Big Ceramic Store Blog

Graffito Paper Transfers for Pottery

Graffito Underglaze Transfer Paper from Minnesota Clay Company to the rescue!

Have you ever seen an image you thought would look great on a pot but didn't know how to get it there? You tried the old lead pencil trick... you know the one... color the back of the paper with a lead pencil then flip it over and draw over the design to transfer it onto your work.

Then, after all that work, you still aren't done! You have to get out your underglaze and brushes and paint the pot. Ugh! What a task it's turning out to be, right?

Well not anymore! Follow me out to the studio to see how much easier it can be!

With just a couple sgraffito tools, pencil and pen, a little bit of clay, a nice picture, and some graffito transfer paper, you can accomplish it with ease.

Let's talk about the clay. First off, if you are using green ware, you want it to be dry enough to accept the transfer, but not so dry your piece breaks under the pressure you will be using with the tools.

For example, if you are doing tile work, either let the piece get to  the "hard" leather hard stage or bisque fired state, but not all the way to bone dry. A bone dry piece will likely crack under pressure.

For bisque fired pieces, your transfer will be a lot cleaner if you sand the surface with a real fine grit sand paper (120-200 grit works well,) and you will want to clean the dust off the surface really well.

Graffito paper comes in a nice variety of colors in both multi-color packs and individual colors.

For today's project, I'm using several sheets from a multi-color pack... green, orange, and yellow, on both a leather hard piece and a bisque piece. Check out how easy it is.

  • Prepare your clay


  • Print out your picture
  • tape the picture over the piece you want to work on


  • lay a piece of graffito paper under your picture
  • use a graffito tool, pencil, pen, needle tool, etc... to trace the drawing


  • Check your work but be careful not to move the clay or your drawing too much


  • when you are done with that color, swap out the graffito paper and keep going


  • clean up the edges with a stylus
  • brush off the clay burls with a stiff bristle brush
  • set it off to dry

Now, once you have completed the design, it's time to think about the firing process.

  • All the underglaze on the transfers will fire to cone 8 with the exception of Rose. Rose will only fire to cone 06 before it burns out.
  • Make sure the glaze you use doesn't obscure the artwork you just created by using a clear glaze over your artwork
  • Bisque fire the underglaze to your pot before clear glaze

Well, what are you waiting for? Get to the studio and make something amazing!






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