What Is Ceramic Paint?

N. Phipps

Ceramic paint is commonly used in and around the home. It is considered a healthier paint alternative than other traditional types of paint. This type of paint offers more protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays and is engineered to last for many years. Ceramic paints are also safe enough to use around children.

Ceramic paint gives items a glossy finish when fired in a kiln.
Ceramic paint gives items a glossy finish when fired in a kiln.

Because it is considered more durable than regular paint, ceramic paint is often more costly. Despite this minor disadvantage, there are many benefits associated with the use of ceramic-based paints. For instance, these paints create thicker, smoother coats and are easier to clean than traditional paints. In fact, they can withstand scrubbing without losing their finish.

Ceramic paints often contain clay, talc or chalk.
Ceramic paints often contain clay, talc or chalk.

Ceramic paint contains ceramic microspheres, or beads, and uses these ceramic beads as pigment extenders. Traditional pigment extenders are made from organic materials such as clay, talc, and chalk. The downside to using this type of paint is the jaggedness within the organic material, which often results in a rougher finish.

The beads in ceramic-based paint, however, are small and pack closer together, resulting in a smoother finish. Furthermore, it enables the paint to withstand the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. Traditional paints are also more difficult to clean and are prone to stains that may harbor dirt, smoke film, and odors. With ceramic-based paint, these problems are significantly reduced.

Ceramic-based paint for the home should not be confused with that used to paint pottery, as with ceramics. Ceramic painting has been around for thousands of years. In fact, the word "ceramic" comes from the Greek word for pottery. Throughout history, ceramic painting was viewed as an efficient way to decorate both the inside and outside of a building. It was used on walls, ceilings, floors, and murals.

Ceramics, as objects of art, were used for décor as well. This type of ceramic painting is a popular hobby among artists and crafters. Some different approaches can be taken when painting ceramics. Ceramic pieces can be painted with one color or a variety of colors. They can be simple or very detailed.

Ceramic paint supplies are readily available through ceramic and craft stores as well as many home improvement centers. Ceramic bisque is clay, such as porcelain, earthenware, and stoneware, that has been fired once but is left unfinished. Bisque pieces can be painted using various techniques. Choosing a ceramic-based paint application generally depends on the desired effect.

An underglaze ceramic paint is often applied to the bisque and then fired in a kiln. Overglazes are ceramic-based paints that are applied to previously fired pieces which are then re-fired. A stain is often applied to pieces that have already been fired and glazed. Water-based acrylic paints can be applied to a ceramic piece without being fired in a kiln; however, these generally require a coat of base primer beforehand.

Ceramic paint is safe to use around children.
Ceramic paint is safe to use around children.

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Discussion Comments


I have never heard of ceramic paint for the home, but it sounds like a good alternative to regular types of paints. I'm glad I found this article. I'm going to see if my local home improvement store carries this type of paint before my next home painting project.

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