You will need:
Small plain teapot, milk jug, cup and saucer or mugs (I picked up mine at the local factory shop for £7.50)
China Paints - I use Pebeo as I have always been pleased with the results
Paint brushes, sponges (use non-scratch dish sponges) and stiff card
Old plate to act as your palette
Wash your china to ensure that all the sticky labels and grease are removed, dry them thoroughly.
Decide on your design - you can sketch it out on your crockery with Chinagraph pencil if you want to use it as an outline. Some ideas that you might like to use are snowmen, angels, bells, candles.... I was going to use mittens, scarves and bobble hats so the set can be used throughout the Winter and not just at Christmas but frankly they looked like Rorschach blots when I painted them. If you want to change the colour of your china, take a small amount of sponge, dip it into the paint and stipple it all over the china, give it five minutes to dry and then you can start to paint on your design. If like me you cannot paint well enough to forge a Constable, then cheat... think Emma Bridgewater and use a stencil and sponge dipped in paint, you can hold it in place with small scraps of sellotape... stars, hearts and polka dots will work really well. Another idea I had was to find black china and paint snowmen as even I can paint circles...
Paint on your design, the paints are usually tacky dry after a few minutes, if you make a mistake, wipe it off with a wet tissue and start over. Don't forget to get the children to sign it on the bottom, if only to help out the experts on the Antiques Roadshow of the future!
The china will need to fully dry for 24 hours. Your next step is to bake the china for 35 minutes at 150°C (300°F or Gas Mark 2) in your oven... now come on you have seen my baking sheets, did you really think I would show you the inside of my oven? Dream on, readers.
The great thing is that your work is now dishwasher proof and going to be used very regularly by proud grandparents.
I want to say a very big thank you to Judy Balchin who nearly 15 years ago did a workshop on china painting and I have never forgotten what fun she made that day!