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Dot-Painted China

On its own, a dot looks very lonely indeed. But group several together and they make a striking impression.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2006


Consider, for example, the patterned wings of a ladybug or monarch butterfly. Luckily, Mother Nature doesn't have a monopoly on making things beautiful with spots -- you can do the same with ceramic or porcelain dishes, basic art supplies, and a little imagination.

Putting paint to porcelain is easier than you think. Uncomplicated designs can be done freehand; for others, use our templates or create your own. You'll trace the shapes using transfer paper and a ballpoint pen, then cover those marks with painted dots -- paint applicator makes it a cinch to do this neatly. The delightful freckles lend themselves to a variety of motifs, from organic florals to monograms to geometric patterns. If you can bear to part with them, dot-painted ceramics make wonderful gifts. Arrange the ones you keep on open shelves or behind glass cabinet doors-they are, after all, works of art. We suggest only painting across the surface of plates that are decorative, not for eating.


  • Baby wipes

  • Scissors

  • Red transfer paper

  • Clear tape

  • Ceramic plate or other item

  • Ballpoint pen

  • Food-safe ceramic paint (such as Porcelaine 150)

  • Paper muffin cups

  • Wooden coffee stirrers

  • Paint applicator bottles

  • Straight pin


  1. Photocopy or print templates and enlarge or reduce as desired; cut out. Cut transfer paper slightly larger than template. Place it under template, and tape both to plate. Firmly trace template with a ballpoint pen.

  2. Mix paint colors (we added white to make lighter shades), then pour into applicator bottle.

  3. Practice making dots on scrap paper: Squeeze bottle gently for small dots and harder for larger ones. Make dots on traced design (use pin to unclog bottle tip as necessary). Let dry 2 hours; remove transfer lines with baby wipe. Heat in 300-degree oven for 30 minutes. To store extra paint, insert pin into bottle tip.

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