Hand Drawn Dinnerware

Gracen and I had so much fun with this little project today.  It’s been flying around the web like crazy recently, (like here and here and here and here) so when we came across plain white bowls for $1 each the other day, I knew we’d be giving it a shot very soon.  

IMG 6991All you need is some plain dinnerware, a Sharpie or two, and in our case, some tape, and a pair of scissors.

IMG 6994Because we chose to decorate bowls, I wanted to tape off the inside of the bowl, where the food goes.  Some may say that the Sharpie is sealed in by the end of the process, but something just doesn’t seem right about putting Grae’s food on top of permanent marker. Plus, I think having just the rim decorated looks cute.  Painter’s tape would have been the obvious choice here, but since I didn’t have any lying around, we made do with packaging tape and it worked just fine.

IMG 6998

IMG 7006Grae got started drawing right away. I explained that we weren’t drawing in the middle of the bowl and that we were just decorating around the edge, and that’s exactly what she did (therefore the tape was pretty much unnecessary, but hey, you never know).  

IMG 7011When I asked Gracen what I should draw on my dish, her immediate response was, “Apple!” I ran with that idea, and since she’s been so interested in colours for the past couple of months, I got started on a little colours of the rainbow theme of sorts.

IMG 7013IMG 7015IMG 7020Gracen drew and drew and drew and never did I have to encourage her to keep going, choose a new colour, or fill in a blank space.  She was having so much fun and was so thrilled about the fact that she was using Mama’s ‘special’ markers that she had more than enough motivation for over an hour’s worth of drawing.

Mama s DishOf course, in that hour, she stopped to come over and admire my dish several times.  She’d look with big eyes, then nod her head with a slow, enthusiastic “Yaaaaaaa…” and a sweet little smile on her face, in obvious approval. Then she’d go on to point out the colours and pictures she saw {and shared those she wanted to see in the very near future – my apple, tree, birdie, and banana were all ideas she offered}.

IMG 7023Grae s DishThe finishing touch was to happily sprinkle her entire rim with dots of different colours.  She’d stop a moment, glance at it sideways, then pick up another Sharpie and add more.  This continued again and again until one time she took that same sideways glance, then very nonchalantly announced “All done”. And that was that.

IMG 7042Before we could get it in the house to cure in the oven, she wanted to put her new dish to use, so she carefully browsed through the garden for a handful of ripe strawberries and a sprig of mint.

IMG 7047With her snack gone in less than a minute (yes, she shoved that entire thing of mint in her mouth and chowed down on it like the rabbits at Maplewood Farm), it was time to show off our finished products.

By Gracen  MamaIMG 7051One final touch to add – our names, the year, and for Grae, her bright green signature.

IMG 7059And then into the oven they went.  In attempt to “bake the marker on better”, I amped up the heat to 400 and left the dishes in for 45 minutes, despite the general recommendation of baking them at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  Bad idea. Although Miss G’s came out fine, my lighter colours really, really faded, some to the point of becoming nearly invisible.  Learn from my mistake. The good news is that there’s an easy fix for mistakes such as mine. Just simply redraw your design and then pop it back in the oven for another 30 minutes at 300. 

Dinner  DessertWe let our bowls cool, gave them a good {hand} wash, and used them for dinner. I did try washing them (okay, maybe I even scrubbed a little bit), and so far, so good.  The designs still look exactly as they did, and I’m hoping they stay that way for a while at least.

This was such a fun, easy, and inexpensive project and I’d highly recommend giving it a try.  While Gracen (almost 23 months old) loved it, I think older kids would like it just as much.  On top of it all, wouldn’t a hand decorated mug or dish make a great gift for a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or parent? (I must keep that in mind!)

If you do try this project, here are a few tips I learned along the way:

  • Plain dinnerware pieces can be found at thrift stores, dollar stores, and places like IKEA for next to nothing.
  • Before starting your drawing, wash and dry your piece very well to get rid of any oil that may cause your marker to stay put as well as it should.
  • Darker, vibrant colours turn out better.  Yellows and pastels seem to fade and distort.
  • Do not attempt to bake on your design better by increasing the heat. This will just lead to a mess.
  • Gently hand wash your items. Do not put them in the dishwasher.
  • If needed, touch up your design and re-bake.

13 thoughts on “Hand Drawn Dinnerware

  1. This is so cool, eating off permanent marker scares me too, so I love your idea of taping off the food area and just decorating the rim. What a great project!

  2. Looks great! This I might try with Owen… We are doing plastic sun catchers for the grandparents this year.

  3. I truly really like Grae’s design…all all those gorgeous colors! As well as she has therefore adorable If only I can provide the girl the embrace: )

    1. I agree! And so easy and inexpensive! We’ve been using ours pretty much daily since we made them and I’m happy to say that they’re still holding up well. :)

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