Personalising melamine plates with glass or enamel paint is a simple process anyone can do. Children can imprint their handprints for posterity as a gift for Mom and Dad or you can script a monogram in the centre as a wedding gift. Once personalised with glass or enamel paint, the plates are dishwasher safe, but are for decorative purposes only and should not be used for food service.
Purchase the plate at any discount store and find the paints at your local craft supply store. Glass and enamel paints adhere well to a slick surface. Most glass paint and some enamel paint require baking to set the colour and make it dishwasher safe. Read the instructions on the paint to determine which kind you prefer.
Decide how you wish to personalise your melamine plate. For a handprint plate, apply the colour to the child's hand with a paintbrush rather than allowing the child to dip his hand into the paint. This will ensure that all of the lines and crevices have colour and there are no blobs or runs. Press the child's hand in the centre of the plate with the fingers spread. After the handprint dries, cover it with paper and let the child decorate the border of the plate with squiggles, stripes, flowers or any other design. Paint the child's name and date on the back of the plate.
Personalise a plate with a monogram in the centre by first making a template of the monogram. Create the monogram on the computer using any word processing program with a variety of fonts. Print it out in the size you would like to have it on the plate. Cut out the centre of the monogram but leave the border of the letters intact, effectively creating a stencil. Tape the stencil to the plate and paint the opening. Stencil brushes are round with a flat tip. Dip the tip of the brush into the paint, and then remove most of the paint by dabbing the brush onto scrap paper. This eliminates the excess that may run outside the edges of your stencil. Dab the paint onto the plate, then remove the stencil. Decorate the borders as you like.
Bake the plate according to the paint manufacturer's instructions. This will set the paint and make it last longer.
For more translucent colour, use stained glass paint to personalise your melamine plate.
Do not serve food on the painted plate.