DIY Foodsafe Halloween Plates

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I’ve been looking for Halloween dishware since mid September because I figured I’d get a head start on Halloween and have all my knick knacks and accessories ready beforehand. So I searched online but unfortunately the only dishes I could find at a reasonable price were paper plates and plastic cups. I just hate those and I know my family would balk at the idea of eating off cardboard or plastic unless we were having a picnic. What I really wanted were ceramic plates but they were so expensive and most of them seemed to be “designer” dishware. That, combined with the shipping cost to my far away location was way more than I wanted to pay.  So I started looking around for plates that I could make myself  and I came across some porcelain painter pens that allow you to draw whatever design you want on ceramic or porcelain and then pop them into the oven for 30 minutes at 320 degrees and the paint becomes permanent. They are dishwasher safe and food safe too. Now, as a habitual kiln user I wasn’t too sure about this. I’m used to taking my ceramics to the kiln and firing them at high temperatures that will render any artwork or paint permanent. However, kiln space can get pretty expensive especially if the piece is large or if there are alot of them…..like in a dish set, so I figured I might as well give these pens a try. They only cost about 4 or 5 dollars each on Amazon and they come in a wide assortment of colors. They are called Marabu Porcelain Painters. They’re from a German company called Porcellanmalstift and they are the only pens that I know of that are food safe. Even though Amazon sells them, they are shipped from Europe and it takes a couple of weeks to reach this side of the Atlantic. However, I have seen a couple of U.S. companies that carry them as well so I think shipping might have been quicker if I’d ordered from them. I ordered two black markers and two orange ones and then went out and purchased six plain white glazed teacups with saucers for about $1.50 per set and a plain white teapot for about $5 dollars.

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I’m no artist by a long shot so I played it safe and stuck to kindergarten level drawings like smiling jack o’ lanterns and then I  winged it with a few bats. Yeah, pun intended. Sorry. It was quite easy and was pretty much like drawing with a felt tip marker.

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I drew spiderwebs on the saucers with the black marker.

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And then I put everything on a baking tray and popped them in my kitchen oven for 30 minutes at 160C which is approximately 320 degrees Farenheit.

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The instructions indicate that you should put the painted pieces in a cold oven without pre-heating. Then turn the oven on and allow it to reach 320 degrees and let the pieces bake at that temperature for 30 minutes. (it takes about 15 minutes or so to reach that temperature) then turn the oven off and allow the pieces to cool down in the closed oven before removing them. I tested the teapot and teacups the same night that I painted them when some friends came over for coffee. I’m happy to report that they held up very well not only to the hot coffee but also to the washing afterwards. I’ve used them several times since and they’re still as good as new.

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Since I was pleased with the way my Halloween tea set turned out , I decided to try and make my own version of the Nevermore plates that have become pretty popular lately. I am also a huge Poe fan so they were just the thing. I went out and bought some inexpensive black and white plates at a local discount store where they were on sale for about 90 cents each because they were irregulars with tiny flaws. I bought six soup bows, six dinner plates and six solid black salad plates. I didn’t use the orange marker on these. I wanted them to be black and white.

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I just wanted something simple and I didn’t want to have to deal with stencils so I drew a tree with a raven in it and a couple of bats. I drew the same design on the soup bowls too. It’s easy to correct mistakes because the paint comes right off with rubbing alchohol on a q-tip while it’s not yet baked.

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Leyla loves to pretend that she’s a spooky cat.

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I also made a few pieces the traditional way too, using ceramic paints and a kiln. Just a few. I made some serving pieces and a small three tiered plate in Halloween colors.

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Poking a hole in the center of the greenware plates.

Poking a hole in the center of the greenware plates.

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Painted and kiln fired

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I do have to say that even though I was happy with how these little pens worked, I wouldn’t use them on everyday dishes that are going to get alot of use. I would only use them on dishes that will be used occasionally like these Halloween plates. This is because heavy use or a scouring pad might end up scratching the paint. They are mostly recommended for dishes that will hold finger foods because cutting things on top of the plates with a fork and a knife might eventually damage the designs. I also have to add that these markers go a long way. For six dinner plates, six soup bowls, six teacups, six saucers and one teapot I used up one of the black markers and a bit of the second one, and I only used about half of one orange pen and didn’t even need to open the second one. Here’s a website with more info. http://www.settocelebrate.com/porcelain-paint-markers.html

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Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

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DIY BLUE AND WHITE PLATES

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Lately I’ve become sort of obsessed with blue and white dinnerware. I guess alot of people must share my love of blue and white china because there are many different patterns of it out there. Right off the bat I can think of Blue Danube, Blue Onion, Blue Chatham, Blue Willow, Lomonosov blue and white and the list goes on. I guess now I can add another blue and white dinnerware pattern to that list, but I have to think of a name for it first.   Continue reading

The Cake Plate That Almost Wasn’t

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I can finally sit back and admire my little pink pedestal cake plate.  But for a while there, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  It started out as a greenware cake plate that I bought at the ceramics shop where I have been purchasing supplies for years.  They were having a going-out-of-business sale that day  and I bought several pieces of greenware at a discount. The cake plate was among them and it was the last one they had left. (Lucky me!)

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I brought it home and cleaned it, sponged it, smoothed it and got it ready for it’s first firing in the kiln.  After packing it up carefully in a carboard box I put it in the car and headed towards the kiln rental place.  I wasn’t halfway there when it began to rain cats and dogs.  If you’ve ever seen Costa Rican tropical downpours you know how much water can come down in just a few minutes. I wasn’t about to brave it so I turned back home and decided to go to the kiln the next day. I brought the cardboard box containing the cake plate back in the house and set it gently down on a side table. In plain view of my cats. Big mistake. Continue reading

Blue Chatham blues

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Years ago when my mom lived in Germany she worked part time in a small shop that sold fine china as well as other fine decor items.  Once in a while they would end up with left over odd pieces of porcelain dinnerware which would be marked down drastically and placed on sale. One of these pieces was this beautiful Blue Chatham pattern teapot. My mother actually bought several pieces of this pattern and divided them up between my grandma and me when she came back from Germany.

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Capodimonte Knock-off

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If I had a dime for all the things my kids have broken around the house over the years I’d be a rich woman!  I never understood why they thought it was more fun to play kickball inside the house rather than outdoors, or why they insisted on roller skating on my ceramic tile floors when they had a perfectly good sidewalk outside.  Even my  ladylike daughters (yeah right) have broken their fair share of things. Such was the case with a beautiful Capodimonte ceramic pitcher and wash basin that my mother brought me from Italy many years ago. It’s a brass wash stand with an oval mirror that had a beautiful floral basin with a matching soap dish and pitcher. Continue reading