A little bit about what we do...
Paint your own pottery. Sounds simple (and it is!), but once you delve into the world of creativity within our studio you will discover that paint your own pottery means timeless keepsakes created by capturing a tiny babies footprints onto ceramics, the ultimate in personalised wedding gifts, unforgettable memories of a 6th birthday party with a difference or just simply something that you created with your own two hands.
We've also got a range of yummy snacks, fairtrade tea, coffee and hot chocolate as well as delicious thick milkshakes, and can cater to most dietary requirements - just ask!
But before you start be warned... pottery painting is highly addictive!
How it works...
Choose your item from our range of over 300 unpainted pottery shapes. At Top of the Pots, these items are known as 'bisque'.
Get painting! Your opportunity to get creative, using all of our stamps, sponges, brushes, stencils, stickers and 60+ different paints!
We'll take it from here! Leave your pottery with us, we will dip it in glaze and 'dry-foot' it to ensure it doesn't get stuck to the kiln.
Into the kiln it goes! Our kiln reaches 998°C on an average firing and a kiln cycle can take as long as 15 hours in cold conditions!
7 days after painting, your masterpiece is ready to collect! Remember which day you painted - you'll need this info on collection.
Over to you! Your new pottery is safe in the microwave and to eat from, but be aware it may craze in the dishwasher.
Frequently Asked Questions...
"Great little family business and fun for all the family, helpful staff and a nice little play house in case the little ones need to take time away from designing the masterpieces."
Q: Is there an age limit?
A: Not at all for painting! We have taken footprints from babies as young as one day old and have welcomed great-grandparents! The only exception is for castings and imprints, we will not take these from babies under 10 days old as their little bones are still very soft and fragile.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Our studio fee is £2 per painter and our pieces start from £6, the limit is up to you!
Q: How long does it take to paint?
A: How long is a piece of string! Young children and toddlers can tire of painting in 30 minutes or so, so we've provided a playhouse and chalk wall to entertain them while you add the finishing touches and enjoy your cup of tea! Adults and those with a keen artistic interest should allow around 2 hours, although we don't impose any time constraints, and if you don't finish in one day you can leave your item in our big blue 'To Be Continued...' dresser for up to 30 days and enjoy one return visit to finish it free of charge!
"Fantastic place to visit for kids and adults alike. So much to choose from to paint and friendly and welcoming staff. Can't ask for more than that.
Big thumbs up and 5 stars from me. Will definitely return."
Q: What facilities do you have?
A: We offer free off-road parking, baby change facilities and a fully wheelchair and buggy accessible studio. If you have any requirements please ask, we are proudly breast-feeding friendly, happy to turn off music for those with additional sensory needs, welcome pets and aim to be fully inclusive. We do not have a bathroom in the studio, however hand washing facilities are available and there are toilets in the main garden centre.
Q: When will it be ready?
A: After you've finished painting we thoroughly check, clean, glaze, dry-foot and fire your pottery. Once fired, we check it again, add any finishing touches such as stoppers on money boxes or backs to photo frames and carefully wrap your item ready for collection. This can take a full seven days, however if you need to guarantee your piece is ready in a hurry we offer a rush service of £3 per day, the quickest we can guarantee items is 48hrs.
Q: How do I look after my pottery?
A: Your finished masterpiece is food safe and as long as you didn't use metallic paint can be used in a microwave, take care when handling hot items. Most pieces will survive the dishwasher to a point but to preserve the finish and avoid crazing (tiny cracks under the surface of the glaze) we recommend hand washing. Some items produced in our speciality workshops are for decoration only.
Q: Will you paint something for me?
A: We do not charge to add a baby's name or up to three words for you, however we reserve the right to charge for large areas of text. We offer a commission service, priced based upon your requirements. More details about this can be found on the 'activities' tab.
Q: How do I do XYZ?
A: We have lots of tools, equipment and technique books and are happy to offer a helping hand to achieve the results you'd like, just ask! For some more complex designs such as silkscreens, lustres and gilding we ask that you book onto one of our skills workshops.
Q: Can we celebrate an occasion at Top of the Pots?
A: Yes! You will find more details about our packages and events under the 'what we do' tab.
"We attended a children's birthday party and it was fantastic! All the children had a great time! There's loads of different things you can paint. mugs, money boxes, plates and ornaments."