How to Decorate Homemade Plates

Written by lisa mcquerrey
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How to Decorate Homemade Plates
Decorated homemade plates can be fun to eat on. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Homemade plates are typically made from pottery clay and fired in a kiln to ensure long-term strength and durability. Decorations for homemade plates vary, depending on whether the plates are designed to be purely decorative, or if they are intended for practical, everyday use. For homemade plates that will be used as serving dishes, select only decorating materials that are clearly marked as being safe for food.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Homemade plates
  • Food-safe glazes and paints
  • Pottery kiln
  • Paint brushes
  • Sponges
  • Potter's wax

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  1. 1

    Select a food-safe glaze or glazes to decorate homemade plates. Glaze can be applied to homemade plates once they have been kiln fired. Use paint brushes, stencils, sponges or other faux finishing tools, like brushes and combs, to create unusual and organic patterns, such as waves, stripes or curls. Fire the homemade plates again following the glaze manufacturer's guidelines.

  2. 2

    Allow glazed, fired plates to fully cool before removing them from the kiln. Further embellish by applying glaze-resistant waxes and additional layers of glaze, or by painting designs on the surfaces. Ideas for designs include scrolls or floral patterns around the rim of the plate or a floral or geometrical pattern on the centre of the plate. Re-fire the homemade plates again and repeat the reglazing process as often as necessary to achieve the desired design.

  3. 3

    After cooling, add additional clay embellishments, if desired. Consider gluing raised elements around the rim of the plates, such as glazed pieces of clay sculpted into decorative balls, or premade pressed or stamped decorative clay pieces.

  4. 4

    Add finishing touches to homemade plates by trimming and highlighting various design elements with food-safe decorative paints. Consider adding gold or silver flourishes around the rim of the plates. Or paint delicate scrolls around the centre of the plates.

  5. 5

    Allow homemade plates to dry completely and seal with a food-safe spray sealant, if desired.

Tips and warnings

  • If homemade plates are to be used for decorative purposes only, add wall-hanging hardware to the backs of the plates so they can be displayed.
  • Some pottery glazes have texturising elements that create a somewhat rough surface, which some people may find to be undesirable when used for serving food.
  • Wash handmade decorated plates carefully after use. For best results, hand wash in warm, soapy water using a mild detergent and a non-abrasive cloth.

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