The Art of Faux Ceramics: Effortlessly Transform Pots & Vases | Bronwyn Tarboton | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

The Art of Faux Ceramics: Effortlessly Transform Pots & Vases

teacher avatar Bronwyn Tarboton, Home Decor DIYer and Actor

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Creating a Ceramic Effect


    • 4.

      Making an Accent Pedestal


    • 5.

      Aging & Distressing Your Piece


    • 6.

      Exploring Two Tone Color


    • 7.

      Adding Clay Handles


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Unlock the power of ceramic effect paint and transform any object into faux pottery — part of the DIY Decor Learning Path!

If you had told Bronwyn Tarboton a few years ago that she would become a home décor DIYer, she would’ve laughed it off. As a Broadway performer the only craft she felt qualified for was acting. Then, during the pandemic things changed when some extra time in her schedule unleashed her inner upcycler. With a desire to fix up her home without breaking the bank, Bronwyn used found, broken, and pre-loved items to turn what others viewed as trash into home goods she truly treasured. Now Bronwyn shares her DIY tips and tricks with tens of thousands of other creative novices on social media as @nyctrashtotreasures. Today, she’ll reveal how you can use textured paint to make everyday objects look like high-quality stone. 

This project-based class will cover how to:

  • Achieve that coveted ceramic effect on any object
  • Create an accent pedestal
  • Age and distress your piece
  • Add unique details like clay handles and color blocking

Plus, Bronwyn shares a range of different techniques you can mix and match to create a truly personalized piece. Whether you’ve already dabbled in home décor DIY or you’ve never picked up a paint brush, this class will give you a head start towards the living space of your dreams!

In this class, Bronwyn uses baking soda, paint, a paint brush, a bowl, a chopstick, an old vase, soil, clay, and a glue gun to create her ceramic-like vases and accent pedestal. Depending on what you’re looking to transform you might only need your object, baking soda, a paint brush and some paint. For a refresher on essential techniques or for more project ideas, explore Bronwyn’s full DIY Decor Learning Path.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bronwyn Tarboton

Home Decor DIYer and Actor


Bronwyn Tarboton, the creative behind the Instagram handle NYC Trash to Treasures, certainly never imagined she would become a DIY expert. But when the pandemic hit, Bronwyn, who had been managing a busy Broadway acting career, found herself out of work with a lot of time on her hands. Soon, she turned her attention to improving her apartment but since she had a minimal budget, she found herself searching the streets of Manhattan for free furniture that she would fix up herself. Before long, she had run out of space in her home and started selling her pieces online for profit.

Now, if you visit her instagram page you'll be able to buy lightly refurbished items and stunning pieces that have been completely transformed by Bronw... See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: I love showing people just how easy it is to make something really cool from something totally undesirable. Hey. My name is Bronwyn Tarboton. I'm a broadway performer and content creator with a passion for home decor. When the pandemic hit, like many of us, I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. So I started transforming whatever furniture I could get my hands on and sharing my projects online. Now, my social handle, nyctrashtotreasures, has over 40,000 followers and has been featured in print and TV. In this class, I'm going to introduce you to the quickest and most inexpensive way to transform something ugly you might already have into a high-end decorative piece that looks ceramic or hand carved. I'm going to show you different ways you can use this technique to create a ton of different looks so that you can customize it to fit your style. All it takes is baking soda, paint, and a little imagination. You should take this class if you're an aspiring proctor looking for a low stakes, inexpensive way to makeover an object within minutes. Maybe you have some old-fashioned vases sitting around that you don't know what to do with, maybe you're looking for a cost-effective way to style empty shelves or a table, whatever your project. Once you try this simple but insanely effective trick, I'm sure that you'll be hooked and return to it time and time again. Let's get started. 2. Getting Started: Welcome. I'm so happy you're here. Today we'll be exploring one of my absolute favorite up-cycling tricks, because it's so easy and looks so good every time. These steps can be used to create totally different looks so you can easily customize and tweak it to fit your own personal style. Today, I'm going to show you how to turn thrift store vases into ceramic looking statement pieces. You can use the same effect on planters, lamps, and plenty of other objects. For the main effect, all you'll need is some baking soda and any kind of paint. We'll start with a basic effect use on an old vase. Then I'll show you how to create an aged pottery look just by adding some dirt. Then we'll experiment with color blocks. I'll show you how to use it on a bowl and a cup to create a pedestal accent piece, and we'll finish by playing with clay add-ons to make a decorative urn. To make the ceramic effect, you'll need some baking soda, paint, a paintbrush, and something to mix in. I use leftover Tupperware or plastic lids and a chopstick to mix the paint. Feel free to use anything you already have around the house. Then you'll need something to paint on. This paint will stick to glass, plastic, truly anything. I'm using glass vases because I find a ton being thrown out and thrift stores are overflowing with them, but you only need one to get started. If you want to level up your object even more, you'll use a second color of paint or dirt, clay, and some glue. Now you have everything you need to try this easy trick out for yourself. Join me in the next lesson to learn the basics of baking soda paint ceramic effect. See you there. 3. Creating a Ceramic Effect: [MUSIC] In this lesson, I'm going to introduce you to the quickest and most inexpensive way to transform something ugly you might already have into a high-end decorative piece that looks ceramic or hand carved. In Instagram, in home stores, you see these gorgeous vases and planters. You can get the same look with just using these basic materials that you probably already have around your house. You can use this effect on a plain clear vase. You can use it on a lamp, you can use it on a planter, on a bowl. This mixture will stick to basically any material. Any thrift store that you go to, you will be able to find a weird vase and you can paint over it so it doesn't matter the color. I would definitely not spend more than $10. This one was $3, which to me is pretty pricey. You can get them for 99 cents or just grab a vase that a friend got flowers in and is throwing out. You can also do it on a vase that has texture. Anything is going to work. The other materials you need are some paint. You can use any paint for this, so you can grab some at the craft store for a couple of dollars. I love using leftover wall paint because we always have extra. You can get some at the hardware store. This was $5 for this whole sample and I could probably paint 10 vases. You can do this with any color. Mine is a wall sample that was $5 and it's a beautiful stone color. Then you're going to need baking soda. You can also use baking powder. It's a little bit of a different texture, so I like the baking soda. Next, you're going to mix your paint. I usually use leftover takeout containers. Any container will work. Don't buy something, just find something. You'll pour your paint. You don't need very much. Then you're going to add in some baking soda, so you need quite a bit, almost think of the same amount as your paint but I would start with just a little bit and then stir it. To stir the paint, I usually use a leftover chopstick. You can also use the back of a fork, just anything that you have at home. You'll want to stir in the baking soda. I don't measure because every single paint is a little bit of a different mixture. You just want to feel it out. What you're looking for is the paint to be a little bit thicker and not so watery, but if you get to the point where you can't stir it or it's feeling tough then you've gone too far. Also, if you're not sure if you've gotten the right mixture, we're going to test it out on the vase and you'll be able to tell. You want to stir it really well. Now you can see it's getting a little bit thicker. That's what we want. Let's do a little bit more. If you're going for a smooth look, then you don't need as much baking soda. If you're going for a distressed thick chalky look, then you'll want a little bit more baking soda. Let's try out this paint because the only real way to tell is on the vase. Let's test out and just see how it's going on and it's sticking and it's not too sticky. That is about the texture that you're going for. So if it was sticky, I'd add more baking soda. If it was clumpy, I'd add more paint. I like to wear my vase as a glove, [LAUGHTER] so I don't touch the paint. I don't really care about the bottom being painted because it's just going to sit around and be decorative and it just makes it more messy when you're moving it around. You can also paint this in different ways for how you want it to look. I'm going for a pottery stone look so I'm going to paint it around. If you want a different look, you can go up and down. If you want it to be messy, you can just throw the paint on. You can do a brushed look. You can also just do messy and not worry about that. You can also create more of a stone look by dabbing. Some people really like that for planters. I like the brushed look. I don't mind seeing the brushstrokes, so we're going to go all the way around. Really, the only thing that can get weird with this project is if the paint's not dry and then you start to paint over it, the baking soda reacts weird with the layer below and it gets all peely and messy and it's hard to get back. I'll just do one coat, go over the whole thing. It's going to be a little streaky and weird in places. Then we'll let it dry and we'll come back and fix anything you need to fix with the second coat. I'm going to get as much as I can with my vase glove on. See, that is looking really cool. Now you want to rest it in a spot that you can leave it for a while to dry. Because if you keep moving it around and moving it around the bottom can get peely and start to peel off. Now we're going to paint the top. You want to go over the top rim and then go in a little bit so that when you look at it, it doesn't give it away that it's just glass. If your vase keeps tipping over, you can drop something heavy into it. If your vase is a different shape, you can just decide how far you want to paint down. You just want it to look nice when you're looking at it from a normal angle. So there's our first coat. It's already looking way cooler. I'm going to let it sit, wait for it to completely dry before I try to go over with another coat, and that is your first ceramic effect. So meet me in the next lesson and I'm going to show you how to use the same effect to create a pedestal [inaudible]. [MUSIC] 4. Making an Accent Pedestal: [MUSIC] In this class, we're going to make a pedestal accent bowl using this same ceramic effect. You can look up inspiration photos of pedestal bowls online, they're super expensive, and we're going to make one right now using just a couple of $. First, you want to pick out two things that you're going to glue together to make your bowl. I'm using this $0.99 bowl from Target, and then I have these other bowls from Target. This is a cup that I got from Goodwill. You can also use like leftover candles, anything that has a bowl shape, you want to get to that go nicely together. That looks pretty good. [NOISE] We can also do this one, that looks pretty good. You just want to play with it and grab a bowl and a cup or a planter or anything that's going to make a good base. But once you have your two things, all we're going to do is glue them together. You can use any type of glue for this that's going to work on the material you're using. I'm going to use a hot glue gun just because it will dry quickly and we can go right onto painting. You just want to make sure that your base is in the center of your bowl. That looks about good. Since I'm using a glue gun, so I won't be able to move it around after, I'm going to make a little mark. Just so I remember where I get it right on. We're going to be painting over this anyway, so it doesn't matter. Here we go. Great. Let's press it down. If you weren't using a hot glue gun, you could just put something heavy on it, and let it dry. This is another one that I made using a cup and a bowl, and I did it with super glue. So it's dry and also ready to be painted. To see you can make them in all shapes and really make it for however you want it in your place. Let's paint it. We're using the exact same ceramic mixture, we already mixed it. Great. Let's paint it. My glue seems pretty dry, so I'm just going to hold it by the bottom, paint the top. Technically, you could paint the bowl first, but now I don't need it, I wouldn't. Great. You can see this goes on plastic too, just as well as a glass. I think this will make a really cool stone color. I definitely would not use this for food. Just like the vases, it's really like a decorative piece. They look really cute on tables, you can put little plants in them, they look really cute next two vases. This plastic is like a little bit of a darker color, so I would definitely do a second coat on this. Don't worry if your first coat is streaky, we're going to let it dry and then just go back over it. My brush is falling apart. I think that's good for our first coat. I'm going to do a second coat, so I'm not too worried about the streaks. Let's drop it down. [NOISE] Then I know I might have to do a finger and fix this part. The bottom is good, just paint over my finger. That's your first coat on your pedestal bowl, I'm going to let it dry, and then go back over it with a second coat. Join me in the next lesson, I'm going to show you a fun way to add on to this ceramic effect to create totally different looks. [MUSIC] See you there. [MUSIC] 5. Aging & Distressing Your Piece: Now that you know your basic ceramic effect, I'm going to show you the easiest way to create a different look by using literally dirt from outside or your plant. You want to take your piece. These are both, it's a plastic picture and a glass face that I painted over two coats. This is how it will look once you've done both of your coats. I let these dry completely. Now, we're going to create an aged look using the dirt. I absolutely love using the dirt because it creates like aged vintage distress look that is in all of these stores right now, but it's really easy, you can't mess it up and it weirdly makes it look way more expensive. Let's do it in two different ways. The first way we're going to do is literally rubbing it on like it can't be less complicated. Take your dirt. This is just soil from a plant, nothing special. I'm just going to take it in my hand and I'm going to rub it on trying to replicate the idea of like if this picture had been just rolled around. I live right by a pottery barn so I see this work all the time. Now that you'll see it, you'll laugh, you'll be like, that's $60 and I know how to make it. Little imperfections like this are totally fine. That's what we're going for. You want to be careful not to rub too hard since we did just paint this. But then again, if the paint chips it goes along with that same look. I'm doing it on the bottom where I might've gotten dirty, trying to keep it asymmetrical. Now we'll do some on the top. Let's just take some and rub it all over the top here. Just want to make it look not quite so clean. If you want it to really make it look more aged, you can even add some other colors, some blacks, some brown. Let's rub off all the extra, the more random the better. Hand marks are fine. Cool. I'm going to leave that one there. I like it when it's random and you can add on more dirt or less. But this is like that, farmhouse rustic look, you could put flowers in it. I'm going to leave this one and go on to our next way to use the dirt. There's that. For this next way, I'm going to mix up some dirt with water into a little bit of a mud paste. You take your same dirt and pour just a little bit of water in. I have endless chopsticks from takeout that I wish they wouldn't give me. We're just stirring in the water. You want to keep adding water until it's a little bit of a mud mixture, a consistency that you could paint on. Great. We have our mud mixture. Let's just see what it looks like on and then we can adjust as needed. I'm going to try a foam brush for this. You want it watery enough that you can paint it on. I like it when it's super uneven and super inconsistent. Just throw it on, don't think about it too much, and then we're going to rub some off. This is a really cool look on lamps. If you want to create those thick ceramic aged lamps, this works really well. We're rubbing it all over. It's okay if you don't get all of it because that can just be the normal paint part. Let's do some on the top. We have the dirt on. Let's play around with it. Let's rub some off and see how it looks. This is where you choose your own journey. You can dip the rag back in the mixture, you can rub it off. Just be careful again with your paint that you don't totally nick your paint and chip it. I want it to be inconsistent, so I'm not going to be careful with it just trying to get it off. I'm going in a vertical motion. I just like the way that looks. I really like when some parts are muddy and thicker, so you can really lean into that. You really can't mess this up so you can go with whatever the dirt's doing. If this isn't happening, you can just dip your rag in the water. The paint is a little bit thicker. If you're doing one like this, you can really put a lot of paint on it and not worry about how you're brushing it and it'll come out really cool. Almost done. I'm just going to get the dust off. This is where you can decide. If you want it to be more muddy, you can keep adding layers and layers on. We are done. I think this looks really really cool. I have one just like this sitting in my apartment. Here are two dirt looks. I will see you in our next lesson where we will be playing with two-tone color. 6. Exploring Two Tone Color: In this lesson, we're going to use our basic ceramic effect to create a two-tone or dipped look. I'm starting with two vases that I painted over using the basic ceramic effect in a terracotta color. This color was also a wall sample. I'm looking at these West Elm vases that are terracotta and white for my inspiration. You can either paint a straight line or a curved line. You can also tape it off or you can freehand it. I find I get a better line if I free-hand it because sometimes the tape line isn't perfect. I know a lot of people are freaked out by free-handing so in that case you can tape right on your vase. We're going to create a straight line with tape. You just take your painter's tape. You want to align the tape up with wherever you want your other color to stop. I'm going to paint the top in white and then I want to stop right here. That's where I'll put the tape. Let me just pull some out. I'm just gently pressing it on. You can also do this before you paint the color. I just find it a little weird then to paint the other color. This way is easiest for me. Now we have our painter's tape on and now we're going to paint. I'm using the basic ceramic effect white paint. I want to do my dip from the top, so I'm leaving the bottom as is and then I'm just going to brush over the top. The inspiration that I am going for is a brushed, not completely filled-in look on the top. I'm just dry-brushing it on and not worrying if it has full coverage, but if you want, you can really lay it on thick and make sure that you can't see the other color through. I think this looks really cool and so once you have some paint on your vase, you don't need as much baking soda because the paint's already going to stick to the other paint. I wanted to leave some of the terracotta showing through, but I don't want it to look like an accident, so we'll see. This is really fun because you can really use any color and also any shape combination. You can use the same colors to create almost an unlimited amount of vases. Now that we're close to the top, I'm just going to make sure we have everything we need and you could paint in. I don't mind because it has just the terracotta showing through so I'm going to paint the top rim and not go super far down. I'm just going to set that aside for a second while I do my other one. Let's try a curved line on this one. If you want to use painter's tape, you can. You can just curve the tape. You might have to use multiple different pieces to create the shape that you want. I just find it easier to freehand. I'm just going to put some paint on and see what happens. I want to start from the top, but then I might just do a little bit of a curved line on the bottom. Let's see. I guess I'm going down in because I went down in a little bit. See, I really like that with the color showing through. Let's see. Let's make a little bit of a curved line, so let's try, and I'm really liking this brushed look so I don't want to get too intense with it. If you were doing a filled-in curved line, I would start really making a nice line and then color in. I like how some showing through. I'm just brushing it on and seeing how it goes. I'm really happy with that. I like it showing through. I like how it's an even but uneven line. I'm going to set that aside and let's pull our tape off this first one. I never have as much luck with tape, but I think it's working. We are finished. I hope you can see that you can make tons of different looks using these colors and this two-tone effect. Join me in our next lesson where we are going to do our final effect using clay to add on a ton of different looks to these vases. I'll see you there. 7. Adding Clay Handles: [MUSIC] Now you are becoming an expert on our faux ceramic effect. We are going to take clay and I'm going to show you how you can create different shapes and add-on to any vase to create a totally different look. This one you can get really creative with so I would definitely look up some fun vases with different types of handles. You can look up a squiggle vase, a vintage urn, look online, find some fun examples. Basically, any little extra handle shape, we're going to make that with clay. These can be really expensive and we're going to do it with like $5 clay. There's a bunch of ways that you can do this. This was a little plain glass face and I added these little wings onto it. First let's start with just our basic straight up and down vase. I've done one coat of the ceramic effect in white. For this project, you can use air dry clay or oven baked clay. I recommend using air dry clay if you're using a vase that's more curved, and you want the clay to really fit to it because the oven baked clay morphs a little bit in the oven and then it doesn't quite match. It still works. You can just fill it in with glue and paint over it, but that's just what I've found to make more sense for me. First let's do our straight up and down vase. We're going to make this into like a really cool abstract thing. Urban Outfitters I think has one called the Georgia vase or something. Using this polymer clay, I'm just going to take [NOISE] some out and start rolling it. I'm looking to create a bunch of handles to go down the side. Actually just two on either side. We're rolling it out. I want to get it so it's fairly smooth, pretty even all the way down. Once you have your roll, you're going to cut it into handles, like to trim the end, and then let's just test out a handle size. I'm just making a curve and let's see how that looks. I got really lucky that [LAUGHTER] happened to be a good size. But if it's not, you can just practice. That's the size I like, so now I'm going to use that as my little template and cut however many other handles that you want to match. Then you're going to form them into the shape that you want. I'm going for them to go right onto the vase. Great. This is a flat edge, so I can basically just lay them out and make sure they're pretty [NOISE] flat. I'm going to do that with all four. A little trick I found with the oven baked clay. I can shrink and morph in the oven so when I'm making these for the straight vase, I sometimes pull them out a little bit extra. That way when they shrink back, it'll be almost flat. You can also just fill it in with glue, and it's fine. But little trick that I tried. They don't have to be exact because we're going for like a handmade pottery look. I feel pretty good about this and now we're going to put them in the oven. You can put them on foil, you can put them on your baking sheet, just whatever your clay instruction says, and then you'll take them out. Here's some that I premade, and they're out of the oven. They're nice and hard. Let's glue them on. I'm going to use a hot glue gun because that way they stick right away. You can also use other glue, but you'll have to tape it on and balance to wait for them to dry. Let's take our handle, just eyeball where we want them to go. I basically want them right at the bottom. Here we go. I'm going to do glue on the handle, and then just press it in and hold. Great. That's what's so great about the glue gun, is like now that's on. Let's do our others. That's what's so fun about this clay is you can really make any shape that you can imagine. There's some crazy vases online and you can really go crazy and make all of them. I'm doing two sides, so I just want to eyeball it and make sure that they're somewhat directly across from each other. Make sure they're fairly even. If you really screw it up you can just rip them off, and go for it again. Try not to get as much extra glue as I did, and eyeball it. Okay, great. Now we have our little handles on. I think it looks super cute. I'm just going to let that dry for a second while I mix up my paint and get ready to paint over it. Let me show you a little bit of how the air dry clay works if you want to use that. I tried a bunch of clays on this and the cheapest Crayola clay is my favorite, it sticks really well. [NOISE] You're going to open your clay and same thing, just make whatever shape of handles you want. If you want to make these wing handles, you'll roll a little ball, smash it, cut it in half and then you have your little wing that you can shape however you want. I'm going to make some urn handles. Just rolling the clay. I'm going to shape it into two handles, trying to roll it out, getting it smooth. Same thing with this one. I'm going for like a distressed vintage look so it doesn't really matter if it's super perfect. To get ideas for these I just look all over online. Once you try making these, you'll start seeing them everywhere. Like I was watching TV last night and in the background, they had like vases with handles on and I was just looking past trying to figure out how I can make those in clay. I have my roll. I like to trim the ends just so I'm working with the same thing on both sides. Let's start a little bit long, so I can always trim. I'm going to take that, and just start shaping it onto the vase. This is the air dry clay, which is nice because you can keep working with it for awhile until it dries. Let's do that like halfway down. Let's see if we can get one to match on the other side. Then once we like our handles, we will have to glue them. But right now I'm just making sure that we have a shape that we like. This one's better. Let's trim it. Take my advice and start a little long and then we'll get shorter. Press it on a little long we'll just trim it. With your air dry clay, you want to press it on a little bit so it's basically in the shape you want. Then you want to get some glue. I'm using superglue for this. We're just going to peel it off carefully, put the glue on the handle, and then put it right back where we had it. That way while the clay is drying the glue can also be drying, then you'll be set and you can paint over it. Obviously, these are not like strong handles that you should hold the vase by. This is just [LAUGHTER] for fun and for decoration. There's that one. Let's paint our other one. If you're having trouble with them sticking you can also, I think it's called scoring it. You can take a needle and make hashed like little cross marks. I haven't had problems with mine sticking with this glue. You can also do this directly on the glass before you paint. This one I already have a first coat on. Now that your glue is on you can just make sure before it hardens that your clay is in a shape that you like. I feel like mine are a little uneven but that's just going to be the look. You can smooth it out. Now I'm going to set this aside for the glue and the clay to dry before painting a coat over it. These are the oven bake handles that we glued on and now I'm going to paint over all of it. This is the basic ceramic affect, white paint mixed with baking soda. Let's paint over it so that it looks like one cohesive piece [MUSIC]. There you have it, finished with our second coat. I wish I would have done a little bit less glue so that it didn't poke out. But I still think it looks really cool. The air dry one, I'm going to leave to dry and then just do the same process, painting over the handles. I hope you see that you can make a huge range of things. I hope you've had as much fun playing with this clay as I have. [MUSIC] 8. Final Thoughts: That's how you turn a box of ugly vases into stunning home decor. These are fit for any mantel, shelf display, or tablescape in your home, and you can do this project for under $10 total, or for free if you use stuff you already have. I hope you are excited to start experimenting with this technique. When you do, please upload the before and after pictures in the project gallery. I cannot wait to see what you transform. Thank you for taking this class. I look forward to seeing you in the next one.