Blank melamine plates are surfaces that beg to be decorated. Use them to create easy, usable gifts or to set a special table. Choose simple designs for a trouble-free craft experience. Spend time perfecting more intricate designs and techniques as desired.
Purchase and Prep
Begin by purchasing solid-color melamine plates; white works best. Locate inexpensive plates by shopping discount stores like Tuesday Morning, Costco or Cost Plus. Purchase glass or enamel paints (they adhere to glossy surfaces) at a crafts or art store. Wash and dry the plates before painting to remove any dirt, dust or grease that might be on them. Using a practice plate is always a good idea. Buy practice plates at yard sales. Practice items do not have to be perfect, they can have patterns on them but need to have a white background—use the back side of the plate, if needed.
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Finding Design Ideas
Personalize the melamine plates by finding designs that are inspiring, fit your kitchen décor, or have a special, personal meaning. Look at melamine plate designs being sold in stores for ideas. Draw inspiration from fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper patterns. Scan patterns into the computer (or use a copier) so that they can be enlarged or reduced to fit the plate.
Applying the Designs
Transfer or create the pattern directly on the plate using templates, stencils, stamps or free-hand applications. Create templates by making a printout or copy of the design (use card stock for a stiffer, reusable result), cutting out the design and placing the design onto the plate using double-sided tape. Use a china marker (grease pencil) to outline the template shape onto the plate. Remove the template, and use the enamel or glass paints and fill in the design. Wash off the marking pencil after the paint has dried or cured. Create a stencil by using the sheet the template was cut out from (the negative of the design). Tape down the stencil and use a stencil brush to fill in the design with the paint. Rubber stamps can be painted with the enamel or glass paint and pressed onto the plate.