February 8, 2013

Pinterest Tested: Sharpie Plates

Or cups, or bowls, or whatever porcelain kitchenware you want to decorate by hand.

Do sharpies really work? Well, I can tell you, because me and The Kid put our heads together and tested it out. What you need to get started is simple:

Sharpies and a dollar store plate (or mug, bowl, etc).

Then doodle to your heart's content! Both black and colored sharpies work, also both thick and thin. I've seen lots of monogrammed images, kids drawings, and even funny comics. Go with what works for you. The Kid and I went in two totally different directions (and hers is way better, dang it!).

I'll start with mine, since you'll forget all about it after you see hers, I promise.

I wanted to create something army wife related. Makes sense, yes? So I chose the Army Wife's Prayer.  Simple, basic...

Too simple, maybe.

So then I added a heart and a yellow ribbon. Still too simple. I consulted The Kid, then I added a red and blue star border.

Then I gave up, realizing mine would never be as cool as hers.

Because The Kid created this:

Her creative genius astounds me daily.

My plate took about 15 minutes. The Kid spent nearly an hour on her design, but it was sooooo worth it. I'd like an 8-piece set, please. (If you want to place an order, I think she's charging $100 a plate, hahaha. At least, that's what I was told!).

Before moving on to the next step, this is what we learned during the doodling process:

1. Take any stickers off the back of the plate before you start drawing
2. The sharpies will smear, but only for about 30 seconds after you've drawn on the plate. After that, you're golden.
3. If you make a mistake (and it's been more than 30 seconds), water and a Q-tip works wonders (I did this often)

The next step? Baking!

I've heard/read many conflicting ideas on how to bake the plates. Some sites say 350 degrees, others say 365. Still more say 400 degrees. Don't even get me started on the length of time! All different.

So what's a girl to do?

Well, The Kid and I decided to bake the plates at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The, we simply turned the oven off and left the plates inside the oven to cool down overnight.

This worked out for us.

The plates didn't shatter, or melt, or any other crazy thing. Believe me, I was worried they would! Also, the house didn't fill with poisonous fumes or anything (another worry of mine).

In the morning, we took out our plates, and viola! They were done.

A few things we learned during the baking process:

1. Yellow color, when baked, turns brown.
2. Other colors bake fairly true, but there is a slight fading.
3. Your marker lines are clearly visible, unless you make an effort to conceal them
4. Water and a Q-tip will no longer wipe away your color!

These plates are good as serving or decorative pieces, but I wouldn't recommend them for everyday use as they cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher. Well, you could clean them in the dishwasher, but eventually all your "paint" would come off. They really need to be washed using a soft sponge by hand. You can, of course, use yours all the time if you don't mind handwashing.

If you're looking for a more permanent finish, I suggest using porcelain markers. Unfortunately (as you can see from the link), they are significantly more expensive than Sharpies. However, your final product would be dishwasher safe.

The End!

I hope you found some helpful tips here, especially if you've been thinking of making these yourself. The Kid and I had a great time together. I think this project is a great, inexpensive way to spend some time with your loved ones, and they would make great handmade Christmas gifts!

I'd love to hear all about the Pinterest ideas you've tested, and have you write a post for fellow readers. Please email me if you're interested in becoming a guest blogger for Army Life!

Happy creating, my friends!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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