What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Ceramic?

Looking to add a personal touch to your ceramic pieces? Painting your ceramics is a great way to give them a new lease on life. Whether you’re working on a decorative pot or a figurine, it’s essential to use the right paint and primer to ensure the longevity and quality of your pieces. 

Ceramic pieces are best painted with acrylic paint. These paints are resistant to fading and chipping and come in a wide variety of colors. When it comes to primer, opt for an acrylic-based product as well. This will provide the perfect base coat to help your paint adhere to the ceramic surface longer.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 4 factors to consider when choosing paint for ceramic
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for ceramic

The 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Ceramic

1. Type of Ceramic Surface

One important factor to consider when choosing paint for ceramic is the type of surface you are painting on.

Depending on whether your ceramic piece is glazed or unglazed, you must choose a specific paint type that will adhere to the surface properly.

If your ceramic piece is glazed, it is important to properly prepare the surface by sanding and applying the right primer.

2. Intended Use

Another factor to consider when choosing paint for ceramic is the piece’s intended use. For instance, if you plan on using your ceramic piece for food or drink purposes, you should choose a non-toxic paint that is safe for consumption.

Similarly, if your ceramic piece is exposed to outdoor elements, you should use water-resistant and durable paint.

3. Paint Brand and Quality

The brand and quality of paint you choose will also impact the final product of your ceramic painting. Researching and comparing paint brands before deciding is important, as different brands may offer different consistencies, drying times, and finishes.

Choosing high-quality paint will ensure a smooth and even application and a long-lasting finish.

4. Painting Techniques and Tools

Lastly, the painting techniques and tools you use will affect the outcome of your ceramic piece. Before beginning your painting project, it is important to consider the type of brush or applicator you will need for your chosen paint type.

Depending on the item you are painting, it may require different painting techniques, such as sponging, dry-brushing, or spraying.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion and stabilizers. It’s a synthetic media where the pigment is emulsified by water, making it water-soluble, very stable, and durable.

It can be used directly on ceramic surfaces after priming and mixed with additives to make it waterproof and/or non-toxic.


  • Versatile: Can be used on many surfaces, including unglazed pottery.
  • Vibrant Colors: Great for detailed painting.
  • Quick Drying: Allows for a faster crafting process.
  • Easy Clean Up: Doesn’t require special cleaning agents.
  • Affordable: More cost-effective than some other types of paint.


  • Not Suitable for Glazed Ceramics: Regular acrylics won’t adhere to glazed surfaces.
  • Durability: Not as durable as oil-based and ceramic-based paints.
  • Not Food-Safe: Cannot be baked in an oven or kiln.

Epoxy Paint

Epoxy paint is a two-part coating made of resins mixed with a hardener. It forms a hard shell and creates an impenetrable barrier when applied to ceramic surfaces, making it great for use in outdoor environments or areas exposed to high humidity.

It also provides a glossy, waterproof finish and can be mixed with additives for greater durability and UV resistance. 


  • Durable: Offers a tough, long-lasting finish.
  • Moisture Resistant: Good for areas with high humidity or exposure to water.
  • Easy to Clean: Resists stains and can be easily wiped clean.
  • Abrasion Resistant: Withstands wear and tear well.


  • Preparation: Requires careful surface preparation (sanding, priming).
  • Smell: Can have a strong odor during application and drying.
  • Toxicity: May contain harmful chemicals which require proper ventilation during application.
  • Not Suitable for All Tiles: Works best on glazed quarry, ceramic, and porcelain tiles.
  • Complexity: Two-part epoxies (those that require mixing) can be more complex to apply.

What Paint Finish Is Best?

A flat finish is perfectly acceptable if you are painting a ceramic piece that will be kept indoors and not subjected to wear and tear.

However, if your ceramic piece is intended to be used outside, a gloss finish is your best bet for optimal durability.

Gloss finishes offer superior toughness in comparison to other finishes. They possess excellent water resistance, making them ideal for outdoor use as they can endure exposure to moisture and humidity without cracking or peeling. The shiny layer also reflects light, providing a vibrancy that can liven up any outdoor space.

On the other hand, flat finishes are not nearly as robust as gloss finishes. Although ideal for indoor usage, they are not as durable as their gloss counterparts and are prone to chalking, making them less suitable for outdoor pieces. Also, because flat finishes do not reflect light, they can appear dull and unattractive outdoors.

The Best Paint and Primer for Ceramic

Best Paint

Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint is more than a premium general-purpose paint. It’s one of the best paint options for ceramic surfaces, offering exceptional coverage and long-lasting durability.

This spray paint’s breakthrough Double Coverage Technology allows it to cover ceramic surfaces more efficiently and effectively than any other paint on the market.

Unlike other spray paints, it can be applied to various surfaces, including wood, plastic, metal, and ceramic.

The any-angle spray system enables you to spray at any angle, making reaching even the most challenging areas easy. The comfort spray tip further eliminates finger fatigue, making it easy to tackle larger projects.

Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint offers unbeatable coverage. You can trust that your ceramic project will be completed with ultimate coverage, providing a high-gloss finish that will impress you. This spray paint is also fast-drying, so you won’t have to wait long to admire your new piece.

Best Primer

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Primer is undoubtedly one of the best primers for ceramic.

This exceptional primer offers a durable base for applying paint on ceramic surfaces, ensuring long-lasting adhesion and preventing chipping, cracking, and peeling.

Its advanced spray system allows for application from any angle, including upside down, making it ideal for even the most challenging-to-reach areas.

The primer’s comfort spray tip with a wider finger pad also helps reduce fatigue caused by continuous spraying.

The resin type used in this primer is acrylic-modified alkyd, which offers exceptional durability and resistance to heat, water, and chemicals. This makes it an ideal primer for ceramic surfaces exposed to harsh conditions.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

Recent Posts