Handmade Santa Plate

There used to be a paint-your-own-pottery shop in town when my kids were little and for Christmas I made Santa cookie plates for them and a few for friends and family. The shop is no longer around so I created a way to make one using a porcelaine paint pen for ceramics and some old-school type-curving techniques.You can find porcelain pens and paint in many colors. I only had black in my studio and because I love the syle of Emma Bridgwater’s Black Toast dishes, let’s just say that was the look I was going for here. The plate is a basic Home brand salad plate from Target, I think I paid less than $4 for it.For creating curved type around a plate, print out your type in two separate lines for top and bottom. If you want to also make a Santa plate, I’ve done the work for you. You may need to enlarge or reduce it depending on the rim of you plate. Using the concept of the template I made, create cut lines and base lines. Notice that they are different depending on whether the type will be curving down or curving up. For the type in the center, create your own by typing out the names or wording yourself or piece together letters from the template. A simple typeface such as Times works great for this type of lettering. I printed out the type in grey instead of black so that I will later be able to see where I’ve traced, or forgotten to trace, with my pen.Turn your template over and cover the back of the type you will be tracing with pencil. It may help to tape it to the window to see what area you need to cover.

Trim out the strips of type along the dashed line and be careful to cut around ascenders and descenders in your type, such as a dot over the i or the bottom of a p.
Cut between each letter or small word to separate, cutting only as far as the solid baseline.Beginning at the center of the top or the bottom, center your type strip and secure with tape. Fan out type, letter by letter, taping as you go and using the rim of the plate as a guide.Once all type is taped down, trace the letters with a ballpoint pen. As you trace, and later as you ink with that not-so-fine-point pen tip, keep in mind that this is supposed to look hand-done, not perfect. That’s what makes it so charming.When all has been traced, remove word/sections a little at a time to ink. Keeping template pieces taped as you go will help keep you from accidentally smearing the pencil lines as you draw.
Once all inking is complete, follow pen and paint manufacturer’s directions for curing the ink, such as allowing to dry overnight and then baking in your oven.

Add some fun holly sprigs and berries, or other details in color if you like. This style of type-written dish also makes for fun birthday plates!

Here’s the very first one I ever made (before Sarah came), winging the type freehand at the pottery shop. No doubt this one cost me around $30.Now that my children are older and in-the-know, we may or may not actually put out the plate on Christmas Eve, but they will always have fond memories of finding bits of chewed-up carrot in the fireplace and in the yard on Christmas morning.

Check this out: The Thompson Family shared cookies and carrots on their own personalized plate at Christmas! Adorable!!

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