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Crafts | Design Custom Dinnerware

Crafts | Design Custom Dinnerware
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Anyone who has ever spent time searching for the perfect set of dishes knows how frustrating it can be to find exactly what you want. If you can’t locate dinnerware that suits your personal taste, try your hand at designing your own custom dishes. Not only will you end up with a set of custom dinnerware, working on this project can be a creative outlet.

Materials to Design Custom Dinnerware:

  • Plain white dishes, bowls, mugs and/or teacups.
  • Porcelain paint markers (also known as ceramic markers)
  • An oven
Plain white dish ware and a porcelain pen
Plain white dish ware and a porcelain pen

Porcelain paint markers are ink pens especially designed for porcelain and dinnerware. You can buy the pens in arts and crafts stores. Pens can be purchased individually or in packs.

Directions to Design Custom Dinnerware:

  1. Wash and dry the dishes being used in this project—you want to make sure any dust, dirt and oil are removed from the surface.
  2. Review instructions for using the pen—i.e. pens may require that you push the tip down a few times to prime it and get the ink flowing.
  3. Draw your designs onto the dishes.
  4. Continue with instructions that came with the pens. Most likely you will need to let your dishes and cups sit for 24 hours and then bake them for a half hour to make the ink permanent. Be sure to read the instructions on the insert thoroughly as different ink pens vary slightly in their instructions.
  5. If you make a mistake you can remove the ink. I find this is easier to correct when the ink has dried—the ink can be scraped off with your fingernail. Spot clean the area, dry it, then start over if need be.


Plate and tea cups decorated using porcelain pens Plate and tea cups decorated using porcelain pens
Favorite quotes written on a plate and tea cup with porcelain pen Favorite quotes written on a plate and tea cup with porcelain pen
Polka dot tea cup using porcelain pens Polka dot tea cup using porcelain pens

As you can probably imagine, you can be as simple or elaborate in designing your own dinnerware. Here are some ways to use this project, many of which are great gift ideas:

  • Write a favorite quote on a plate or mug.
  • A simple design can go a long way— use one color and create a line of polka dots or swirls going around the base and lip of a mug or plate.
  • Have a child decorate a dish or mug for a whimsical keepsake or gift.
  • Know someone who loves to bake? Write a cookie recipe on a plate, then give the plate full of cookies to that person.
  • Create themed bowls and plates for parties and celebrations.


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Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature
Updated Monday, August 13th, 2012

2 Responses to Crafts | Design Custom Dinnerware

  1. ginny norwood August 27, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    Another great idea. Makes gift giving more personal and fun again to involve the kids…..

  2. Jean Pearcy April 30, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    When creating your own dinnerware pattern, how do you make them dish washer safe and
    so we can eat off of them.

    Jean Pearcy

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