Can we use Tempera on Ceramic?

Tempera is an inexpensive water-based craft paint mostly used for children’s art and craft projects. It is non-toxic and has a fast drying time. This paint is mostly used for posters, craft projects, color mixing exercises, theater props, painting windows, and much more, but the best results can be found when used on an absorbent surface. So, can you use Tempera paint on ceramics?

Yes, you can use Tempera paint on ceramic. But you will have a difficult time applying Tempera paint on ceramic. As ceramics do not have an absorbent surface, the paint doesn’t adhere better to the ceramic surface. 

Can we use Tempera on Ceramic

In this article, we will walk you through the whole process of painting Tempera on ceramic, what difficulties you may face, and how to overcome them. 

Tempera paint is best to use on absorbent surfaces such as cardboard, paper, poster boards, and posters. On the other hand, ceramic does not have a paint-absorbent surface. Moreover, the surface is glazy, hard, brittle, and heat-resistant. However, different types of ceramics will react differently to the variety of available paints. 

Characteristics of Tempera Paints

Tempera paints can be used on any project that uses an absorbent surface, such as cardboard, paper, or poster board. However, the paint is not permanent and is not recommended for long-term projects as it will fade over time. 

Tempera paint is washable, has a fast drying time, and has non-toxic pigments. Tempera paint is not permanent. However, using the white of the egg or the yolk with Tempera results in different effects; the mixture is also fast drying but permanent. But that’s for painting on canvas. 

Using Tempera paint on Ceramic: Can you do that? 

Yes, you can use Tempera paint on ceramic. Tempera paint works better on surfaces that can absorb the paint fast. A non-porous surface, such as glass or ceramic, will give you a difficult time adhering the paint better to the surface. 

Using Tempera paint on Ceramic

To improve the adhesion of the paint, you need to give the paint a consistency that will adhere well to greasy surfaces. If you make the paint too thin, the paint will be runny and will peel off the surface. And if the paint is too thick, you won’t be able to spread the paint well. 

However, if you are painting ceramic clay with Tempera paint, you need to water down the paint a little bit so that the paint can reach inside the designs and cracks on the surface. 

Once you apply the paint, soak the clay in the water for two seconds and use a paper towel to remove the paint from the surface. Rub the towel in a circular motion so that you don’t remove the paint from the cracks or design of the clay. Now, you can use the beautiful tempera-painted clay as a pendant for your necklace. 

How To Use Tempera Paint on Ceramics

To paint ceramic with tempera take a watercolor paintbrush. You can use different paper patterns on the surface to art beautiful floral designs, birds, and butterflies.

You need to dampen the paintbrush with water and take a liberal amount of paint in the brush. Apply the paint with even strokes on the surface. You should create a thick edge around the paper pattern. Now, let the paint dry.

To create a further design on the paint, allow the paint to dry. Once the paint dries, you can use the over-painting method to create other decorations as you desire.

You don’t need a primer for Tempera paint, but priming the surface will enhance the adhesion of the paint. As ceramic is non-porous, you can finish the painting by applying two coats. Let the first coat dry before applying the second coat. 

If you don’t expose your Tempera-painted ceramic design to water the paint will last comparatively longer. But for exterior use or exposure to the water will peel off the paint.

Tempera paint will provide a matt finish on the ceramic but you can make the paint shiny if you desire.


What is the best paint to use on ceramics?

Enamel paint, an oil-based paint, is the ideal paint to use on ceramics. Enamel is rather simple to find and has a lovely finish. Enamel paints come in various colors, and after they’ve healed, they won’t flake or scratch off. You can also use artist-grade acrylic paint on ceramic. And as we discussed, you can use non-toxic Tempera paint on ceramics as well.

Can I Use Acrylic Paint on Ceramic?

Yes, though bake-on gloss enamel is the most resilient and functional alternative, acrylic is also a wonderful option if you don’t intend to bake your pottery again after painting. Simply apply acrylic paint to clean greenware, bisque, or glazed pottery that has been sanded and/or coated with acrylic primer.

What Paint to Use On Ceramic Plates?

Only Ceramic Markers are food safe among all the paints we have discussed. Anything that is not food safe is not recommended on plates.

The Bottom Line

The experts do not recommend painting ceramic because tempera paint is not permanent and washes off in exposure to water. But if you want to paint your ceramic with Tempera paint for a decorative purpose that will not be exposed to water, you can use tempera paint. Otherwise, check the lists of types of ceramics and the suitable paint for each type.