Ceramic Painting Taster

The Mad Hatter pottery painting cafe in Reading is well known for its delicious chocolate cake and handmade coffees, but also for the opportunity to get crafty with their array of pre-fired ceramics and glazes. Having last painted pottery when I was about 13 (and done a fairly bad job of it) I felt it was worth another go! And if anything could convince me to try, it was the promise of chocolate cake!

Some friends and I decided to go for one of their “Pottery & Prosecco” evenings – an adults only BYOB event where you could paint in a relaxed setting. Beforehand, I decided I wanted to paint a bowl and knew I wanted to do a rainbow pattern (because who doesn’t like rainbows??), so I researched different patterns before settling on stripy design similar to the one below.

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Rainbow stripe bowls. / Photo: Unknown, Pinterest

I also loved the fact that the bowls were in the colours of the LGBT flag, so could be equally enjoyed by lovers of colour or as pride items.

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Stripes! / Photo: JELOUdesigns
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I decided to paint this one red inside. / Photo: JELOUdesigns

The glaze paints are really weird to paint with as they look very pastel-y and have almost a chalky finish to them. In the cafe, they have glazed mugs with samples of all the colours on so you can see what they look like once fired, which is super helpful. I used the six rainbow colours and then chose red for the base and inside of the bowl. The cafe also had glaze pens so you could add finer detail (like the black lines here).

Two weeks later my pottery had been fired and was ready to collect. I was so excited to see the finished result! It turned out so well I had to paint another – this time in blue.

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Here you can see my original red bowl in the background and the newly-painted blue one. It’s amazing how different the colours are before and after firing! / Photo: JELOUdesigns

Eventually, I hope to paint each colour as a set of six. Since I don’t need loads of rainbow bowls (I just enjoy painting them!) I decided to add them to an Etsy shop. You can find them here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/544681128/hand-painted-rainbow-stripe-ceramic-bowl

I can’t wait to paint some more ceramics at the cafe! Next time, I’ll experiment with using the pens to create other patterns.

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The finished bowls! / Photo: JELOUdesigns
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My sister’s design, with spotty pattern. I’d definitely like to try something like this – it turned out really great! / Photo: JELOUdesigns

Have you done some pottery painting? I’d love to hear about your favourite kinds of patterns and objects to paint!

==== Summary ====

Suitable for beginners? Yes, no pottery experience necessary as you are painting bisque (pre-fired pottery).

Minimum age? Recommend 7+ as some skill (and patience) with painting is required.

Accessibility? Tools include sponges, templates and sponges so can be easily adapted for different needs.

Fun factor? 10/10 – very fun and effective.


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked by Mad Hatter Cafe to write this post nor given any incentive from them in exchange for writing it – I paid for my own ticket, and it is purely a record of my own experience. 

Links marked with * indicate affiliate links through which I make a small commission (pennies!) if someone clicks through to an item and makes a purchase. I only link to products I have used or would actually use. Links without a * are not affiliate links.

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