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What paint is best for glazed ceramic?

When it comes to painting glazed ceramic, choosing the right type of paint is crucial for getting great results. The smooth, glassy surface of glazed ceramic can be tricky to paint on, and not all paints will adhere properly or deliver the finish you want. Knowing which paints work best on glazed ceramics will ensure your project turns out looking fantastic.

Can you paint on glazed ceramic?

The short answer is yes, you can paint on glazed ceramic. However, not all paints are well-suited for glazed surfaces. The key is using paints specially formulated for ceramics and glazed items. Standard craft acrylics, for example, often won’t bond well to shiny glazed finishes. But there are acrylic, oil-based enamel, and spray paints made for glazed ceramics that will adhere tightly and provide beautiful, lasting results.

What kind of paint sticks to glazed ceramics?

Here are the best options when it comes to paint for glazed ceramics:

  • Ceramic paint – Paints marketed specifically for use on ceramics, porcelain, and glazed surfaces are naturally a great choice. Ceramic paints are often acrylic-based, providing an opaque finish and coverage for glazed items. Leading brands include FolkArt Enamel Ceramic Paint and DecoArt Ceramic Paint.
  • Oil-based enamel paint – Oil-based enamel paints offer superb adhesion and a durable, high-gloss finish perfect for glazed ceramics. Brands like Rust-Oleum provide specialized enamel paints for glass and ceramics.
  • Spray paint – Aerosol spray paints designed for glazed ceramics, glass and plastic offer a quick, easy painting option for glazed items. Krylon Fusion spray paint bonds tightly to glossy surfaces.
  • Model paint – Enamel model paints like Testors work well for painting porcelain and ceramic. Multiple thin coats allow for a smooth finish.

Avoid standard acrylic craft paints, as they often won’t bond strongly to glazed ceramic. Stick with paints specifically made for ceramics and glazed materials to ensure best results.

How to prepare glazed ceramic for painting

Taking a few steps to prepare your glazed ceramic piece before painting will help the paint adhere properly:

  • Wash the ceramic with mild soap and water. Rinse and let dry fully.
  • Lightly scuff the surface with fine sandpaper. This helps the paint grip.
  • Wipe off any residue with a tack cloth.
  • Apply a bonding primer or spray if needed for extra adhesion.

Avoid using wax-based polishes or oils on the ceramic prior to painting, as these create a barrier. Proper cleaning, light scuffing and a bonding agent will get the surface paint-ready.

Painting techniques for glazed ceramics

Here are some tips for flawlessly painting glazed ceramic items:

  • Use a small detail brush for painting tight or intricate areas.
  • Paint in thin, even coats allowing proper drying time between coats.
  • Gently sand between coats for a smooth finish if needed.
  • Work in sections, completing small areas fully before moving on.
  • Allow the paint to cure fully before use (up to 7 days).
  • Finish with a protective sealer spray for added durability.

Avoid painting on thick coats, as this can cause drips, uneven drying and bubbling. Building up the color gradually with multiple thinner layers will provide the best looking, most durable painted finish on glazed items.

Best paint finishes for glazed ceramics

The choices of sheens and finishes are almost endless when painting glazed ceramic pieces. Here are some popular options:

  • Glossy – High gloss enamel paints reflect light like the original glazed surface. Great for a bold, shiny look.
  • Matte – Matte paint hides imperfections and gives a modern, sleek finish.
  • Metallic – Metallic paints create a gleaming, mirror-like effect on ceramics.
  • Chalk – Matte chalk paint gives a trendy cottage look and smooth finish.
  • Frosted – Translucent frosted paint lets the original glaze show through.
  • Textured – Paints with sand or granite particles provide interesting dimensional textures.

Consider the look you want and choose gloss, matte or textured paints accordingly. Metallics, frosted and chalky paints are great for special effects.

Can you use acrylic paint on glazed ceramics?

You can use acrylic paint on glazed ceramics, provided it is specifically designed for ceramics. Standard craft acrylics usually won’t adhere well to glazed materials. But specialty acrylic ceramic paints are formulated to bond tightly and cure hard on glazed ceramics. Leading brands like FolkArt Enamels, DecoArt CeramaCoat and Ceramcoat provide opaque, acrylic paint choices ideal for glazed mugs, vases, figurines and more.

Tips for painting glazed ceramics with acrylics

Follow these tips when using acrylic ceramic paints on glazed items:

  • Clean and lightly sand the glazed surface first
  • Use acrylic bonding primer if needed for extra adhesion
  • Apply paint in thin, even coats allowing drying time between
  • Start with paints formulated for ceramics like CeramaCoat
  • Allow a week to fully cure before use
  • Seal with an acrylic sealer spray for added protection

Acrylic paints made for ceramic let you paint stunning designs on glazed surfaces. Just be sure to prep properly and allow adequate drying and curing time.

Can I use spray paint on glazed ceramics?

Yes, spray paint formulated specifically for glazed ceramics provides a great painting option. Brands like Krylon Fusion are specially designed to bond tightly and permanently on glazed, glass and ceramic surfaces. The ease of application with spray paint is ideal for quickly and evenly coating glazed ceramic pieces.

Tips for spray painting glazed ceramics:

  • Clean and lightly sand the surface first
  • Mask off any areas you don’t want painted
  • Use short, light coats, building up slowly
  • Allow proper drying time between coats
  • Use a primer for maximum adhesion if needed
  • Protect surrounding areas from overspray

With the right spray paint and proper technique, you can create durable, beautiful painted finishes on glazed ceramics.

Can I use chalk paint on glazed ceramics?

Chalk paint, with its matte, velvety finish, can be gorgeous on glazed ceramics. Brands like Annie Sloan chalk paint are specifically designed to adhere well to surfaces like ceramic, glass and metal.

Tips for using chalk paint on glazed items:

  • Clean and scuff the surface lightly first
  • Use chalk paint bonding agent if needed
  • Apply in thin, even coats with a brush or roller
  • Lightly sand between coats for a smooth finish
  • Don’t rush drying time between coats
  • Seal with wax or sealer when fully cured

With proper prep, application and curing time, chalk paint can give glazed ceramics a beautiful, muted, matte painted look.

Should I seal painted glazed ceramics?

Sealing painted glazed ceramics is highly recommended for added protection and durability. Paint can be more susceptible to chipping, peeling or wearing off without a clear sealer top coat. Options include:

  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Acrylic sealing spray
  • Water-based polycrylic
  • Epoxy resin

Apply 2-3 thin, even coats of sealer over fully cured paint. This creates a protective barrier against damage from use or cleaning. For items like mugs, plates or vases, sealing is a must to prevent painted surfaces from wearing away over time.


Painting glazed ceramics opens up wonderful possibilities for customizing mugs, plates, figurines, vases and more. With the right paints and preparation, you can transform shiny glazed surfaces into stunning works of art. Now that you know what paint works best, you can get creative and add beautiful painted finishes to all your favorite glazed ceramic pieces.