How to paint pottery and about painting porcelain

The joys of painting on pottery and porcelain

Christine Cunanan Travelife Magazine The Frequent Flier

I first got an inkling about the joys of painting on pottery and porcelain during my last visit to beautiful Hungary. There were two particular instances, in fact.

In the city of Pecs, I visited the Zsolnay Museum that’s houses in the oldest building in the city. The museum exhibits some of the best works from the Zsolnay factory between 1850 and 1914.


The Zsolnay factory was once one of the greatest porcelain manufacturers in Europe. Its works once graced the homes and palaces of the good and the great of the world.

Unfortunately, in 1914 the Zsolnay factory was forced to move into mass production to survive. It did not recover its fortunes until about a decade ago, when a new owner sought to revive the grandeur of Zsolnay.

At the Zsolnay Museum in Pecs
At the Zsolnay Museum in Pecs

The works at this museum left me breathless, and immediately I became a fan of fine handprinted porcelain.


Then in the smaller town of Szombathely in beautiful Hungary, we chanced upon the annual carnival in the town square. The carnival included dozens of booths devoted to beautiful handpainted pottery created by the towns people. I fell in love with country-style handpainted pottery on the spot.


Last Saturday, looking for something relaxing to do after four very happy but hectic months traveling around the world, a friend and I found a store that displayed various ceramic pieces.

We discovered that we could buy the ceramic pieces we wanted, and then we could paint them using the paints on-hand in the store. For a small fee, the store offered us the paints to use and also they would fire the pottery to glaze them properly.


That certainly sounded like a plan. We immediately signed up and set down to the business of choosing which ceramics we wanted. I was sure I wanted to paint something large and useful, so I chose a very large plate. I figured I could use the large plate for serving at dinner parties.

Well, painting such a large piece was more difficult than I thought. It certainly took longer to do so. But it was also very relaxing to just lose myself in the act of painting a ceramic piece. It was so nice that I didn’t have to think of anything else but my paintbrush, my palette of paints, and the big plate in front of it.


I spent the whole afternoon painting the plate. But still I wasn’t finished. So the next afternoon, I returned to spend another four hours hard at work to create a plate with an original design.

I don’t know how exactly my plate will turn out because I just finished it and gave it to the staff for firing. I am supposed to get it back in two or three weeks’ time. In the meantime. I am waiting excitedly for the finished product.

Read more about Zsolnay porcelain of Hungary here


I’m also planning to paint the rest of my original dining table set. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an entire dining table set with an original design that absolutely no one else in the world has?

But I guess I’m getting way ahead of myself. I should first make sure my very first attempt at painting pottery passes the test.

Read more about our wonderful adventures in Hungary in Travelife Magazine.