Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Painted Plate

The number thirteen is often thought to be unlucky, a bad omen, a number that most people frown upon. Hotels skip the 13th floor. Airplanes don't have a 13th row.

For us though, 13 has become a number for good things.  I explained in this post why the number 13 is actually a meaningful number for us.  My birthday is April 13th.  Truman's is December 13th.  We were married on May 13th.  We closed on our first home together on November 13th.

For almost a year now, I've had a blank white plate mixed into the photos  on the shelves in our dining room.  I've been planning to paint a number 13 on it.  People have asked if there was significance in the white plate.  Not yet.  But, I finally got around to painting it.  There is now!

I thought I would share a tutorial for how I glazed a permanent 13 onto the plate.

Prepare your glass or ceramic item by wiping it down with rubbing alcohol to make sure it's good & clean.  Remove any stickers since you'll be baking it later.

I used this Folk Art Enamels paint.  The bottle says "Acrylic Paint for Glass and Ceramics."

First, print out what you would like to paint on your glass or ceramic item.  Play around with the size until you get it the way you want.  I used the Engravers MT font.  Cut around each number or letter leaving just a little white space.  If you are using more than one number or letter, I found it easier to cut them into separate pieces so you could space them however you want.

Next, you need to use a pencil and trace the outline of the number or letter on the back of the piece of paper.  Holding it up to a window makes this step a LOT easier!

After both are traced, position them where you want to transfer them on the plate and use a piece of scotch tape to secure them in place.

Take your pencil, and scratch with pressure over the outline of the numbers to transfer the pencil outline on the back to the plate or whatever glass/ceramic object you are using.

When you've scratched all of the edges well, carefully peel back the paper, and you will see your pencil outline on the plate.

Now, you will use a paintbrush to fill in your transferred outline with the ceramic paint.  Be sure to use a tiny brush and make sure the bristles are smooth and there aren't any errant bristles poking out to the side.  If there are, it will be very difficult to get a straight, smooth edge.  This is not the time to use your preschooler's water color paintbrush.  I promise you will get so frustrated if you try.  Find the smallest brush you can!  If you think it's too thin, it will probably work perfectly.

After your text is filled in completely, allow the item to air dry for one hour.  After an hour, and following the directions on the bottle, place it in the cool oven, then heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes, cool in the oven, then remove.

Your paint will be permanently set!  Do not use your painted item in direct contact with food and handwash it or put it on the top rack of the dishwasher. 

It's right at home on the shelf and surprisingly, even after almost a year of having a plain white plate displayed, the 13 fits in like it's always been there.

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