Screen Printing On Ceramics – Ideas?

February 18, 2010

Will someone please invite me to a party with cupcakes served on the most beautiful vintage china ever? I found this image taken by stylist/designer Lula Aldunate (aka Lulaland) in New York and simply must share! What a visual treat this is.

Screen Printing On Ceramics - Ideas?

Tea and cake please! Which reminds me, I really need to start working on my china collection again. Can you believe I sold all of my mismatched china a few years ago at a tag sale? I could kick myself. Have you ever done something like this? Sold an item/s only to regret it later? It’s not what I do as a habit, I’m quite particular about what I let go of, but at the time I sold my china because I felt like I had way too much in my house and it overwhelmed me. Clients were giving me everything that they no longer needed and between that and my own “stuff” well… it felt a bit insane to have so much. I felt like I was being selfish to have so many things that I was not using regularly.

I’ve now decided to start my china collection once again, only this time I’m keeping it and cherishing it forever. The photo above inspires me as to why I should, how beautiful. Though I wouldn’t mind learning how to screenprint on china like Nina does. Maybe I can ask someone to teach me. It would be fun to buy beautiful vintage china and then personalize it a bit in a fresh, modern way as so many great designers out there are doing right now. Of course mine would not be for sale but it would be nice to make my flea market finds more bespoke.

Do you know how to print in color on plates so that they can also be used for eating rather than only display?

(image: Lula Aldunate)


  • Reply Clare Farthing February 18, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Simply delicious colours and designs!

  • Reply craftomania tools February 18, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I have regrets not buing something I love… theis is a beautiful colection of mismatched china.
    .-= craftomania tools´s last blog ..Free give-away Campaign! Win the "Sylvan lace ring" by NuritDesign.. =-.

  • Reply enna February 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Hi Holly! I don’t know exactly how it’s done, but I would assume, that the designs are printed onto some sort of paper or transfer material with a special ceramic ink, then dried and applied to the piece ceramic like a decal and burnt in to be permanent. I’ve tried to find out about it before, but couldn’t find much information either – especially about supplies available in Germany.
    Ths link could help, though:

  • Reply enna February 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

    also, look here:

  • Reply Jessica February 18, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I, too, am very interested in screenprinting on old plates (for eating). I hope somebody out there has suggestions!

  • Reply Beth February 18, 2010 at 8:40 am

    These flowered dishes are very pretty! I have gotten rid of lots of stuff over the years. Occasionally, I’ll miss something. But there is always so much more to buy! :]
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Love is in the air ~ Happy Valentine’s Day! =-.

  • Reply Danielle Mongin February 18, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Simple designs may be painted on the backs of clear plates….and then hand washed. The art store will carry paints that can be baked on in your own oven at home. It works when all the directions are followed. Thank You for having a cheerful heart! It helps me so often!

    • Reply decor8 February 18, 2010 at 9:02 am

      Danielle thank you for your comment, I know that technique as my mother taught me that one as a child using clear plates. What I’m looking to do is screenprint designs that I make onto the front of china – plates mostly. I hope someone can give me some ideas as to how this works!

  • Reply Bird-in-Hand, Laurie February 18, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Incredibly lovely as well as economical. Orphan pieces can be easily gleaned at fleas and tag sales. I feel a Garden Party coming on! Hurry spring!

  • Reply ishtar February 18, 2010 at 8:58 am

    oh, SO lovely!I love how they are mismatched! a beautiful china-collage!
    .-= ishtar´s last blog ..I heart bokeh! =-.

  • Reply Golly B. February 18, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Such lovely pictures! To answer your question – I’m not sure, I’ve always wanted to try this myself as one can never have enough plate service! There is probably a food safe ink. You can also make digital transfers of any images. I think the transfer paper must use vitrifying ink and then fired again in a kiln. Check out this link:

  • Reply Jesse February 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Yep, that’s right, it’s usually screen printing with vitrifying ink; the transfers are stuck to the ceramic surface, and then it’s all fired in a kiln. I’ve heard of transfer sheets that you can print digitally, but don’t know much about them. I use a screen printing company for mine (they’re in Cape Town, will ship all over the world, but have a fairly high minimum amount that they’ll print). Have a look where you live for companies that do personalised mugs and corporate gifts – they’ll be able to help.
    .-= Jesse´s last blog ..My Crafty Heart =-.

  • Reply Erin February 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Oh my, not another thing I need to learn how to do and fall in love with! The link from Golly B seemed very reasonable – these would make such wonderful and unique gifts as well. Thank you for the information!
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Free Banner and Avi Set for Etsy =-.

  • Reply Lucila Zahran Turqueto February 18, 2010 at 10:10 am

    UAU! I loved the combination. Congrats for the post. Rgards from Brazil, Lucila

  • Reply Sarah Sarniak February 18, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I wish I knew how, that would be really cool to print on ceramic and be able to use is. Those plates in the pic are so pretty!
    .-= Sarah Sarniak´s last blog ..Major Budget Decorating =-.

  • Reply Patricia February 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Funny, I just posted something on Karin’s style blog a few days ago about that! She replied with this link: I think the most useful part is this:
    “To make a screen print, one needs an original image. The image is transferred over to light sensitive film and applied on to the mesh of a screen. Engobe colours mixed with a (preferably) water based medium are pressed through the screen and onto a print paper. When the print is dry, a cover coat is printed on top of it.After the cover coat has dried, the print is dipped in water and soon the cover coat will lift the print off the paper and it can be applied to the ceramic surface. The goods are fired up to around 800 degrees C.”
    Sounds simple enough if you know someone with the equipment and can show you how it’s done!
    On an unrelated note, I see you use the expression “Voila!” often, but I thought you might want to know that you are inverting the i and o. Or maybe you are doing it on purpose to be cute, I don’t know! :)

  • Reply Karen Cheung February 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I studied illustration at one of the places that pioneered non-toxic, solvent-free screenprinting of decals for ceramics. You use special inks that you print like regular screenprinting onto some special ceramic decal paper. The design is cut out and transferred using water onto your ceramic piece (already glazed), which is then fired in a kiln to set the design. My friend did some splendid little cucumber slices on the saucer of a teacup along with other teatime inspired prints on teapots etc.

    For the home, I haven’t tried the decal paper you can buy. There are two types – one, for inkjet printers, produces transfers that can’t be washed, so can’t be used. If you get the paper for laser printer/photocopier, this can be used and washed. As far as I can tell, you need a laser printer or photocopier (so not water-based inks), a laminator and a regular oven. Here is one in the UK that produces dishwasher-safe results:

    I have been wanting to try this for ages. I’ve only got as far as hand-drawn designs on crockery, which you can see in my very out-of-date etsy shop here:

    Google ceramic decals for laser printer
    .-= Karen Cheung´s last blog… =-.

  • Reply Shay February 18, 2010 at 11:00 am

    The mix and match really brings it to a modern/current style. So fun and not stuffy.
    Holly, your living in Germany…where all the best china in the world comes from..lucky you..Look for Bavarian, it is gorgeous.I think good antique china is still WAY under valued in the states. I often find complete beautiful vintage sets for under $50 bucks.One of my major loves and collections.
    Happy hunting,

  • Reply Shanon February 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to collect saucers and teacups. I’ve never done it though. Maybe I should? They seem to me like little party dresses. And how happy would that make you to look at them? Or to give them out as favors during a bridal shower?
    .-= Shanon´s last blog ..What’s under that snow?! =-.

  • Reply Carol Emma February 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    This is so lovely! It makes me believe that spring will come again :-)

  • Reply Marissa February 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I’m so glad you asked about printing on plates, ever since I’ve seen some of those on ETSY I’ve been wanting to figure it out. I love the whole old thrift store china with modern drawings on top look
    .-= Marissa´s last blog ..Blogging Tips: Link Referral Bar =-.

  • Reply Lisa February 18, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    So glad that others have answered the “how-to” question (I was very interested in the answer). I do adore the way those vintage plates with printed images look.

    I love the look of mismatched china – a friend of mine sets her table with State plates – very fun and slightly kitschy.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Here’s the Plan…. =-.

  • Reply MichelleP February 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I’ve looked into this before, but haven’t tried it yet. It seems like the easiest way to do it & have the image be durable, is to use a waterslide decal, & then have it fired in a kiln. You can find waterslide decal paper for laser or inkjet printers online. Then the challenge is finding a place that will fire them for you, maybe a small pottery studio or school?

    Here’s a video of the decal process:
    .-= MichelleP´s last blog ..YO Mama’s on Etsy =-.

  • Reply MEW February 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    You can use a goco screen to print, I use china paint, but it has to be fired. Maybe you could use the craft-bake paint? Thicken any paint with CMC gum before printing.

  • Reply Hannah February 18, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I know exactly how you feel about getting rid of something and later regretting it. Several years ago when I was doing my final move-out of my parents’ house after graduating from college, I decided that my vintage typewriter was too bulky and impractical for the globetrotting life I envisioned, so I donated it to a local charity thrift store. It was beautiful and light teal and worked well- I am still kicking myself for that one!
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..Happenings… =-.

  • Reply February 18, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Hello Holly,
    try it with “Avery-Zweckform-Keramikfolie”, 2 sheets (DIN A4) for 9,40 €
    .-=´s last blog ..Flyer Designermarkt =-.

  • Reply Kelly February 19, 2010 at 12:43 am

    I’ve seen a couple good links on this recently! Unfortunately, the dilemma always seems to be food-safety . . . I look forward to what your other readers may reveal!–plates—-invite—-plates–with-a-floral-pattern—-adhesive–foil-white-mat—-spray–p.html

  • Reply Frau Mayer February 19, 2010 at 4:25 am

    The collection is adorable! Now it makes me regret I didn’t pick up that beautiful white cup in the Trödelshop next to my place the other day. Guess I’ll be checking on it soon! Thanks, Holly, for a wonderful source of inspiration (as usual :)
    .-= Frau Mayer´s last blog ..Inspiration in the tub =-.

  • Reply Sanja February 19, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I have been buying products from this company forever and only have praise for them. It is German, so maybe you could start from their site Good luck!

  • Reply Kim February 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I just found this interview of the woman (Debba Haupert) who wrote the book, “The New Book of Image Tranfer: How to Add Any Image to Almost Anything with Fabulous Results”


  • Reply Danielle@LiveLikeYou February 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Okay, my two obsessions…tea and pottery! I hand build and am always looking for new techniques in glazing and this is one I would love to know how to do, so thank you for the useful info!
    .-= Danielle@LiveLikeYou´s last blog ..Summer house =-.

  • Reply kamila February 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Lovely post (as always).
    Certainly I have deeply regretted giving away/selling certain items in my life. One that comes to mind is a bright orange taboret full of art supplies that I thought I would not ever use again. I always have to come back to trusting in the natural balance of life. That keeps me from crying my eyes out :)

    And here is a link to a screen printing ink for ceramics. It may only be available in Australia: but may be of help to you.

    Good luck!

  • Reply Alice March 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm


    I just read this post and I hope it isn’t too late. I, too, am interested in screen printing on ceramic pieces and I’m doing a bit of research myself. I found a site that might be helpful: which talks about using glaze on your ceramic piece. You could also try looking up information about screen printing with underglaze transfers. I don’t have any sites on it, but I hope that helps!

  • Reply Terrance May 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I wonder if anyone has tried the Chinese transfer images. They are printed on a rice paper and all one has to do is to place the image face down on the surface of the ceramic greenware or bisque and then moisten it a few times. One then peels away the paper and the image remains.

    It is like the water transfers we used when we were kids to give us a temporary water base tatoo.

  • Reply Varinder June 5, 2010 at 2:21 am

    OMG… this image of china collection is so nice… i wish to have one like that soon. :)

  • Reply Gabrielle July 31, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    My husband just gave me a budget for new place settings! After shopping around I am so excited to just design our own. There are endless options for beauty and awesomeness when you customize things. :)

  • Reply Jared November 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    You could even look at Digital custom printing?

  • Reply Innovative Ink February 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    wow….the industry sure has gone a long way….alsome post

  • Reply Dave T April 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Absolutely beautiful – no idea how it’s done but those plates look so good you could eat your dinner off them! I wrote an article to introduce people to the pros and cons of screen printing but it’s mainly focused towards t-shirt printing than fancy stuff like this.

  • Reply alice April 15, 2013 at 8:36 am

    @Jessica: @Jessica:
    If you like to do the printing yourself,maybe you will love our laser ceramic printing. The resolution is 2400*2400dpi. The effect is 256 gray-scale. If you like,please contact me.

  • Reply Bruce January 23, 2017 at 6:10 am

    The collection is adorable! Thanks for sharing!


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