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Ceramic Figurine Makeover Ideas

August 04, 2021

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Today, I have a little bit of whimsy to share.

And it's all thanks to a tiny cow piggy bank that I found last week at the thrift store.

Now you might've thought I grabbed him simply because he's cute, which is true.

He's absolutely adorable.

Ceramic Cow Piggy Bank

However, the real reason was that I needed a subject for a little experiment I've been wanting to try out for years.

You see, I often find second hand ceramic figurines with faces that I think are sweet. But due to their decoration, I pass.

Either the colors are wrong, or the paint is chipped or they're monogrammed or outdated.

Or most often, they look like they belong in a nursery.

Like my little cow piggy bank.

That wouldn't work with my grown up decor.

And you know me, I'm all about a good makeover, but these figurines are vexing.

I can never figure out a good way to make them over and get an elegant, cottage style result.

And one that I can accomplish in minutes, with ease.

Oh, I've seen the awesome makeovers with that stone look spray paint. Very nice, but I'm always looking for something a little softer. That I could display inside.

Maybe even something useful.

So when I saw this tiny guy, I thought, challenge accepted. Let's make you over.

And he came home with me.

If you remember, here's where we started.

Tiny Cow Piggy Bank For Baby Boy

An adorable piggy bank that probably began its life as a party favor or a baby shower gift. Not at all appropriate for my home. 

I also wasn't a super huge fan of the chipped black and white paint.

And the blue star had to go.

So first things first, I had my spray paint guy dig through the cans and tell me what we had hiding in the garage.

Turns out, we had a tiny bit of white satin. I think I would've preferred a matte, but at 7pm on Sunday evening, I was in no position to be choosy, so white satin it was.

Here is my screaming DIY disclaimer. Painting over glazed ceramic is tricky.

The paint stays tacky for a long time and it doesn't always adhere well. I recommend Krylon or Rustoleum and ones that are paint and primer combined.

That's your best bet.

Wipe Ceramic Surface With Alcohol

To mitigate these hurdles, he wiped it clean with alcohol, gave it two good coats and set it aside in the garage.

Spray Painting A Ceramic Figurine

By this afternoon, my little moo was dry enough to start decorating.

That was the challenging part.

Spray Painted Ceramic Cow

I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with him. I opened my craft closet, let the supplies and the ideas spill out onto the sofa and started playing.

At first I considered giving him a face again.

But I didn't want to experiment with paint and mess him up permanently, so I vetoed that idea quickly.

Next, I started thinking that I might use him seasonally. I had some old fall stickers left from another project and some tags from an old Halloween banner.

Give Thanks Tag

They naturally went together and made a tiny sign.

It was an easy way to cover up that star, without looking like he was hiding something.

I thought, he'd look sweet next to a few pumpkins, holding the mini banner, maybe on a fall table next to the fireplace.

Then I decided to add a raised floral sticker to the other side, so he'd could sit out in spring or summer, as well.

Just flip over the tag and presto chango, look at him go.

Small Floral Banner Tag

A cow for all seasons.

With two really good ideas on the table, literally, I considered a simpler way to camoflauge that star. 

By adding the flowers directly to him, I was able to show off more of his charming little shape.. I stuck one right over the star impression and another on his foot. Just for fun.

I didn't push the flowers all the way down, to give the piece some dimension.  A quick tap was all it took to adhere.

Ceramic Cow Makeover

Overall, I was super pleased. I loved this idea more than the first.

So that's the design I went with...for now, anyway.

Of course, with a teeny spot of hot glue, he could be proclaiming the arrival of fall and / or spring to the world.

Today, a reader left another great suggestion - I could use a paint marker and add a Rae Dunn style word. 

I do love options.

Speaking of, my new friend offers lots of those as far as use, too.

Cute Cottage Style Cow Decor with flowers

For example, he could add an enormous amount of charm to the room, with his presence alone.

Or...since he is still technically a piggy bank, I could keep my coins inside, saving up for a rainy day.

Or I could write my daily affirmations on paper and stuff them inside.

White Cow Piggy Bank

Or he could become my own personal worry jar of sorts. Write them down, fold 'em up and hand them over to the cow, where I'm sure he'll keep them locked up nice and tight.

Or wait!! Think about the holidays and the possibilities.

So many ideas.

I have to say, now that I've had great success (if I do say so myself) with this makeover experiment, it has me thinking about all those other shiny ceramic faced figurines I've passed up.

And how I won't be doing that anymore.

Do you makeover ceramic friends?

Cute Ceramic Figurine Makeover Before Photo

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Cecelia! I love peeking in his direction now.

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  2. Cute! You could have written on her, and made it like a Rae Dunn. Next time!

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    1. FABULOUS idea!! I'm going to add that to the post immediately and credit you. Thank you so much!!

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  3. Kim he was adorable but you made him even cuter. Such a cute re love. Have a great day. xoxo Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris!! He was adorable and I just couldn't leave him on the shelf. I do love the flowers though! xxoo

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  4. Kim, she turned out so cute! I love the makeover. BTW I'm back on IG and I'm following you now.

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    1. Oh! I'm going to have to go check and follow you back!!

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  5. It's adorable! Ceramic is tricky painting Ceramic.

    Even chalk paint takes sanding.

    Love the pretty updates.

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    1. It IS tricky, Cindy. You’re so right! That’s another reason why I shy away from those makeovers. Chalk paint is another great idea. I’ll have to keep it in mind. Thanks!!

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  6. Oh Kim, he turned out adorable, in spite of the tricky paint! It's time to give him a name, though....

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    1. Oh, you're right, Ann. He does need a name. I'll have to put my thinking cap on. Of course, I'm always open to suggestions!!

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  7. Kim, what a masterpiece!
    I love the idea of him as a sort of zen pig who can hold all your worries. Isn’t it great that a lone little unloved piggy bank can be brought back to life and purpose with a blog post to boot! I love it.

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    1. Thanks Susan! He is a little zen guy!! It was my daughter who suggested that I put my worries inside...I mean he does have that little slot. I think he was made for it!! 😊

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  8. This is not something I would have ever thought of! I'm so surprised that the paint works. He turned out so cute. I like the worry adiea too. You could look at them later and see that most of them never even turned into a problem. :)

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    1. Great idea, Mari! I bet I could check back and find that out...at least I hope so! And yes, glazed ceramics are tough. I guess that spray is tougher!

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  9. Another great idea, he turned out perfect!

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    1. Thanks so much, Rhonda!! So glad you like it!! I was a little skeptical at first, but I’m glad I found a few cute idea options.

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  10. This little guy is adorable! I liked it before and I like it after. I think you might find that Dixiebelle’s Slick Stick would work beautifully on the ceramic before painting and you could use any paint. This stuff is magical for me! I’m actually surprised your flowers aren’t red…lol!

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    1. Awesome suggestion!! Thank you so much. I've never heard of that, but I will surely investigate anything that would make this kind of project easier. And believe it or not I did consider red...I just happened to have the white flowers on hand!! 😂

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  11. I would never have even thought to makeover a ceramic piece, so I'm in awe of your talents! I just love the little flower on his foot! Great job!

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    1. Thanks so much, Amy! I sometimes see things in my head that I can't find in the stores. A good can of spray paint usually closes the creative gap!

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  12. So much cuter painted white - he's adorable! Love that you plan on changing him up for the seasons. I really like the worry jar suggestion (thinking back to your post last week). Time to head over to Goodwill to look for a ceramic piggy bank because I think our house could use an adorable worry jar! I mean, we already have an overflowing cuss box. LOL

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    1. Oh, I'm so sorry you found this little makeover inspiring, Marie! If you make a worry jar, you have to let me know. And yeah, the cuss box...been there!! Haha!

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  13. Cute, Kim! So nice you have a willing assistant to help you.
    Brenda

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    1. Thanks Brenda! He's a huge helper. I'm just the idea girl a lot of the time...especially when it comes to spray paint!

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  14. I have wondered about doing just what you did. Now I know it works. YAY! And I will be on the look out for fun ceramic pieces to do just what you did. FUN!

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    1. Thanks Carla!! I was happy with the way he turned out. I think it might become an addiction!

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  15. Kim, the little cow is adorable and so are you., but I already knew that! I saw your photo underneath this post, but I don't do instagram or facebook, so I will tell you here..xxoJudy

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    1. Thank you, Judy...my cow thanks you and I thank you. We're actually both blushing! xo

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  16. Kim,
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!
    What a cute makeover that i would have never have thought of!! But I sure will give it a thought next time I see a ceramic that is cute but does not quite fit in with my decor!!
    Hope you are having a great weekend!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. Thanks Debbie! I love all your under sea the colors. They are perfect for summer. So nice of you to come by... enjoy the week! Hugs!

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  17. Lovely picture of you Kim! I like what you did with the cow. I've seen several bloggers repaint figurines like yours. It's on the bucket list. Someday I'll find my moo, or kitty, or bird, or owl, or pumpkin, or doggy, or whatever.

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    1. Thanks so much, Florence! I've seen a few cement look painted figurines lately, too. They inspired me to give it a try. I hope you find your own ceramic muse!

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  18. This is so cute! And I love the story behind it!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I had fun with this makeover.

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  19. Very cute, Kim! Great ideas!

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