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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Happy Glaze Ceramics?
We are essentially a paint-your-own pottery studio. Our studio can seat up to 32 people, and we have tables which can seat 2, 4, 6 and 8 people. Our table layout is very versatile, and we are able to reconfigure the tables to suit your group. We stock household items as well as ornamental and novelty items. We cater to all ages and feel there’s something for everyone in our studio. We offer 36 colours and provide as much inspiration and guidance you need.
Are you open everyday?
We are usually open 6 days a week, Tuesday to Sunday, and open on Mondays during school holidays. Our week day opening times are 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday from 10am – 6pm and Sundays 11am – 4pm. On Thursday evenings we are open for adults only from 6pm – 9pm.
Do you do parties?
Yes, have a party table which seats up to 10 should you wish to book a pottery painting. Our Birthday party package are aimed at children age 7 and above. Check out our birthday activity page for more information. Our terms and conditions can be viewed here.
Can we bring hot food to the studio?
No please do not bring hot food to the studio. We find that the smell can be off-putting for other customers. Snacks like crisps, fruit and biscuits can be eaten at the table, but please bear in mind that bisque and sticky, greasy fingers do not mix. We do not recommend consuming food at the same time as painting. If you feel the need to eat, please wash your hands afterwards, before touching the bisque. If grease gets on the bisque, it causes a barrier and the glaze will not stick which can be very upsetting after spending time and effort creating your masterpiece.
Can we bring drinks to the studio?
Please feel free to bring a take-away coffee, or a bottle of drink to the studio. We provide complimentary tea and coffee or soft drinks which is included within your studio fee. Currently we offer filtered water, blackcurrant and apple or orange squash, Nespresso coffee (including decaf) and peppermint or builders tea!
Is there parking available?
There is 20 minute restricted parking on Waterloo Road, but Epsom has lots of car parks. Our nearest is the Ebbisham Centre, the Station car park and there’s also one in Hook Road.
Do we have to book?
Booking is highly recommended, especially at weekends and during school holidays. We have tables of various sizes, so just let us know how many people will be with you so we can reserve the correct size table for you. We have tables for two, four, six and if you have a larger group we can always put tables together to accommodate your group. We do not take a deposit when you book, but hope that a courtesy call is made in the event that you are unable to make the session.
How does paint your own pottery work?
Firstly you choose what you’d like to paint from our large selection of pottery pieces, Everything is individually priced ranging from £6 to £35. You are able to take the piece from the shelf, but please help younger children to do this as all breakages must be paid for. Once you have chosen, we will then run through how the paints work, and offer some tips and suggestions. There are also some basic rules to follow in order to get the most out of your visit. We are always on hand should you need any help or have any questions. We have free wi-fi in case you want to trawl the internet for inspiration! We find Pinterest a great place to start. You then leave your piece with us for between 3-6 days, during which we glaze and fire. The piece will then be ready for collection, during which we wrap in tissue paper and place in a paper bag.
Is there a studio fee?
Yes, there is a £5 studio fee per painter. Only the people actually painting pottery pay the studio fee. If there is an adult with 3 children and only the children are painting, there will be a £5 studio fee for the 3 children, a total of £15. The adult can happily sit and have a complimentary hot drink, having not paid the studio fee.
Why is there a studio fee?
The studio fee covers the use of paints, all the stencils, stamps and other tools, the glazing and firing in our kiln. It also covers some of the background costs of the ‘experience’ of painting, for example staffing, energy bills, rent and all the hidden costs that go unnoticed.
Do I have to pay the studio fee twice if I paint more than one piece of pottery?
No, the studio fee is £5 per painter for the 2 hour session, so you could paint a plate and a mug and you only pay the studio fee once.
What happens if I don’t finish in time?
We will keep your unfinished piece for one month and when you return to paint the finishing touches to your masterpiece we charge you just a half price studio fee of £2.50. If you finish this piece and start a new piece during this time, we will charge a full studio fee.
When can I collect my painted pottery?
Your painted pottery will be ready to collect in a maximum of 7 days. Once you have painted your pottery, you leave it with us to dry overnight. We then dip it in glaze and is left to dry. The piece is then loaded into our kiln and once we turn it on the firing cycle is 8 hours, with a 16 hour cool down. All the pottery is then unloaded and placed on our shelf, ready for collection.
We will send you a text message to advise that the piece is ready. Please collect your pottery as close to the collection date as possible. If you haven’t collected your pottery within 1 month you will get a phone call reminder and then the pottery will be thrown away if not collected within 3 months – we are limited for shelf space!
Do you charge any extras?
There are no hidden extras. You pay the £5 studio fee and the cost of the bisque.
Is pottery painting just for children?
No way! We have designed our studio for adults, as we believe everyone likes to create. We’ve created an environment aimed at adults, We often see parents come with the intention that they will sit and watch or help their children paint and within 10 minutes they themselves are happily painting with their kids. We are also open late every Thursday and from 6pm until 9pm it’s adults only.
How old do you have to be to paint?
There are no age limitations. It depends of the individual’s capabilities and attention span, We have had a 5 year old take 2 hours to paint a monster truck with no breaks! For the younger children, we’d recommend an adult being hands-on and helping, especially with the paint as we do not like to see a lot of waste.
Are the paints safe for children and babies?
Yes, all the paints and glaze are child safe. They are water based, lead free,non toxic under glaze paints and glaze. They do wash out from clothing on a 30 degree wash cycle, but don’t worry we have aprons for the little people should you need to use one.
At what age can I get a good hand print when pottery painting?
We recommend only trying a hand print when babies are over one year old. Any younger than a year babies tend to keep their hands clenched and it is virtually impossible to guarantee a good print. So we would always recommend a foot print for any babies under 1 years old.
Do you do the hand and foot prints on the pottery or do I have to do them myself?
Yes, we are happy to do the baby and toddler prints on the pottery for free, although during our busy times there may be a short wait. It is always worth calling us to book in prints so we know we are available to help. If you would like us to do any writing or painting of edges, there is a £4 fee per item. If you would like a more detailed commission artwork painted on your pottery piece, speak to us for a quote.
Do you sell drinks and snacks?
No, we offer complimentary drinks and allow snacks in the studio, but do not sell any.
Are the glazed and fired pottery pieces dishwasher and microwave safe?
The pottery is dishwasher safe, but not microwave safe. Please note however, that to keep the vibrancy of colours on your painted pottery, it is recommended that the item is hand washed with warm soapy water.
I’m not very creative and have never painted ceramics before. I wouldn’t know where to begin.
We hear this a lot! It doesn’t matter if you think you are not creative. We give you a run through of the basic rules and tips to get you started, and we are also on hand to guide you through the process should you need it We advise beginners to keep it simple – sometimes, less is more! We have inspiration tiles and items painted around the studio, which may be of interest to copy of even spark your own flair!
Why does my pottery have to be glazed and fired?
Our under glaze paints need to be glazed and fired to bring out the vibrancy of the colours and to make the pottery food safe. This means that items like plates, mugs and bowls are safe to use again and again. This process takes quite a few days, allowing drying times and the 24 hour firing cycle of the kiln. All good things come to those who wait.
How long does it take to paint pottery an item?
Well that depends on you and the piece you choose. It depends on the design you may wish to paint, it’s complexity, and potentially it’s size. But don’t presume bigger items take longer, it depends on the detail of the piece and your design. Our studio fee covers a 2 hour session, and we find that this is generally enough time to complete a piece. Children have a smaller attention span and generally will need less time. Please note that our session time of 2 hours is the maximum you can stay, don’t feel that you need to stay all that time if your children are ready to leave!
What happens if something goes wrong in the kiln?
If something goes wrong in the kiln, and yes it does happen on the odd occasion,we will give you a free session to come back another time and repaint your item. Our pottery is handmade and some items may be flawed in its first firing process, and so when fired for the second time with us, sometimes pottery items crack or break when in the kiln at such high temperatures. We take every precaution to ensure this doesn’t happen, but sometimes it does. It helps enormously if you do not eat whilst painting and wash grubby hands before touching the bisque.
Can I bring my own materials to Happy Glaze Ceramics?
You’re welcome to bring you’re own brushes, stencils, stickers, stamps and books but you cannot bring your own paint or bisque. This is because our paints are specific under glaze paints that have been tried and tested with our glaze and kiln settings. Using your own will mean we can not predict how it’ll react with our products and processes.
Can I bring my own pottery and use your paints?
Afraid not, our business is entirely run on the profits we make on painting pottery. These profits pay our rent, our staff and our bills. If we let customers bring their own pottery and just charge the £5 studio fee, the business will no longer be viable and we’d have to close down – and nobody wants that to happen do they?!
Can I leave my children with you?
Sorry, no. Our insurance and mental stability does not allow minors to be left in the studio without adult supervision. We recommend that children are supervised at all times, especially if they are little ones. If you need to pop out and your children are still painting, they can stay but remain your responsibility.
Do you offer a commissions service, as I really don’t want to paint myself?
Yes of course, we love to paint on your behalf and are happy to discuss any ideas you may have. We will do our best to source the item you’d like painted with any design of your choice. Anniversary plates are very popular but even just a personalised mug, especially for a teacher. Pop in or email us to discuss your ideas and we will put a quote together and get back to you as soon as possible.
Do you have late night openings?
Our late night opening is for adults only from 6pm until 9pm on Thursday evenings.
Do you have access for wheelchairs?
Our studio has very small step across the front door, and can be accessed by a wheelchair without any problem. Our toilet is at the back of the building and is very small, but other than that, we welcome wheelchairs!
How can I buy gift vouchers?
Vouchers from Happy Glaze Ceramics make a great gift for someone. Pop into the studio to purchase your voucher, they come in denominations of £20, £30, £40 and £50. These can be used for bisque and studio fee costs during our normal opening hours.