China painting, also known as porcelain art, involves applying multiple layers of specialized paint to a clear glazed piece of porcelain, typically a teacup, plate or tile. Before embarking on a china painting project, it is helpful, but not necessary, to have some painting experience. You will also need access to a kiln. If you are not familiar with using a kiln, many ceramic schools or ceramic suppliers that offer classes will fire your pieces for you for a fee.
China paints can be purchased at local ceramic stores or online. China paints are known as overglazes, which means that they are applied and fired on top of another glaze. China glazes are fired at a lower temperature than other glazes, usually at a temperature of 1200 F degrees. China paints generally come in powder form, which must be mixed with a special type of oil that is purchased along with the paint. Place the powder and the oil are on a smooth surface, such as glass, and blend with a palette knife. The consistency should be like yogurt. You can also buy premixed china paints.
Choose a simple design when you begin china painting, such as a simple flower and leaf. China paints are translucent, so you'll have to apply multiple layers of color to achieve a deep color. Begin by applying a thin layer of china paint to the design on your item. Fire the piece in the kiln at the desired temperature, usually 1200 degrees F. Once the piece has been fired and then cooled, the piece is removed from the kiln. Evaluate the piece and determine where you want the colors to be more intense. Add another thin layer of paint and fire again. Repeat until the desired effect is achieved.
Finish your piece by adding lusters. Lusters come in a large variety, including gold, silver and mother of pearl. When applying a luster, make sure your brush is clean and dry before using. Make sure the luster has dried before firing at the recommended setting from the manufacturer.