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How-Tuesday: Hand-Painted Teacup and Saucer With LoucheLab

by Julie Schneider

Mar 2, 2010

As I settle in to compile this week's How-Tuesday post, the world outside my window looks like a flustered snow globe, with whipping winds and a frigid fog of white. On days like this, I wish for nothing more than to cozy up at my craft table with a pot of tea and a few supplies, to follow my notions and fleeting little ideas down a mysterious garden path in my mind and see where I end up. I have admired Aya Rosen's artwork and art-infused life since watching the LoucheLab's Love Story video a couple years ago.The project she shares with us today could serve as a springboard to transforming your own art style into a new medium. I know that after reading her how-to, I am ready to get started decorating dishware for my new apartment!

This little project is really fun to make! It’s pretty simple, not very messy, and rather inexpensive. You don’t need any special tools and it makes a wonderful gift. In fact, I discovered this painting method a few years ago when making a vase as a gift for my mom. Usually my designs are rather complex and take some drawing skills. For this project I was trying to see if I could make something cute without a complicated illustration, and instead, get a cool design by just using a simple shape over and over again.

So, let’s get going!


This is what you’ll need:

  • A piece of china to paint. It may be any white china, ceramic or porcelain. In this case it's a cup and saucer.
  • 1 fine tip Pebeo Porcelaine 150 marker. I used 08 Anthracite Black.
  • A few colors of Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint. I used 43 Ivory, 18 Sapphire Blue, 20 Turquoise, and just a tiny bit of 05 Coral Red, 01 Citrine Yellow, 10 Tourmaline Red.
  • A paint brush or two, a pallet to mix paint on (I use a plate) and a few cotton swabs to fix mistakes
  • Rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner
  • A standard kitchen oven to bake the piece and set the colors


The first thing to do is to clean the piece with rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner to remove any fingerprints or grease. Next, if you have never used the marker, you must “start” the paint to flow. The way to do this is to shake it well for about 30 seconds, then press the tip to a piece of paper and pump it, until the paint starts to flow.


Once it starts to flow begin to draw on your dish. The cup I chose has a scalloped pattern around the rim, which made me think of clouds, so the shape I chose for this set was a raindrop. I framed the area I wanted to draw on with a black line, and then I drew rain drops all over the cup. The marker paint dries to the touch in about 5-10 seconds.


I drew the same design on the saucer.


I had an idea to draw a small design in the middle of the saucer — something that would not be seen when you pour the tea, but would be a surprise when you lift the cup! At first I thought about a sun, but then I decided to draw a rainbow instead.


And now for the fun part! I used a medium sized brush to paint the inside of the raindrops. The first color I used was Sapphire Blue. First, mix the paint well before you start painting. Do not shake the paint, as this will cause bubbles that will be transferred onto your piece. The consistency of the paint is nice and thick straight from the bottle, but if it’s too thick for you, add a tiny bit of water. I painted about ¼ of the raindrops in this color.

What happens if you go out of lines or mess up? No problem! If the paint is still wet, simply wipe it with a cotton swab or a tissue. If the paint has dried, use a moist cotton swab with a bit of alcohol. If the whole thing is a big disaster and you want to start over, just wash the dish with warm water or rinse with rubbing alcohol and dry well before starting over.

What I really love about the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paints is that they mix together very well. You can do a lot with just one or two colors. For the next bunch of drops I mixed the sapphire blue with some ivory to make light sky blue.

I painted another ¼ of the raindrops with the light sky blue, then switched to white, and then switched to turquoise mixed with a little bit of white. What’s important to remember is to rinse the brush and wipe it dry on a towel to remove excess water between the different colors, especially when switching to and from white.

After I finished the raindrops I switched to a very fine tip brush and painted the rainbow. I used a mix of yellow and red to make the orange, and a mix of yellow and blue to make the green.

That’s it. All of the painting is finished!

So, what now? It isn't time to use it yet. The colors are completely removable with warm water until the piece is baked. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours. Then, place it in a cool oven directly on the middle oven rack and set the temperature at 150°C or 300°F.  When the temperature has been reached, set the timer for 30 minutes and bake. Once complete, turn off the oven and allow the piece to cool down gradually before removing. Now you are really finished! Your cup and saucer are ready to use. Enjoy your tea!

A few more tips...

  • The fine tip markers may become plugged. To prevent this, always replace the cap immediately after using, even if you are just taking a short break. Also, be sure to store them horizontally. If it does get plugged, take the tip out and soak it in hot water for a few minutes and dry well.  If the plug doesn’t release, repeat this and blow through the tip.
  • When baking the dish, don’t pre-heat the oven. The difference in temperature may cause the china to crack. Instead, put the dishes in the cool oven, then turn the oven on.
  • It’s very tempting to get a million color paints and use all of them on the same dish, but I’ve had the most aesthetically pleasing results with using only a couple of colors on each piece.
  • The paints are translucent, which means that white or light colored china works the best. If you want the paint to be more opaque, simply mix it with a little bit of white (43 Ivory), or place a base coat of white (43 Ivory) under the color.
  • Of course, you don’t have to draw raindrops if you don’t like them. A few other simple shapes that might work equally well are: hearts, polka dots, stars, doodles and random lines, animals or text. You can make this extra special by adding the name or initials of the recipient of the cup and saucer!

Please note: Pebeo is non-toxic. However, it is not recommended for use on surfaces that come in contact with food.

Thank you to Aya Rosen from LoucheLab and art supply company Pebeo for sharing this project with us.

LoucheLab's Love Story | More How-Tuesday Posts | Ceramics & Pottery on Etsy

Julie Schneider

When Julie Schneider isn’t writing and editing, she’s carrying on her family’s pun tradition, making custom GIFs, or scheming in her cozy art studio. Keep up with her latest projects on Instagram.