I was scrolling Facebook the other day and came across a picture of someone’s really pretty painted Christmas tree plates. They posted a link to them and of course I clicked on it to check them out and asked Tom if I could go ahead and order the same ones because I loved them. His response, of course, was “you could make those yourself.” And naturally that got the wheels in my head turning and I accepted the challenge. I figured if they turned out awful he would have to let me order the plates I wanted, but my DIY plates actually turned out pretty well and I love that I did them myself! I’m no artist (I’m whatever the opposite is – I have no natural art talent) and I still found this pretty easy and quick to do. They key is that they are supposed to be imperfect. So basically anyone could do this, don’t be intimidated!
Here’s my inspiration plates:
Don’t want to do them yourself? You can buy these ones for $29 each but the ones I made end up costing about $3 each and you get the street cred of telling everyone they were DIY.
What you need:
*Dishwasher Safe Enamel Paint (I used Folk Art brand and only used red, green, white, and gold metallic)
*White Plates (I used Better Homes and Garden ones from Walmart but any would work. I really liked these ones because they are a little irregular shaped like the inspo ones).
*Paint Brushes (size #2 and #6 work well for this)
What to do:
Start by cleaning the plates really well. I wiped them down with hand sanitizer (closest thing to rubbing alcohol I had) after washing them with dish soap.
Blend your paints and experiment to find just the colors you want to use. I used white to lighten my green, and just a dab of green in the red to deepen the hue a little bit. I mixed a couple of different shades of green before starting because I knew I wanted a darker shade for adding detail.
Now it’s time to paint! Using a detail brush (probably a 2 or 6) you’ll want to start with one of the darker green shades and making a line that will be the trunk of your tree so that you have a sense of where to put the tree before starting. Next you’ll pick up a little of the lightest green you are using and start working on the tree branches going from top down. I did my best just to copy the inspo picture I was using but the great thing is they are supposed to look imperfect so you can really do it however you want here. Once you are done with the light green layer of tree branches you’ll want to use a clean brush and pick up some of the darker green to add detail on your branches and go over the trunk again to clean it up a little.
I couldn’t find any brown enamel paint so I used the gold paint instead to go over the trunk of the tree and add a little shadow under the tree and it ended up being really pretty so I’m glad I went that route! The last step is just to take your smallest detail brush and red enamel paint and add little birds on the trees. I thought this was the funnest part!
Once you are done you’ll want to let your plates air dry for about an hour. Then bake the plates in your oven per the directions on the enamel paint you are using. For the paints I was using it was to put them in a cool oven then set to 350 and set the timer for 30 minutes, turn off the oven, and leave them in there to cool!
I’m using these plates just for decoration and although the paint is dishwasher safe I wouldn’t trust utensils not to scratch up the paint. If you did want to do painted plates that you actually eat off of you would probably want to do some type of design only on the rim of the plate!
So yeah. I really enjoyed doing this and thought it was super easy and relatively quick and something I love using for decorating our dining room table. They would also make great gifts and I’m thinking about making some more for that reason. I’ll definitely be trying it again with plates for other holidays (I’m thinking Easter ones would be super cute)!