Newspaper Resist

I use the newspaper resist method a lot with my students, so I thought I’d share some of the techniques.

I use slips mainly because they are cheaper than under-glazes. I mix up a white slip using roughly 50 percent china clay and 50 percent ball clay. I achieve the colours using 10 percent body stains that I buy from Potclays. I sometimes mix up a blue slip by adding 2 percent cobalt. I always put the slip through an 80s mesh prior to use.

Before applying any colour I always cover the pots to be decorated with a white slip. If the pot is a plate then I will pour the slip inside and pour it out again. If the pot is, say, a large coiled vase shape then I will pour the slip inside the pot and pour it out again then leave the pot to dry overnight and then paint 4 layers of white slip onto the outside allowing the slip to dry between layers.

The pot is now ready for decorating. You may want to add colour to the pot before applying any newspaper, for instance if you are trying to create a landscape then you may want to add greens and browns for the land and blue for a sky.

The newspaper is cut with scissors for simple shapes and using craft knives and cutting mats for more complex shapes. Because printed newspaper can be quite distracting for cutting complex shapes, I sometimes use blank newspaper print. Colour is applied using sponges.

Method of applying newspaper resist to a tile:


Pattern drawn onto paper


Pattern cut out creating essentially two stencils.


Background colours sponged onto tile


Stencil applied to tile


Coloured slip applied with small sponge


Stencil removed


Second stencil applied


Slip applied with sponge


Second stencil removed.

Here is a method of using newspaper resist to create a stain glass effect;

newspaper resist plate

The plate still in the press mould with a newspaper decoration applied


newspaper resist plate

Black slip is now stippled onto the spaces between the newspaper using a sponge.

newspaper resist plate

The newspaper is now removed

newspaper resist plate

Strips of newspaper are now applied over the black lines overlapping them slightly.

newspaper resist plate

Colour is now sponged on.

newspaper resist plate

The newspaper is now removed!

newspaper resist plate

Finished plate.

The following is a more complex stencil;

newspaper resist

A blank newspaper stencil is applied to the pot.


newspaper resist

Black slip is now applied using sponges. 

newspaper resist

The newspaper stencil is removed.


newspaper resist

The finished pot!

Here is a “stain glass” window style pot. The stencil was just a series of random shapes:

coil coil1 coil2 coil3 coil4coil5


The following pot is made with multiple simple stencils:

coil6 coil7 coil8 coil9


This pot uses a more complex “graffitti” style stencil:

coil10 coil13


Two more newspaper stencil pots;

coil11 coil12



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