Ceramic Bisque Painting Techniques


"Bisque" pottery is any kind of ceramic that has been fired once but not yet glazed or painted. It can then be glazed and fired again for a hard and often glossy finish, or it can be simply painted with water-based acrylic paint and sealed with an overcoat. Many different effects can be achieved with various techniques, paints, stains and glazes.

You'll need

A piece of bisqueware; brushes; glazes or paints of desired colors; clean, well-ventilated work area; clothing protection. Choose the type of glaze or paint suitable to the decoration you want. Some glazes are no-fire, and others require firing in a kiln. Your supplier will be able to advise you on these.

First steps

Some of these steps are common to all types of glazes and paints. First you sand the piece lightly with fine emery paper, then dust off the piece with a clean cloth. With a soft pencil, lightly sketch in your design. Don't press too hard; the surface is still soft enough to be permanently scored.

No-fire glazed

Before sketching your design, seal the porous piece with fixative, then let dry. Using no-fire glazes, paint your design as you would on a canvas, mixing the colors to achieve the desired shades and highlights. It is recommended to have one design as a focal point on the piece. According to Design Decoration, "Painting [is] a blending and application of colors covering a whole area. Decoration on the other hand is choosing a portion of a design and applying it to a piece as a feature" (see Reference 1). In this technique, the finished piece is not meant to be used to hold food.


Be certain your glaze is compatible with the clay used in your bisqueware. This can effect the colors of your glazes in surprising and unpleasant ways. Never fire glazed bisque in a kiln with greenware. Fumes from the greenware will also effect the colors of your glazes. You'll want to fire these at different temperatures in any case. There is also the danger of an accidental air pocket in a piece of greenware causing the piece to explode and throw chunks onto the glazed pieces, ruining them. If you mix glazes, be sure they are chemically compatible. Remember, the finished surface after firing will be, literally, glass. Consider the thickness of your glaze when you apply it.

Keywords: glazing pottery, painting bisqueware, acrylic bisqueware painting

About this Author

Julianne Ross has been writing since 1994. First as a journalist for the Hendersonville Star News, and "Starlog Magazine" writing actor interviews. She sold her first novel in 1999, and since then has written and sold the rights to more than a dozen historicals and historical fantasies. She holds an Associate of Arts in theatre art.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | Ceramic Bisque Painting Techniques