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Top Tips for writing on your pottery

It's the questions I get asked most: Can I do some writing on my pottery?

soon followed by: Is there not an easier way to do this writing malarkey?

Writer bottles can be a little tricky. Press too hard and the nib will fall off, potentially flooding paint all over your almost-finished piece. Too soft and the paint wont come out.

Here are some top tips to help you get a smooth result when using the writer bottles (also known as paint pens!) on your pottery.

· Make sure the bottle is filled to ¾ full (or more).

· Always make sure the nib is unblocked using the pin in the nib.

· Ensure the nib is clear of any old, dry paint as this will affect the quality of the writing or designing you are trying to do.

· Before you put the writer bottle anywhere near your piece, shake to put the paint into the nib and then gently squeeze the air from the bottle until the paint starts to flow. If this isn’t done, as you squeeze the air when you write, it might send any paint shooting out of the nib and all over your artwork.

· Paint dries quickly, so wipe the nib on some kitchen towel every few letters.

· Practice on some paper first so you can get the feel of the pen and the tension right before you start trying it on the bisque. Alternatively use the back or underneath of your item so you can see how that feels on the bisque. This can always be wiped off (dark colours may stain) or painted over.

· Bisque (pottery) can be bumpy even if it doesn’t feel it. It’s easy to get a nib caught on a groove going the opposite way to your writing which catches you out. It may cause the nib to go in another direction of you will momentarily pause which causes too much paint to leak out onto the bisque.

· Try to hold the nib very slightly above the bisque and flow the paint over the top rather than scratch the nib against the bisque.

· Remember that when writing with a paint pen, it is not like holding a normal pen and where possible you DON'T want to replicate your own handwriting which might be swirly and have connected letters.

· Where letters do connect lift off the pressure slightly otherwise you will get too much paint in that spot and then it’s easy to drag the paint rather than write with the pen.

· If writing over the top of a painted layer the nib will clog easily with flecks of dry paint. Have the pin to hand ready to unclog it – don’t just press harder! This may cause flooding!

· Make sure that the nib is not gouging into the painted layer but just flows over the top.

· Aim for steady consistency – not too hard and not too soft!

· Replace the pin if you aren’t using the bottle for more than a minute or too. Often a trip to get more paint or to go to the loo is long enough for the paint in the nib to dry out!

· If putting light colours on dark, this needs to be done at least three times so that it is seen. Dark on light normally requires one.

· Try to relax your hand or you may end up with cramp!

· Good luck with using the writer bottles on your artwork, I am sure that with these hints and tips you’ll achieve the design you are after.

(Oh, and did I mention...? We charge £3 for your item to be personalised by one of our team so if you're really stuck, let us know as we will be happy to help! )

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