have a lot of pieces in the store that we love. Our employees work hard to create amazing works of art for your inspiration. One of the most popular pieces--for our employees and our customers--is this amazing bird and branches platter! Perfect for any occasion, whether it's serving a lovely holiday dish or hanging on your wall, this is a one of a kind, show-stopping piece of art.

And we are going to show you how to make it!

This design is great because it is simple to create but looks polished and gorgeous when it's finished.

Step 1: Choose Your Pottery

Select the piece of pottery you want to paint and clean it off with water and a sponge. When choosing your pottery, we recommend going with a plate or platter for beginners. Flat pieces are easier to paint more intricate designs on when you're first starting out!

Step 2: Design

Sketch out your design with pencil. This is where you get to decide how simple or intricate the design is. If you want more branches and leaves and fewer birds, you can make that happen. And don't worry about messing up with the pencil! All pencil marks are going to disappear when we fire your pottery in the kiln.

Not confident in your drawing skills? Not to worry. You can always trace or stencil the design onto your plate/platter using our plate and stencils as a guide. All it takes is tracing paper and a sharpie. We can walk you through the rest!

Step 3: Paint

There are two options when it comes to painting your design.

A. You can use our standard black paint and do 4 coats, using our special paint pens for the finer branch details.

Or, B: You can use our employee-preferred one-coat black paint and a fine tip brush. The best part about the one-coat black is that you only have to go over the pencil with one coat of paint instead of 4. Plus, the lines will look much more clean and crisp. (This is what was used in the images above.)

Worried about not being able to keep your hand steady? Not a problem! With this design and the roughness of the branches, the less straight the line, the more realistic it will be. Follow the outline of the branches, leaves, and bird first, then fill them in.

After you've finished creating you're amazing plate or platter, we'll glaze and fire it for you! Just come back five days later for pick up. Don't finish it in one sitting? Just let an employee know that you need to come back later to finish it up and we'll take care of that for you.

Call us today 360-705-2103 to make a reservation!

When you arrive, let us know you want to make the black and white bird platter and we'll get you all set up with instructions and the right supplies.

Tutorial: Paint & Peel

Today we’re going to introduce you to one of our favorite, go-to painting tools: contact paper. We absolutely LOVE contact paper here at the Painted Plate, because it lets get creative and crafty with the designs we want to bring to life on our pottery. Plus, it is simple and easy to use! Nothing beats that combination. So…

C O N T A C T  P A P E R

The best way to describe contact paper is that it is a sticker you make for yourself. You can cut it out into any design you want and it’s great for keeping pieces of your pottery white and unpainted so you can go back and fill in the design later. It can even be used if you want a really dark background color, but also want to use lighter colors in your design. This tool is great for mugs, plates, bowls, and tiles. Let’s get started!

1: Find the piece of pottery you love and clean it with a damp sponge to give yourself a nice, clean painting surface. Doing this first gives the pottery some time to dry while you decide what design you want to paint. A dry surface means the contact paper will stick so much better.

2: Grab some contact paper from our supply drawers, a pair of scissors, and a pen. Take your time and decide what shapes or letters or pattern you want to paint. You can use any of our stencils, wood templates, or stamps so you don’t have to freehand something :)

3: Carefully draw/trace your design onto the contact paper and cut it out. Now you have your very own, handmade sticker! All you have to do is peel off the back of the sticker and carefully stick it onto your clean pottery surface.

4: Choose the color you like most and paint 4 solid coats onto your pottery. Use the blow dryer in between coats to speed up the drying time and make the coats nice and even.

5: After you’ve finished painting all 4 coats, it’s time to peel off the contact paper! Find a small pin in the supply drawers (or ask someone in a blue apron!), poke the pin into the center of the contact paper, and lift it away from the pottery. As you peel of the contact paper, you’ll uncover a nice white, unpainted surface.

6: When you’ve peeled off all the contact paper, you can use a toothpick or Q-tip to tidy up the edges in case a little paint seeped underneath the contact paper during painting.

And then you’re all finished! If you want, you can fill in the white space with another color using a fine tip brush or our paint pens, or you can leave it white. It’s all up to you as the artist :)

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!