How to Spray Paint Ceramic to Upcycle Garden Statues & More!

2 Materials
1 Hour

Ceramic is one of those things that people think you can't spray paint, but they're wrong! I know because I spray paint ceramics all the time! Let me show you how to spray paint ceramic!

It's Kind Cute

I'm always looking for garden pieces to decorate my yard. I have 5 acres that feel so empty. Slowly (like worse than a snail) I've been figuring out how to decorate my outdoor spaces. I've installed fencing and little vignettes around the acreage starting at the house.

Eventually I hope to make all these areas cohesive and my yard to be beautiful. Baby steps!

So have you ever found a fantastic little garden statue at the thrift store. Or what would be a fantastic garden statue if it hadn't either been painted by someone's grandma in the 1980's or it was left out in the sun too long. Both make that cute little garden figurine less appealing.

It happens to me all the time!

Cute but Not My Style

I found this adorable little angel, but it was covered with a 1980's speckled paint finish that I don't find appealing. If that's your jam then don't come at me. I'm not telling you that you can have it in your yard but I wanted something cleaner.

That's really strange to write because I'm the queen of bright colors. Seriously I LOVE color, but I wanted this glossy little cherub to be white.

You'll find loads of these ceramic figurines at thrift stores. Everything from angles to birds can be found for a few dollars. The only problem is they're very dull. I snap them up and either give them a coat of white or some bright color (seriously bright colors are my thing!) and I sell them in my shop. Or people in my family claim them. I think most of my family members have now adopted one of these owls.

Clean It Really Well

This angel was dirty and I mean ick!

I scrubbed it all over with a toothbrush and Dawn dish washing liquid to make sure I got in all the little nooks and crannies (and his little butt crack - yes, I felt weird doing it).

The spray paint isn't going to stick to ceramics that are dirty or greasy. The paint will just flake away so you'll want to sure your pieces are clean and grease free.

Rinse with clean water and dry it off. Don't even think about painting until you know your pieces are good and dry! The water will also cause the paint to flake.

I know you're excited but just learn from my mistakes on this one. Don't move to the next step until the piece is dry.

Prime If You Need It

Whether your ceramic is glossy or the textured kinds that figurines can sometimes come in; they can both be spray painted without much effort. If you use a product like Rust-Oleum 2X then you won't have to take the extra step of priming the ceramic. The primer is built into this paint and it covers like a dream so it's my go to for spray painting anything not just ceramics.

Take whatever you want to paint outside!

I know it says "or a well ventilated area" but don't try to paint inside. The over spray will go everywhere! Over spray is just the paint that does land on the piece you're painting.

People have recommended to me spray boxes or the DIY version of a spray box. Hang on while I laugh, because I'm remembering the time I tried it. I ended up with blue over spray all over my face because the box just redirects the over spray. Right into your face.


Please go outside. Please.

I set mine up on two sawhorses with 2x4's on them so I can move around the piece while I paint.

Second Coat

If you need a second coat of paint then wait for about 15 minutes or so before applying the second coat.

That should be all you need! I have never needed more than two coats of spray paint. Especially not when I use the 2X paint.

Much Better!

I love my little cherub now! Look how adorable he is! Now he’s more of what I wanted.

If you are still nervous about the process of spray painting on ceramics watch the video on my YouTube Channel. I'll walk you through how this piece and others were painted.

Watch The Process

If you are still nervous about the process of spray painting on ceramics watch the video on my YouTube Channel. I'll walk you through how this piece and others were painted.

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Stacy Verdick Case
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Sheryl Sheryl on Sep 21, 2020

    I found 2 ceramic owls while cleaning mother's attic. Hideous gold and green with creepyred eyes! Paint flaked off one, and appeared to be very "soft", almost chalky. Was going to thrift them but saw this post. Does this work on chalky ceramics? And what process would you recommend? Seal first, then paint? They'll be outdoor garden critters.

  • Rhonda Rhonda on Apr 24, 2023

    I love buying the dull ones snd refurbishing them so to soeak with new colors and then i syray with the gloss 2x so far so good but what would you recommend for over the new paint ?

Join the conversation
4 of 6 comments
  • Dee Dee on Apr 22, 2023

    I am so glad I am not the only one who spray paints garden statues. Some of them are just so ugly. You can find ugly ones at Estate Sales and repaint. I absolutely loved your hilarious post.

    • Stacy Verdick Case Stacy Verdick Case on Apr 25, 2023

      I paint them all the time! I left this one outside ever since I painted him to test how long it would last. I live in Minnesota so we have 40 below to 104 degrees over the course of a year. It has survived until this past winter. So Two years if you don’t take them in out of the weather. I have others that I put in the garage over winter and they last a lot longer.

  • Dee Dee on Apr 25, 2023

    I do the same but being in Texas we have the extreme heat.

    • Stacy Verdick Case Stacy Verdick Case on Apr 26, 2023

      Yep that will cause problems too. We just make do. I’m going to respray the little guy this summer and bring him in from now on. He’s done his part for the experiment. 😂