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Bubble Art - Bubble Painting: Article or Project

Suitable Item (greenware or bisque)
Underglazes for greenware or stains for bisque
shallow bowl with water or styrofoam cup with sides broken down
liquid soap
clear glaze if using underglazes
spray fix if using stains
appropriate brushes

More Details

Bubble painting has got to be one of the most fun and original techniques I’ve ever come across. Kids of all ages love it and so do adults. The technique works great with underglazes or stains. If you work with stains, it is necessary to base coat the item with one or two coats of stain first, making sure to give complete coverage. With underglazes, you can base coat with two coats of a base color if you choose or leave the bisque or greenware as is which will provide a white background for the final product.

For the best effect, it is a good idea to pick an item with a smooth finish. Vases, boxes, or containers; even dishes, mugs, and utility ware make great projects. To begin, gather up all of your supplies because once you begin, things move fast. Prep your project with a base coat if desired or needed and let it dry thoroughly.

Utilizing a small shallow bowl (about 2-2 1/2 inches deep), larger if needed for larger pieces, fill the bowl to about ¼ inch of the top with water. Add some of your underglaze or stain. You will need to experiment here. You want enough paint so that the color will make an impression after firing but you really don’t need a lot of paint. About 50 percent waer to 50 percent paint is a good ratio. Concentrated colors work best. Stir the paint in the water until it is well mixed.

Place a few drops of liquid soap or dish detergent in the water - about one drop for every tablespoon of water. Amount will depend upon the size of the bowl. It does not take a lot. Stir your mixture frequently to avoid separation of color.

Styrofoam cups work really great - bring the sides down to about 2 or 2 1/2 inches tall. A smaller vessel will require less paint, less paint will result in less waste.

Using a straw, insert it into the water/paint/soap mixture and blow gently creating bubbles on the surface. Keep blowing until there is a thick accumulation of bubbles. Experiment to see if you can create larger bubbles, as they will give the greatest impression in this technique.

Once you have a head of bubbles,remove the straw and take your prepared project and lay it on top of the bubbles and then lift away. DO NOT let the piece touch the water. The bubbles will pop, leaving the paint on your piece. Repeat the process (blowing bubbles and laying project on them), turning the project so that you apply the bubbles all over the surface or on the areas you want the bubble look. Underglazes will look lighter than they will after being fired. You can use other colors in fresh bowls to add additional depth, or layering. Just make sure the bubble impressions dry before you touch the area and before you add an additional layer of bubbles.

Once you have applied all the bubbles you want, let the item dry. If you used underglazes, fire your project to cone 04-03. When cooled, apply two or three coats of clear glaze or one dip of clear dipping glaze. Dry thoroughly and fire stilted to cone 05. If you used stains for your project, be sure to spray a light coat of acrylic spray fixative to set the color. Try this with ceramic Easter eggs for a fun effect in the Easter basket.

TIP: using two colors give a great dimensional effect. Make one layer one color, then go back and add another layer of a second or even third color.

TIP: Putting random blotches over a piece can create some unique floral designs. Just go back and use a corner shader and add leaves and stems. Beautiful.

TIP: You can store the remaining mixture for a short time; however the color will separate. That is why it is a good idea to use small containers to work from.


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