1st Day of Craftmas: Making A Simple Ceramic Plate

Who doesn’t love commemorating a special occasion with a ceramic plate?  Special occasions just scream ceramic plates, don’t they?  There are lots of cute variations floating around on Etsy to celebrate engagements, weddings, births, etc.  In addition to highlighting special dates/events, you can also capture family phrases or sayings.  Creating one of these plates is fairly fast, easy, and inexpensive.  So, if you’re still looking for that gift for the hard-to-buy-for, why not give this a try?

I knew last year when my sister announced that she was pregnant, that I wanted to find something that said, “Home is where my grandma is.”  The hard part?  In our family, grandparents of the female persuasion do not go by “grandma.” They go by “grangi.”  What were the chances I could something that said, “Home is where my Grangi is?”  I’ll tell you – nil, zilch, zero.  My next thought was, “Why don’t I just have something commissioned from Etsy.”  I’ll tell you why.  Firstly, you have to be forward thinking enough to request it two months in advance.  Yup, negatronium.  Secondly, you apparently need to make more money than a highly appreciated, underpaid high school teacher.  So, you know what came next, dear reader…..DIY!

I’d taken some pottery classes in high school.  (Ok, in reality I think I made A pot in ONE class – which, in all its ugliness, my mom still has sitting on a shelf.  Bless her heart.)  But I figured, why not give it a go?  Since I am not lucky or skilled enough to have a wheel or kiln, I decided to explore the world of polymer clay where all you need is an imagination and an oven.  That’s my kind of clay.

So, here is what you’ll need to make your own fabulous ceramic plate!

2 Types of ribbon (I used one patterned and one solid), acrylic paint in various colors, modpodge, white oven-bake Sculpey polymer clay, alphabet & decorative stamps, paint brushes (very thin for lettering and thick for glazing), and clay molding tools

First, you’ll have to decide what shape you want your plate to be.  I went with the traditional ’round’ because I knew I had a lot of things lying around in that shape that I could use for a mold.  I used the top of a mid-size pot.  Before starting, I cut a circular piece of wax paper and laid it into the bottom of the pot so that it would be easy to remove the clay circle when I was finished.  Next, I took the block of Sculpey and pressed it evenly into the bottom of the skillet, carefully trying to ensure that my circle was the same thickness everywhere.  (So sorry not to have pictures of these steps — my hands were goopey!)

When I was finished and it was relatively smooth, I used the edges of the wax paper to pull it out, flip it over onto another piece of wax paper, and put it, smooth side down, back into the skillet.  Then, I worked on smoothing out the other side.  (Note:  Since I knew that I was going to paint mine, I wasn’t worried about using my hands to do the smoothing.  This, however, did mean that the clay did not stay pristinely white.  If you want your dish background to stay white, use clay sculpting tools or plan on painting is back to white!  The wooden tools you’d need are inexpensive and can be found at Michaels.)

Because I knew there was no way that I was going to be able to freehand letters, of that size, to look nice.  I decided to utilize stamps.  I bought a stamp alphabet in a font I thought looked cute and whimsical.  (Note:  My letters are fairly small, which meant that painting them required patience and a very steady hand.  Purchasing larger or bolder letters would help with this, but you’d need a bigger plate.)  In addition, I knew that I wanted to put a peacock feather on the plate (my sister’s last name is Peacock).  I figured that I would have to freehand that.  But, as luck would have it, I found a peacock feather stamp.  After looking through the samp aisle in Michaels, I realized that no matter what your need, “There’s a stamp for that.”  There are literally, thousands of stamp possibilities.  You’ll be able to find something that is applicable and cute for your own plate, I’m sure.

So, I roughly laid out where I wanted each letter to be by placing them (wooden side down, first) on the circle, one word at a time.

Once I’d figured out the layout, I turned them over one at a time and pressed them down firmly into the clay.  You’ll quickly see that the pressing firmly means you’ll have some lines here and there from the edges of the stamp.  Don’t fret!  Just gently smooth those out with your finger or a tool once you’ve pressed everything.

Lastly, you’ll need to use something circular and hollow (I used a small test tube from work) to make the two holes at the top for the ribbon.  And, then you are ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Place the plate in an oven safe dish and then into the oven.  I used a large, Pyrex casserole dish.  Use the instructions on the clay to determine the time spent in the oven.  When it is finished baking, carefully remove it and allow it to cool thoroughly on a cookie rack.

Now, you are ready to paint!  There isn’t really any trick to this.  A steady hand and painter’s tape, if you need it, are key.  Once you’ve finished painting it and the paint has dried thoroughly, you’ll need to coat it with about four layers of Modpodge to get that glazed ceramic look.  Make your modpodge layers very thin.  You don’t want excess to pool in the recessions of your stamped letters or decorations.

When the modpodge has dried and you are satisfied with it’s sheen, add your ribbon (I used two — a blue and a peacock print) and hang!  Voila, you can now call yourself commemorated!

The finished project — look how it gleams!

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5 Comments

  1. JessicaP

     /  December 15, 2012

    Love, love, love!

    Reply
  2. Beverly Koym

     /  December 15, 2012

    Jen

    Please send me the bread and breakfast treat recipies, forgot to get them before we left. Had a great time visiting and hope you are well. Bev

    ________________________________

    Reply
  3. Grangi

     /  December 16, 2012

    Now I know how you did it! Thanks soooo much.

    Reply

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