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How to Spray Paint Ceramic Items

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The easiest way to change anything in your home including glazed ceramics is with paint, but when you use spray paint, it is even easier to create a perfect new color and finish on a ceramics and decorative item in your home in minutes.

Go bold or pastel. Choose matte or shiny… you are the now the designer of the item. Transform it to fit your needs and decorating style.

Do you have a lamp that you no longer longer like the color? Spray paint it! How about updating any decorative item in your home that no longer speaks to you because of its color, but you like the object itself, the shape or its use?

In less than 10 minutes, you can easily change the color of practically any item you own without having to leave home.

Can You Spray Paint Ceramic Items Like Planters?

Yes, you can spray paint ceramics like the Italian style glazed ceramic planter shown below or any ceramic item. Spray paint comes in many formulas and sheens so you also have many options besides color to choose from.

What Paint Will Stick to Glazed Ceramics?

Paint will stick to glazed ceramics as long as you prep the piece before painting. With the right prep work any paint will stick following these spray painting steps.

  1. Sand surface with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface to provide some tooth for the primer and paint to stick to. Wash and let dry.
  2. Use a spray primer first or use a Primer+Paint spray paint formula in one. Shake the can well and apply one light coat. Let dry.
  3. Next shake the spray paint can and apply one even coat, let dry for about 5-8 minutes and then add another light coat, let dry.
  4. If using a gloss or semi-gloss paint, there is no need to seal.
  5. If you want to seal your item – use Minwax Polycrylic in a spray formula.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Ceramic?

To get a nice smooth and even painted finish when painting ceramics, it is best to use spray paint. Brush-on paint will show brushstrokes and the finish and the coats will look uneven.

Choose spray paint in a gloss or semi-gloss finish. Most major spray paint brands like Rustoleum, Krylon, Valspar, and others come in all sheen finishes.

BEFORE: Glazed Ceramic Planter

Can I Paint Glazed Ceramics like this planter.

I bought this planter for it’s size and shape, not for its existing painted design and color.

I knew from the beginning I would be changing it with a can of spray paint to look like this…

White terracotta ceramic glazed planter vase being placed on a coffee table
Photo credit: Studio McGee

…large big bowl style white planter.

Ever since I saw this planter, I have been looking for affordable planters in the similar size and shape and have not been able to find one.

AFTER: White Spray Painted Glazed Ceramic Planter

White spray painted planter filled with white hydrangeas on coffee table

Now with a half can of spray paint, I have something like it for my own coffee table for 1/4 of the price.

Where to find: Moss Spheres | Glass Slab Coasters | Faux White Hydrangeas

With a can of spray primer, spray paint or a combo of the two in a spray paint is all you need and a drop cloth like a flattened cardboard box to transform an item.

If you don’t have spray paint on hand, it can be found and ordered at many online retailers for delivery right to your front door from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Target and Michaels.

Before and After Planter Makeover

When spray painting any item, here are a few easy steps to make sure you get a very smooth finish no matter what brand of spray paint and primer you use.

How to Spray Paint a Glazed or Ceramic Item

Ceramic planter getting prepped before painting with sandpaper

supplies needed:

  • Spray primer, spray paint or paint + primer in one spray paint formula
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Face mask

Time needed: 10 minutes.

How to Spray Paint Glazed or Ceramic Items

  1. How Should You Prep Before Painting a Glazed or Ceramic Item?


    To prep the surface for spray paint on a glazed or a ceramic item, first go over the entire surface of the item with 100 grit sandpaper.

    Apply enough pressure to remove some of the sheen, but not too hard that you make deep scratch marks.

    How to get the perfect finish when spray painting ceramics.

  2. Clean the Surface Well


    Clean the sanded surface well with hot water and detergent to remove the sanding grit and any dirt or grease. Rinse well, let dry.

  3. Mask Off Areas


    If you don’t want certain areas to get painted, mask them off using Painter’s tape and scrap paper.
    How you should prep a ceramic item before spray painting.

  4. Place the Item on a Flattened Box to Paint


    To make spray painting easy, place the item on a piece of rigid cardboard, like a flattened cardboard box outside on your grass. This will act as a turntable to make turning the item on your work surface, or even the ground, easy. You can turn the cardboard with one hand and use your other hand to spray the paint making sure to get all sides and parts of the item as you spray.

  5. Begin Spraying On the Paint


    Always wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose to protect you from breathing in the fumes.

    Every brand of spray paint has directions to follow on the can and you should read them to make sure you have all their painting conditions met – like outside temp, humidity etc.

    Shake the can well for at least a minute. Then begin spraying the surface from about 8 inches away. Use sweeping motions to get a first light coat of coverage. Wait 3 minutes and then repeat the process adding one more light coat. Wait another 3 – 5 minutes and repeat by spraying on another light coat to make sure you have the entire surface covered.
    IMPORTANT: You must get all the coats of spray paint on in the first hour. If this is not possible, then wait 48 hours, then add a remaining coat of paint to get total coverage. If you don’t wait, and spray paint another coat on after the first hour, the paint could wrinkle and wreck the finish.

  6. How Long Does It Take Spray Painted Ceramics to Dry


    After your item is covered, bring it inside on the cardboard and let it sit in a garage or least used room in your home overnight. Depending on the heat and humidity, the piece will take about 8 – 24 hours to completely dry. Smooth white spray painted finish on a terra cotta planter.

What Spray Paint is the Best to Use When Painting Glazed or Any Ceramic Item?

To paint the already glazed finish on the terra cotta planter, I used a spray paint primer left over from a previous project that I had in my garage. I knew I had to use a primer as a base coat, but after the primer dried, the new white semi-matte finish was exactly what I wanted. I didn’t even need to add a finishing coat using a matte white paint.

I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi Purpose Spray Paint, White Primer

Over 35 + years of using all different brands and formulas of spray paint, I like this Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover line of spray paint made by Rust-Oleum. It comes in a primer, as well as many colors and sheens. It is the best for any surface, not just ceramic. It goes fast with even coverage and dries quickly. If you are going to buy a can of spray paint for a project, this is my favorite.

White spray painted planter on table.

If you want more spray painting tips to ensure you get a perfect finish, you will find more on my post: Pro Spray Painting Tips and Tricks

What is the best spray paint to use on ceramic items?

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27 Comments

  1. I am a fan of repurposing or painting to fit your style. You are always so good at this, having a vision of what your end project will be. This is a great example and it turned out perfect. I have been enjoying your blog for years, by the way. Thank you!

  2. What a great idea! And thanks for sharing your tips on spraying ceramic. Would you mind sharing the dimensions of this pot?