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Pattern Transfers 
How to transfer pictures to Ceramic Bisque
by Dolores Swaldi [c] 2004


     Have you ever come across a pattern or a drawing in a book or magazine that you would like to paint onto your ceramic bisque. A picture that would accent that cookie tray, or would create a wonderful personalized gift for someone special. I have come across these from time to time and would try to draw them onto my bisque items. I was never very good at drawing these items freely, and after a short period of time I quickly realized that I was no Michael Angelo. I knew I would have to find some other way to paint these patterns onto my items.

     My next thought was to trace these patterns using carbon paper onto my item. This proved to be a difficult task, not only was it hard to line up the pattern exactly where I wanted, but while tracing on uneven or curved surfaces the picture would slide on top of the carbon paper and produced some unfavorable results. But when we tried the following technique it worked spectacularly. It allowed us to align multiple patterns accurately, and when the paper drifted it was immediately visible. This enabled us to realign our patterns to match its original position with ease.

     Our solution was something inexpensive, and readily available. Something that you probably have in your home already; ordinary tissue paper. When using tissue paper it is easier than ever to transfer a pattern or a picture to your ceramic bisque. Just place the tissue paper (the type used for gift wrapping) over the design you like. Gently trace your design with a pencil. To transfer this pattern, simply place the paper onto your ceramic item and trace over the pencil marks with a “sharpie” marking pen. The ink will seep through the tissue paper onto the bisque and the pattern is reusable. You may then use under glazes to color your pattern. ( As always you must seal your under glazes with a clear glaze to finish) When your item is fired all of the ink from the "sharpie" marker is burned off and only the glazes will remain.

We have produced many unique gifts for friends and family using this technique. Some of our favorite items to finish using this technique are plates, trays, bowls and mugs. Of course these are not the only items this technique works well on. The sky's the limit when you're painting ceramic bisque.

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