Practicing Painted Ceramics

Posted by ginger On Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Note (7/21/2006): Since doing this project, I noticed that on the Dick Blick product page for these paints, they advise that these are "not recommended for use on surfaces that come in contact with food." The bottles of paint that I have show that they conform to the ASTM D-4236 non-toxicity regulation, meaning that they are certified non-toxic. In Adorn magazine, where these paints were featured, they write, "they are set when baked, so they're safe to eat on - and even to throw in the dishwasher!". I wrote an email to Pebeo Porcelaine today, and to Dick Blick, asking why they show the ASTM label but still advise against using it for certain applications. I may wind up learning a lot about ASTM, but I'd rather know for sure than to be unsafe! For now, I'm changing Tchotchke's new dishes so that she will be using something other than the dishes I made below, and l'll update this post when I hear back from either/both.

Note (7/24/2006): I heard back today from both Pebeo Porcelaine and Dick Blick. Pebeo Porcelaine sent me a Word document that said that "an application on the inner surface of a plate can be altered by using knives, forks (scratches...)" and by certain foods. In other words, not food-safe. The nice people at Dick Blick said, "These paints have not been FDA approved for use with food. They are for decorative purposes only. The non-toxic label is for the paint in the liquid form."

So in other words, it's an error in the feature of Adorn magazine where they state that (dishes painted on with Pebeo Porcelaine) are "safe to eat on." I'll send Adorn an email today to let them know what I found out, and hopefully they'll put something on their website and the next issue so other people will find out.

If any of you would like to see the Word document that came from Pebeo Porcelaine, just email me: ginger AT deepfriedkudzu DOT com and I'll send it to you.

Note (7/31/2006): I contacted the editors at Adorn, sent them both emails from Dick Blick and Pebeo Porcelaine, and this is what they emailed me back with a few days later:

"Hi Ginger. We have contacted Pebeo and have confirmed that the Pebeo Porcelaine Paint 150 used in our Adorn feature is food safe. The paint has been tested at Duke University, and was reported non-toxic and food safe for food contact.

Though the paint is non-toxic, it is not recommended for use on a dinner plate because sharp objects, such as a steak knife, could damage the design and bacteria could potentially become trapped in cracks caused by utensils. However, the paint itself is not harmful to ingest even if scraped off.

The reason the paint is not currently FDA approved is cost. The cost for FDA approval is approximately $50,000 per paint color, which Pebeo may pursue at a future time."
I appreciate the editors at Adorn looking into this, but I am going to still avoid the use of the paint on any surface that comes in contact with food just to be on the safe side.

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I mentioned a few days ago that in the new Adorn magazine, they had a feature on painting plates with Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paints - so I went to Michael's and bought a starter set, along with some new brushes to try it out!

Here's the setup: the magazine, the paints, brushes, a water bowl to clean the brushes, a paper plate as a palette, Windex (it takes the paint right off), paper towels, and a couple of bowls...


I thought I would just make Tchotchke (our cat) a couple of new food bowls (7/24/2006: important - see note above), and since I was just practicing, I decided to start with a really simple design - just a flower and some writing...


I painted the flower on, then took one of the paints that comes in a marker-like pen and wrote inside the bowl (writing on the inside of a bowl isn't easy! My handwriting is better than this, really! Promise!):


I did her water bowl next:


The paints have to set for 24 hours before they're baked, so the next day I took them and put them in a preheated 300* oven for 30 minutes. Here they are, all set!


Next time, I'll try something a lot more ambitious, but for now, I think these are fun. I'm going to a china shop tomorrow, so I'll pick up some new pieces for Leslie and me to paint later. Nice!

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