Painting Pottery w/toddler? — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

Painting Pottery w/toddler?

I was thinking about taking DS to do some paint-your-own types of gifts for family this holiday season.  Has anyone done this recently, and if so, can you recommend a place that's really toddler friendly (we live in loudoun county)?  Also, any tips??  DS has a really short attention span, and I'll probably end up taking him on my own.
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Re: Painting Pottery w/toddler?

  • I don't have any recommendations for places, but I used to work at pottery place long ago so here are a few tips. (Wow, this got long, sorry).

     Most of them are pretty kid-friendly, especially during the day, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

    The turn around time is usually a week to get your pottery back, so make sure you plan for enough time. 

    Some places have smocks or aprons, but if you have one, take it.  The paint will wash out of clothes ok and off of your DS just fine.  Also if you have plain baby wipes on hand they are usually good for quick clean-ups.  Ones with aloe/other additives will muck up the pottery though.

    The glaze they use is tricky, because they recommend you use 2 - 3 coats of paint to get the colors to come out true.  This obviously isn't going to happen with a toddler so I recommend one of two things.  1.  Give him a few light colors to paint with first - yellow, pink, etc, then give him darker/bright colors to put on top.  Or 2.  just use the bright colors.  Colors like yellow are never going to show up on top of colors like blue.

    If you are trying to do handprints stay away from red (can come out looking like bloody handprints) or brown (muddy prints).  Light pink also isn't going to show up.  Try blue, green, orange, purple.  If you want, let your DS paint in the background and then put handprints on top.  Handprints are hard to get depending on age.  Don't be afraid to ask the staff to help, they should be used to it.  Don't try to smash his hand onto a plate, the longer his hand is on the plate, the longer he has to smear his fingers together.  Just try to get a quick print.

     Depending on how much patience and interest your DS has I wouldn't plan more than 30 minutes to an hour.  Of course you know his temperament, but I would focus on what your DS is painting and not try to do something yourself.  Mostly I would see the parents get into a large piece (see the 2 - 3 coats thing above) and the children would run out of interest long before mom or dad was done.  Come back with a friend on a night out :)

     Sounds like you are trying to do gifts - ornaments, plates, mugs?  Maybe google for some ideas before you go - it can be overwhelming when you first get there.  Also they will have "kid-pieces" such as banks, animals, etc.  Some kids get upset when they realize they are painting for other people and not for themselves (then again, some think it is cool, usually depends on age).  If you have a large amount of things to do, like 10, I would break up your trips, it doesn't hurt to ask for a discount.  Maybe on one of the trips let your DS paint something for himself.  Or maybe he would paint something for him while you are finishing up the presents with names or dates or whatever.

     Ask the staff for the best way to do whatever you are trying to do (handprints, writing, etc).  They will hopefully have good tips to help you get your pieces to turn out as nice as possible.


    Hmm, I'm in LoCo too with a 18-month old, maybe we should plan a pottery GTG :)

  • Thank you!!  Yes, I had simple gift things in mind (most likely plates) with handprints, for my parents/in-laws.  DS is high energy and has a short attention span, so I wouldn't dream of trying to do a "grown-up" piece with him in tow.  I'll be lucky to get hand prints done before he starts trying to escape!

    It would be fun to get together!  I work during the week but have some vacation days blocked out the Mon-Wed before Thanksgiving.  I was thinking about going one afternoon then.  If you're interested, shoot me an email (melissa dot govoruhk at gmail dot com)

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  • Wow, great tips!  My DD #1 is going to a pottery paint place for a 4 year old's birthday party soon.  Good to know all these details!
    Wife, Musician, Fed, WW-er, and Mom of three little kids - not necessarily in that order.
  • Yes, thanks for all the details!  I want to try this with Maggie soon.
  • Oh yay, I'm glad that was helpful.  Cupcake, I will send you an email later and we can plan something. It should come from a yahoo account, sbean.  Anyone else is Loudoun?  Wow, there used to be independent studios in Ashburn and Leesburg, but it looks like they are closed now.  Where are you close to?  There appears to be a Color Me Mine (like the Starbucks of pyop) in Brambleton.  I've only been here for about a year, but I think Brambleton is in Ashburn correct?  There are also studios in Chantilly, Fairfax and Falls Church.  I'm open to anywhere.

     Tracy, we just moved from Gaithersburg.  The Amazing Art Studio is very child friendly from what I remember. They also have plaster pieces you can paint and take home that day (which aren't as cute, but nice when you have impatient children).  I went to the store in Olney a few times to make gifts.  It was nice.

  • Sara--we're in Countryside, so Ashburn, Chantilly, or Fairfax would all be great!
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