Can You Spray Paint Ceramic?


Last updated: August 2, 2023

Learn the Techniques You Can Use to Spray Paint your Ceramic Products in this detailed Pro Painters Guide

Can you spray paint ceramic?

We are bound to have ceramic items lying somewhere in our homes. In some cases, these items have been stored away and will require a little touch of paint to give them a new lease of life.

We all know how easy and time-efficient spray painting can be. However, can ceramics be spray painted? And, if you love DIY projects, you are probably contemplating how you can do this on your own. 

Good news! This post will take you through a simple step-by-step process I take when spray painting ceramics.

Can You Spray Paint Ceramic?

You can spray paint ceramic items. Not only is spray painting cost-effective, but it also provides an easy and quick way to spruce your items. The best part is that many options are available when looking for the best spray paint for ceramics.

What paint adheres properly to ceramic?

There are a few options available for painting ceramic pots, tiles, or other items. These include gloss enamel, acrylic spray paints, and ceramic markers. 

Ceramic markers are specifically designed with a spring-loaded nib to make painting easy. They come in various colors, require baking, and are food safe.

Gloss enamel paints may also require baking. However, they are not food safe.

The best spray paint for ceramics is acrylic spray paint. The paints are easy to apply and are readily available in local hardware and retail stores.

Acrylic paints adhere properly to ceramic items, and the good thing is that they do not require any baking. However, these spray paints are not food safe and should not be used on ceramic items that will be in contact with food.

With proper prep work, you can use other paints like epoxy and latex spray paints. However, I still recommend acrylic over these options since they are water-based and have fewer chemicals. You can read through our post about the best acrylic spray paints in the market to choose the one fitting your needs.

What type of prep work do you need to do before you spray paint ceramics?

Like with all paint projects, spray painting ceramics will require you to do some prep work on the items to be painted.

I recommend taking the time necessary to do prepping as this will greatly affect the painting process and the final look of your painted ceramics.

The prep work I usually do on ceramics before panting includes:

  • Cleaning.
  • Sanding.
  • Priming.

I will outline how to carry out each prep task in the relevant section when detailing the painting process later in the post.

What types of paint finishes can be used on ceramics?

While you might not be spoilt for choice regarding the type of finishes when painting ceramic objects like other materials, there are enough options to choose that fit your needs.

In most cases, before you choose a finish, it is important to think about the item you would be painting and the look you want. Doing this, rather than doing the “trial and error” way, makes choosing a finish much easier.

You can use clear sealer paint to make the paint job on your ceramic pop out for topcoat finishing.

A glaze finish is most suitable if you want a more ceramic-like look.

Epoxy and enamel gloss finishes can also be a good option. However, they may require more attention to detail.

When painting a ceramic item that will be exposed to the elements, ensure you choose a finish suited to outdoor use, UV-resistant, and waterproof.

Spray Painting ceramic items: Step-by-step process

Before you start spray painting, there are a few materials and supplies you should have at your disposal. 

Supplies needed.

  • Painter’s tape.
  • Drop cloth or newspaper.
  • Sanding paper (200 and 400 grit sandpaper).
  • Cleaning supplies.
  • Blower (a small one is fine)- this is optional.
  • Protective gear.
  • A tiny brush (a toothbrush can do).
  • Your paint (and primer if you are not using a 2-in-1 spray paint).
  • Any other supplies.

Step 1: Cleaning the ceramic item

Cleaning is essential, especially if the ceramic pieces you are painting were stored away for a long time or have been heavily used.

You can use soapy water to clean the ceramic item. Ensure you clean all the dirt and grime from your ceramic. Here, I prefer using a toothbrush to clean the item’s nooks, crannies, and other harder-to-reach parts.

After thoroughly cleaning, wipe down the item using a clean drop cloth or newspaper. 

Let the item dry before moving to the next step. You can also use the blower to air dry the item – what else would I use mine for?

Step 2: Sanding the ceramic

If you want a good finished look, take the time to sand the ceramic. 

Sanding will give you a smooth surface to work with. It also makes any primer or paint you apply to the surface adhere properly.

You should start sanding with the 200-grit sandpaper. A trick I learned is to immerse the ceramic in water when sanding – this helps give you a smoother surface.

Blow the item to remove any sanding dust if you sanded without water. If you use water, rinse the ceramic before wiping and blowing it dry.

Step 3: Preparing the work area

After the ceramic item is dry, you can place it centrally on a drop cloth or newspaper.

If painting outside, ensure you are in an open area and not close to any living things, as the fumes can cause health hazards. I prefer using a pop-up tent to limit the spread of the fumes.

When painting inside, ensure that the area has good airflow.

Step 4: Safety gear

While most people tend to think that safety gear is not important, especially when spray painting outside, I have to disagree.

Can you spray paint ceramic

Even though you can spray paint ceramic pots or other items quickly, protecting yourself from paint fumes is still important.

Ensure you put on safety gear and ascertain that it works properly particularly your respirator mask and goggles.

Step 5: Priming the ceramic

Use the painter’s tape to cover any part you do not want paint on. You can use stencils instead of tape for complex patterns.

You should use a primer if you do not want to use too much spray paint. This is especially true with unpainted ceramics, which absorb much more paint than previously painted ones.

Start by evenly applying a light coat of primer paint across your item’s surface, then let it dry. 

Once dry, inspect the first coat to see if it is enough. If it is, you can move to the next step.

However, if it is not, you should gently sand using the 400-grit sandpaper – remember, the goal here is not to completely remove the primer coat but rather roughen it up so you can apply another light coat.

Apply the second coat of primer and let it dry completely before going to the next step.

If you are using a 2-in-1 paint, that is, a spray that is both a primer and paint, you can skip the priming step altogether.

Step 6: Spray painting the ceramic

Before you start spraying, it is essential to shake the paint can well – about 1 to 2 minutes is alright.

Also, check for any clogs in the spraying mechanism of the can. This tends to happen with paints that have been used before and were not properly cleaned after use. Clogs will affect the outflow of paint and make it hard to get an even coat when painting.

Now, you can hold your spray 8 to 10 inches from the item and start spray painting. 

If possible, spray paint the entire ceramic piece in one sweeping motion without stopping. This is easily done if the item is small.

The objective is to avoid the “spray and stop” tendency leading to patches where some areas have more paint than others.

You should spread an even coat of spray paint on your ceramic piece – using a thin coat will greatly help and make this easier.

Avoid touching the item when moving it around to paint other areas. You can move or rotate the cloth or newspaper on which you placed the item to spray all the areas you want.

Low the paint to dry before applying the next one. This should take little time, particularly if you are using acrylic spray paint. It should only take 5 to 10 minutes before you can apply another layer of paint.

Afterward, give the painted ceramic piece enough time to dry completely. I usually leave my painted pieces for 3 hours to a day for the paint to properly cure before using them or applying any finishes.

Step 7: Finishing touches (optional)

If you want to apply a particular finish, ensure it is compatible with the paint you used. You can use the same process as above to apply the finish.

Keep in mind that less is more when doing finishes. Apply a thin finishing coat on top of your ceramic coat spray paint and let it dry.

Step 8: Clean up.

Ensure you clean the spray paint can if some paint is left. Otherwise, follow the recommended steps outlined by the manufacturer when disposing of it.

Remove the cloth or any other materials you used and clean any paint spots that might have dropped to the ground. 

How long will painted ceramics take to dry completely?

If you use acrylic spray paint, it can dry to the touch in 5-10 minutes. However, I recommend giving it up to a day to dry completely and cure before you use the ceramic. 

You should leave the painted ceramic in a well-aerated place if you want it to dry quicker.

Best Spray Paint for Ceramic Pot

Rustoleum Painter’s Touch 

This oil-based spray paint is an excellent option for priming unglazed ceramic pot surfaces. It provides a great ceramic coating spray paint cover to paint on.

Rustoleum Painter’s Touch comes in a 12-ounce can and dries to touch in just 20 minutes after application.

Rustoleum Chalked Spray Paint 

If you want to give your pots a nice and smooth chalky finish, then you can never go wrong with Rustoleum Chalked Spray Paint.

This fast-drying chalk paint is easy to apply and has good adhesion for ceramics. It comes also comes in 12-ounce cans and is available in various colors.

Krylon Acrylic Paint 

Krylon Acrylic Paint is a go-to choice for spray painting glazed ceramics and items. This acrylic paint is not only smudge-proof but also moisture-resistant. 

Buyers have an option between 6-ounce and 11-ounce cans when purchasing spray paint. 

It is perfect if you want a clear and glossy finish for your ceramic piece.

Can you spray paint ceramic tile?

Yes, you can use spray paint on ceramic tiles. Most spray paint can stick to ceramic materials, but you should ensure ceramic is listed as a surface where the paint can be used – just to be sure.

Additionally, to improve how well the paint sticks to the ceramic tile surface, you should clean, sand, and prime before applying the paint.

FAQs – Can You Spray Paint Ceramic?

What type of paint can stick to ceramic surfaces?

Acrylic paint is the best ceramic paint because it not only sticks well to ceramic surfaces but also dries out quickly. The coat of paint usually takes up to 10 minutes to dry to touch.

However, priming and sanding the surface will help the paint stick even better.

How long does it take spray painted ceramics to dry?

If you are using acrylic spray paint, it can dry to the touch in 5-10 minutes. However, please give it up to a day to dry completely and cure before you use the ceramic item. 

You should leave the painted ceramic in a well-aerated place if you want it to dry quicker.

Is Rustoleum spray paint good for ceramic items?

Yes, Rust Oleum spray paint can be used on ceramic surfaces. Good products from the manufacturer that you can use on ceramics are the Rustoleum Painter’s Touch and Rustoleum Chalked spray paints.

Both these paints are available in different colors and finishes.

Can I spray paint my ceramic pots?

You can use spray paint on different items, including ceramic pieces. Acrylic is the best option for spray paint for ceramic pots because it will adhere well. 

When painting your pots, you can use acrylic spray paints from reputable manufacturers such as Krylon and Rustoleum.

Can you paint over glossy ceramic?

Yes, glossy ceramics can be spray painted. However, first, you must sand the surface to remove the gloss or glaze.

Doing this will rough up the surface of glazed ceramics and make it easy for the paint to stick. You would also have to apply several thin coats of paint to get a good finish.

What is the best way of spray painting ceramic items?

First, you have to clean the ceramics and then sand them using higher-grit sandpaper (I prefer 200-grit and 400-grit sandpapers). 

You would then prime the ceramic before applying multiple light coats of spray paint.

Content Summary

Spray paint is a quick and easy way to give your ceramic piece a new look. However, one must carry out proper prepping before painting to get the best-finished look.

Cleaning, sanding, and priming the ceramics will make the entire spray painting process quicker and easier. Furthermore, spray paints give your ceramics a professional-looking finish.

Do you have any ceramics that need a facelift? Well, spray painting will definitely do the trick. Just follow the spray painting tips above, and you will be good to go!

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