20 Beginner Friendly Design Ideas For Pottery

 Designing and painting pottery can be really fun and therapeutic, as well as being a creative outlet for you. You don’t even have to make the pottery yourself – you could spice up a few plates and mugs that you already have at home! 

20 Beginner Friendly Design Ideas For Pottery

Today we’ll be looking through 20 ideas of how you can paint and design your own pottery collection to make them unique to you. We’ll even break them up into categories to make it easier for you to find the ideal design. Let’s get started! 

Pottery Design Inspiration For Mugs

Mugs are smaller compared to other pottery pieces that you might want to paint, so they can be the easiest for beginners. Most mugs only require a simple design as they are so small. 

1. Polka Dots

We said that you might want to start out with a simple design – what’s easier to paint than polka dots? These are super fast and easy to add all over your mugs, so you’ll be finished in no time at all. 

Try experimenting with the polka dots by changing their size, colors, and even shapes. They don’t have to be perfectly round if you don’t mind the rustic look! 

2. Line Designs

Okay, how much simpler can we get? Drawing lines with a paintbrush has to be the easiest thing you can do – but still incredibly therapeutic and entertaining.

Use straight lines to make a striped design, or perhaps zig zag lines for a more chaotic design? 

3. Painting For Loved Ones

If you’re wanting to give your painted pottery away, then why not paint their name across the mug and surround it with hearts or flowers?

You could even use the surrounding shapes to highlight something they love most, such as a particular flower, butterflies, bees – the opportunities are endless here.

4. Landscapes

Okay, so these next ideas are slightly more challenging than the ones we have already mentioned above. However, the results are amazing and would really make your kitchen cupboards pop. 

The first is a simplified landscape, with only a few mountains to show and a sun. Influence this image however you want, perhaps adding brighter colors or making the sun bigger and therefore more important to the scene. 

The second idea is a more intricate landscape image the entire way round your mug. This is going to be more difficult, but who’s not up for a challenge? These images are still slightly simplified, but they definitely include more detail than the idea above. 

Pottery Design Inspiration For Bowls 

There is more space over a bowl than there is a mug, so you’ll have more area to cover. This gives you more freedom to paint what you want, although this can make the task more difficult. 

5. The Classic Polka Dot

Polka dots are a staple when it comes to painting pottery for beginners. Just like with the mugs, you can paint these dots however you want to. Change colors and sizes across the bowl, or keep them all the same size. 

If you find that your dots are coming out a little misshapen, make it an intentional decision and turn it into cow print! 

6. Checkers

Checkers are another very easy way to paint bowls, yet the finished result looks incredibly elegant and lovely. All you have to do is paint squares in two different colors next to one another.

Use a large brush for this to make the squares easier to perfect so that you don’t have to keep touching up corners or external lines. 

7. Geometric Shapes

This idea is a little bit more complex, although if you have experience with painting lines on pottery then it will be easier. Geometric shapes are just line drawings with blocks of color and some dots within them.

We really like how you can use this design inspiration and make it your own! 

Even if something in your design does go wrong, you can always disguise it with another idea. Geometric shapes are not perfect, so they’re a great option for beginners. 

8. Fruit Bowls, Anyone? 

Okay, this design is just too cute. Turning your bowls into slices of fruit is so cool, and no one else in your life will have bowls quite as funky as yours. Plus, while these bowls might look difficult to paint, they’re actually quite easy. 

All you need to do is paint the exterior of your bowls the color of the fruit’s skin, and then paint segments of the fruit in each color. We love that these bowls don’t perfectly match either, but there is a clear theme going on. 

9. Floral Patterns

Who doesn’t love a good floral pattern on their pottery? While you can often find bowls with flowers printed on them, hand painted ones look much better. Plus, there is so much you can do with this idea! Think of your favorite flower and paint it over the bowl. 

Are you going to paint the same flower on each bowl, or will you mix it up? Use only a couple of flowers on your bowl for a more elegant touch, or litter it with plenty of flowers for a more rustic vibe. 

10. Berry Prints

This idea uses smaller prints of the fruit rather than turning the entire bowl into a segment of each fruit. This idea is super easy to create with just a few polka dots in one color to create the fruit, then a few painted lines for the leaves and stalks. 

Could it get any easier? And just look at the results! They’re both cute and amazing. 

Pottery Design Inspiration For Plates

Moving onto the big guns now, plates are some of the largest pieces of pottery to paint. Depending on the flatness of the plates, they can also be the easiest to paint. 

11. Polka Dots – Again! 

You can never go wrong with polka dots, so why not add them to your plate collection as well? This inspiration uses lots of dots to litter the plate with, creating a busy and hectic pattern. You could use something a little less busy, though, with just a few dots. 

Creating shapes out of polka dots is called pointillism and it is an art style that has been around for centuries. Makes sense why all of us want to use it over all of our pottery! 

12. Two-toned Patterns

Using two colors that will stand out from one another can be more interesting than painting with lots of colors sometimes. This is a super simple idea that can make your plates look elegant and rich.

13. Leaves

Leaves are a super popular design to paint on plates because they’re simple yet fun. You can paint each plate with a different leaf to make them different but still within a pattern. 

This inspiration idea takes close-up images of leaves and maximizes on their features instead of the entire leaf. However, you can paint the leaves however it feels right for you. 

14. Fruity Scenes

These plates are just too cute. Paint the background a fun pastel color and paint little fruits all over the plate. Take full inspiration from this picture if you want to and even customize the plate with your name! After all, everyone should know who the artist is. 

These plates are so dainty and sweet, and perfect for a pastel kitchen theme. They’re super easy to paint, too. What’s stopping you? 

15. Food On A Plate

If you enjoy the irony of eating food off of a plate that has food painted on it, then you’re going to love this idea. Another cute plate with a pastel background, this one features white splodges with yellow centers to resemble eggs. 

Of course, you could paint whichever food you want to. It could be cakes, donuts, broccoli, fish – anything you want! 

16. Cool Smudges

If you love an abstract look, then this plate idea could be the one for you. Again, an incredibly easy design that requires you to take a large brush and paint large smudges all over the plate in different colors and directions. 

Trust the process on this one, because while it might look wild as you’re painting it, the finished result will look amazing. Just take a look at this inspiration picture! 

Pottery Design Inspiration For Vases

Vases are large pieces of pottery and therefore have a lot of surface area to cover, meaning that you can cover them in as much detail as you want. Alternatively, you could still stick to the simpler designs – sometimes these are the best looking ones. 

Vases do tend to be more difficult to paint, however, as they are the most curved which can be difficult to navigate. With some practice, though, you’ll be able to paint them well in no time.

17. Simple Lines

We love painting simple designs on vases because they look amazing and don’t require too much skill. Just look at these three vases – they’re all so amazing yet hardly have any paint on them at all! 

A few lines and dots painted on in one color will take your vase to another level. Keeping the colors black and white will also mean the vase will fit into any interior design theme you have going on.

18. Floral Designs

Since your vase is mostly going to be holding flowers, why not take this as inspiration and paint some flowers that will never die? You can paint these on a glass vase so that you can still see the stalks through the painting.

19. Geometric Designs

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging but so worth the extra work, look no further than these vases. Each one tells a fun story – cow print, leaves against a pop of color, and geometric segments. 

These vases will look so cool with some dried flowers or pampas grass floating out of the top. 

20. Abstract And Colorful

Last but not least, we have an amazing design for vases – thick stripes of color with complimentary colors as the background. Add in a few polka dots for the fun of it and you’ve got yourself some bright and colorful vases! 


We hope that you have enjoyed this article and have gained some valuable inspiration from our list of ideas! These are all suitable for beginners, so don’t feel nervous about trying any of them out. 

If you are painting on pottery that you are going to be eating or drinking out of, make sure to use the correct type of paint and sealant to protect yourself. Have fun painting your own pottery!