We're obsessed with pottery here at Gathered (no thanks to our favourite craft TV show, The Great Pottery Throwdown) but we know most of us don't have room for a pottery wheel and kiln at home! That's why we love paint at home pottery pieces – you only need a few simple materials but can have hours of fun. If you want to start painting your own pottery then we've got the article for you. We've created a mini-guide to pottery painting including all the materials you'll need as well as 30+ pottery painting ideas to inspire you.


Our pottery painting ideas include everything from magical designs and cheeky illustrations to beautiful patterns so no matter your aesthetic you'll find a style that suits you. Pottery painting is also a great craft for kids, it's the perfect activity for keeping them entertained in the schools holidays. They'll especially love painting their own unicorn mug!

If these pottery painting ideas give you the clay bug then head over to our beginner's guide to pottery and round-up of the best pottery kits to upgrade your skills. First up is pottery painting supplies. Keep reading to find your four pottery painting essentials and 30+ pottery painting ideas.

Pottery painting supplies

Porcelain mugs

Pottery painting supplies mugs

Buy yours now from Amazon

Firstly you need something to try out all our pottery painting ideas on! You can paint all sorts of items (you could upcycle old items too) including mugs, vases, bowls, plates etc and Amazon sell a huge range of ready-to-paint pieces. These little porcelain unicorn mugs are sold individually can be decorated by kids and adults alike. Use acrylic, paint pens, or ceramic paints to give your unicorn a makeover then finish with a layer of varnish. There's plenty of designs available so if unicorns aren't your thing don't worry. There's everything from garden gnomes to sheep plant pots so have a browse and pick your favourite.


Pottery painting supplies ceramic paint

Buy yours now from Amazon

Next up you need paints! Most paints work for pottery painting so if you already have some acrylic paints in your craft stash feel free to use those. However, if you're in the market for some new paints then Amazon has some great kits available. These 12 paints are specifically designed for ceramics and come with three handy brushes. The great thing about ceramic paints is you leave them to dry then bake them in the oven to set. It's a simple process and you can use them on any ceramics you like. If you'd rather pick up acryclic paints then this kit from Crafts 4 all includes 12 different colours.

Paint Pens

Pottery painting supplies paint pens

Buy yours now from Amazon

Alternatively, paint pens are great for pottery painting and much less messy! Paint pens are ideal for kids but they're also good for creating more detailed, intricate designs. Paint pens will work on most pottery pieces, they'll just need to be sealed with varnish when complete. This paint pen pack is from RISTRO and can be used on a variety of surfaces like metal, pottery, terra-cotta, polymer clay, and more. Paint pens are also great for rock painting making them versatile and a great all-rounder in your craft kit.


Pottery painting supplies varnish

Buy yours now from Amazon

Finally, if you want your pottery pieces to have a nice smooth surface then varnish is a must. You can buy a range of different varnishes online and in hardware stores, you just need to decide whether you want your pieces to have a shiny or matte finish. This high gloss varnish from Liquitex will give your designs a professional finish and ensure the colours aren't damaged when in use/being washed.

Easy pottery painting ideas

Geometric pots

Pottery painting ideas geometric pots

Decorate vases, mugs or plant pots with this pretty pastel geometric design by Hobbycraft. They show you how to make these plant pots as well as decorate them!

Doughnut pottery painting

pottery painting ideas doughnuts

Angie Buena has loads of incredible pottery painting ideas on her Pinterest. We love this funky doughnut shape and think it would be super easy to recreate.

Dotted initials

Dotted pottery painting ideas

The Love Nerds have created fun initial mugs using their dotting technique. Make a bunch of ceramic mugs for your friends and family using their free tutorial.

The Lovely Drawer's pottery painting ideas

The Lovely Drawer's pottery painting ideas

The Lovely Drawer has three gorgeous pottery painting ideas on its blog. Recreate your favourite or all three designs on mugs, bowls, plates and more.

Patterned pots

patterned pottery painting ideas

Decorate your plant pots with plenty of patterns and colours for a statement piece!

Japanese inspired pottery painting

pottery painting ideas blue designs

How gorgeous are these pottery painting ideas from Hobbycraft? They show you how to recreate these two Japanese-inspired designs on their blog.

Floral pottery painting ideas

pottery painting ideas

Flowers make everything better even pottery. Add little flowers for a simple design or big flowers for a fun, 70's vibe. Erika Christine creates gorgeous floral pottery pieces so check her website if you'd rather buy your pottery.

Dash and dot designs

Dashes and dot designs pottery painting ideas

Decorate your pottery mugs with colourful dashes and dots like ILoveToCreate has. They have a few different dot and dash pottery painting ideas on their blog.

Happy pottery painting ideas

Smiley face pottery painting ideas

This cheerful design is by 7thHouseCeramics and it's bound to put a smile on your face. Cover your pottery pieces in smiley designs and enjoy the painting experience. Test out this design on our DIY coasters.

Body pottery painting ideas

Female pottery painting ideas
Inspiration: Pinterest

You've probably seen the boob mug trend everywhere but it's great for a cool, quick pottery painting idea. Paint your favourite body parts on your crockery for a cheeky design!

Cat pottery painting ideas

cat pottery painting ideas

Immortalise your feline friends in clay with these cute cat designs. You could make yours look like your own beloved pet!

Leopard print pottery painting ideas

Leopard print pottery painting ideas

Decorate your pottery pieces with your favourite animal prints like Casa Clara has. You could paint zebra stripes, cow print or even a giraffe pattern.

Acrylic paint drip

Acrylic paint drip pottery painting ideas

This pottery painting idea is perfect for creatives, crafters and artists. Copy The Creative Folk's paint drip design for a fun, arty look. Use this technique to make our clay vase DIY.

Brushstroke designs

pottery painting ideas Brushstroke

Brushstrokes designs are simple yet so effective. Hobbycraft shows you how to create these sweet ceramic hearts on their blog but you could use their brushstroke technique on anything. We think ceramic mugs would look especially wonderful covered in brushstrokes.

Eucalyptus pattern

Eucalyptus pottery painting ideas

Lauren Ullrich Art is the queen of pottery painting ideas and we love this eucalyptus design. You can shop Lauren's designs in her shop.

Speckled pottery mug

pottery painting ideas Speckled pottery mug

Tastemade has created a handy video tutorial showing you how to make these DIY speckled mugs. You can also use this speckled technique to make a ring holder out of clay.

Forest pottery painting

Forest pottery painting ideas

Paint a starry sky and peaceful forest onto your pottery with Ryanne Levine's tutorial.

Abstract pottery painting ideas

Abstract pottery painting ideas

Go wild with colour and design and make an abstract print on your mugs. This incredible mug is by Lily Lund Ceramics.

Folk art pottery painting ideas

Folk art pottery painting ideas

Go all cottagecore with your pottery painting and paint toadstools, fairies, and countryside scenes on your pieces. This adorable mug is by Natural Life.

Heart pottery painting ideas

Heart pottery painting ideas

Give your pottery some love with this lovely heart design. It's a simple design but we love how the inside matches with the outside hearts!

Memphis mug painting

Memphis mug painting

Enter my Attic shows you how to make these funky Memphis-inspired mugs over on their blog. Make matching bowls and plates for a full, handmade crockery set. This pattern would look fabulous on our clay salt spoons.

Gingham pottery painting

Gingham pottery painting ideas

2 Cool Y2K has created this unique gingham design and we just love it. Their site is full of modern pottery painting ideas but be warned, you'll want to buy all their pieces!

Cloud pottery painting ideas

Pottery painting ideas Cloud Mug

Paint your pottery with suns, clouds, and weather motifs for a quick but modern design. Round About Ceramics is the creators of this iconic cloud mug that you may have seen all over social media.

Fruity pottery painting ideas

Fruity pottery painting ideas

Paint your five a day and give your pieces a fruity makeover with these pottery painting ideas. We love them as a set but you could recreate your favourite fruit for a one-off design.

Pottery painting ideas for your handles!

pottery painting ideas for your handles!

Don't forget about your handles! Decorate your mug handles and plate edges with this simple design from Southern Crush at Home.

Constellation pottery painting ideas

Constellation pottery painting ideas

Celebrate your birth year by painting your star sign and constellation. These delicate trinket dishes are by Tasha Mckelvey and would make wonderful presents. If you enjoy this design then check out our other constellation crafts here on Gathered.

Fox pottery painting ideas

Fox pottery painting ideas

How cute is Marta Sorte Ceramic's pottery? We love these foxy faces and think they'd make great crockery for kids.

Strawberry pottery painting ideas

Strawberry pottery painting ideas

Cinda Designs summery designs are just adorable. Mini strawberries will make any pottery piece look lovely. Head over to our clay trinket dish DIY for another funky pottery painting idea!

Christmas pottery painting ideas

Christmas pottery painting ideas

Get festive with your pottery painting and make some fancy new plates for Christmas dinner. This retro lightbulb design will give your veggies some extra sparkle!

Feather pottery painting ideas

Feather pottery painting ideas

Cover your pottery pieces in bright and bold feathers for a statement design. They'll make great centrepieces and be the talk of the town. This gorgeous bowl is by Jill Rosenwald.

Magical pottery painting ideas

magical pottery painting ideas

Use M Rainey's plant pot as inspiration and paint a magical scene onto your pieces.

We hope our pottery painting ideas have inspired you to start playing with clay! We have lots of fun clay projects here on Gathered for you to get your hands stuck into. Why not make our air dry clay Christmas decorations or our Christmas star garland?


Looking for a new creative hobby? Check out our amazing free macrame patterns for more inspiration.


Phoebe Burt
Phoebe BurtSEO and Communities Editor, Gathered

Phoebe has worked for Gathered, and our sister magazine Mollie Makes, for 3 years. She manages our Arts & Crafts section and specialises in social media and content strategy. She has a background in all things marketing, a flair for Pinterest and a knack for finding the next big craft trend. Previously she worked as Digital Campaign Executive for Fat Media. You may recognise her name from Mollie Makes Social Media magazine, where she shared her expertise and top tips on becoming social media savvy.

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