When you teach 585+ students every four days, you find strategies to do things quick & easy, yet keeping the creative integrity. When I teach ceramics, I usually finish the clay with acrylic paint. Glaze would be nice, but it is expensive and a lot more work for me. So... about 15 years ago, I started dipping my clay pieces in a mixture of white semi-gloss latex paint, (yes... wall paint) and water. About a 50/50 mix. This mixture does two things... brightens the clay to a bright white and primes the clay with a base coat making the clay very easy to paint for k-5th graders. Young kids have a hard time covering clay with paint when it is not dipped, the clay absorbs the moisture so fast, they have a hard time moving the paint around. Then you are left with unpainted spots and a very unfinished/low quality finished product. Not if you dip and prime it first! The paint flows like the kids expect it to. Results???? Beautiful!!! This is what my process looks like....
I cover the table with a canvas painter's cloth, mix my first batch in a gallon bucket, put on the big green rubber gloves and start dipping! I try to dip everything the day or morning before it is going to be painted. It is nice to give it time to dry. Once I dip a class, I start lifting them off the canvas, making sure they are not sticking. If you do it once, they release fairly easily. If you forget, you are pulling them off a bit harder, but everything does release. Then, I re-stack them back in the boxes once dry. Now they are ready for paint!
For painting clay, I use semi-gloss latex in colors. I get a pint mixed every couple years, it is very affordable! I add water and mix until it is smooth, not sticky. I use my oldest brushes, NEVER my good tempera brushes. Also... I do check to see if any students have latex allergies. I keep non-latex gloves for them. In 15 years, only 2 students and no issues. When students are finished, they wash their hands with the green scrubby pads for pots and pans. They take off all the acrylic!
I cover the cups with plexiglass and often throw a towel over the top too.
Here is how it looked this year...
First Grade Owls
Second Grade Luminaries
Third Grade Drape Bowls with Texture
Fourth Grade Slump Plates with Cookie Cutter Decorations
Fifth Grade Slump Soap Dishes with Stamp and Texture Patterns
I did glaze these this year. Some special kidos in this grade level, I wanted to do something special for them!