25 August, 2006

Monogramming Dinnerware

I just love when Martha and I are on the same wavelength. Clearly, she must be reading my blog and making notes of what I’m doing, because for 2 weeks now I have mentioned monogramming plates and low and behold, I flipped on the TV yesterday to see her show preview that she was going to be doing something very similar. That’s Ok Martha, I still love you (if I still love you after your brief stay at Camp Cupcake, you must know there is nothing you could do to make me stray from you). Anyhow, as I was getting ready to say, last week I mentioned monogramming plates, and I have been anticipating this project, and been so excited to share it with you for a while now. It’s been on my project docket (no, I don’t actually have one. Well Ok, maybe I do) for quite some time, and I wanted to have them all done before our dinner party last weekend but it just didn’t work out that way. Another fine example of monogram momma putting too much on her plate at one time. Literally (ha! I really crack myself up sometimes!). And while I’m well aware the Preppy Handbook doesn’t exactly condone monogramming dinnerware as, in their opinion, it resembles, hotel ware, I am going to disagree. The reason I am disagreeing is because I want monogrammed dinnerware and well, that’s enough of a reason for me to do it (so there). Now, I’m not saying I would want this for everyday as we have very nice everyday dishes, but with all our entertaining, it’s just not always practical to have paper plates and I am not someone who can pull of the eclectic look of mismatched dinnerware when serving buffet style. Enter the monogrammed dinner plates.

So here’s the deal. I am very lucky to have a fabulous connection (coughThanksDaddy) who was able to score me four dozen; yes that’s right, FOUR DOZEN plain white, 9” diameter ceramic hotel dinner plates. Four dozen should suit me perfectly, although it may take quite a few days for me to monogram all 48. Not the point though. The point is, I’m beyond thrilled that I will now have plenty of real dishes, matching dishes to go with any theme or occasion, such as a bar-b-que, baby shower, brunch, or tailgating party, that will look classic and elegant no matter what. I mean, you can’t beat the simplicity of a crisp white plate with a simple black monogram, no? It sure beats a paper plate bending and folding under the pressure from a plate full of food as far as I’m concerned!

What you need to get started:
-ceramic plate (or other item) of your choice
-red transfer paper
-Porcelaine 150 food-safe ceramic pen
-pencil or pen
-baby wipes

So first of all, let’s talk plate sources. You can buy them pretty much anywhere. Try Marshals, TJ Max, Target, Wal-Mart (ick), etc. all just depending on the quantity you need. I also really suggest checking out a restaurant supply store in your area as you can get large quantities very inexpensively. The hardest part for me, as Ashley will no doubt attest to, was picking out my font (I was getting a tad on her nerves getting font opinions from her, as if she doesn’t have a real job to do or anything). Once I did that, I printed it up in three different sizes which you can see here. After choosing which size I felt was going to be the best for my plate size, I turned my plate over and measured w/ my ruler, to make sure the “M” was centered within the little plate ledge on the bottom, as you can see from the pictures here. I then pressed down to make a circle, and traced the circle w/ a crayon around that ledge so I then ended up with a circle around my monogram.

Next, Cut out the circle. Then cut out a small square of your transfer paper, large enough to cover the monogram you’re going to transfer, and tape it on the BACKSIDE of the monogrammed circle you’ve just cut out. Now let me interject here, and tell you that for craft projects that involve paper and tape and tracing, I always prefer painters tape, as it won’t rip your paper template apart to pieces. I will re-visit the subject of painters tape and why you should make nice with it and other things it’s great for at a later date. Just know it’s a “good thing” to use for more than just painting.

So where were we…? Ah, yes. We’ve just taped on our tracing paper on the backside of our template, so we now flip it over, center it on the front of our plate, and tape it in place. Grab your very sharp pencil or pen, and trace your design. Now, I used the graphite paper because that’s all I had at hand, but I don’t recommend it for this project because it made the painting more difficult and a bit messier than it should have been. So take my word for it and make sure you buy the red transfer paper for this project. But at any rate, we are now ready to paint on the actual monogram once we’ve transferred it.

Now, I bought the Porcelaine 150 food-friendly ceramic paint in a pen form from Michael’s, but you can buy it in jars of paint or with paint applicators as well. Whatever will suit your project needs best. I bought the medium point when I could have probably used the fine point, so just cover your bases and make sure you buy a few different options so you can experiment. You can also buy a competing brand from any craft store, just make sure it is food-safe, and for me, it was very important it was dishwasher safe too. You must know, I do NOT plan on hand washing 48 dinner plates after entertaining all evening. So once the design is painted on, let it sit for 24 hours to dry, use a baby wipe to gently wipe off any excess from the transfer paper, and then put the plate in the oven for 30 minutes, at 300 degrees. It’s as simple as that!

When Martha did hers, she did Swiss dots which are always pretty, and also flowery little designs. You can get your design from anywhere! A fabric you like, your child’s artwork (that you’ve copied and traced), a magazine add, wallpaper, wrapping paper, etc. So, you can see some of Martha’s handiwork in the picture, and you can print not only the pretty template that Martha has here, but also some decorative letters as well if you’d like.

Oddly enough, these plates were not easy to find. You all know I always like to offer you sites and places to buy similar things I’ve done, that are already made. But in my search, the only ceramic dinnerware I found was at Dally Sisters (who I’ve mentioned before. Honestly I didn’t even try old standbys such as ebay, mostly because I’m just too tired, but you might want to give them a try too. If anyone else knows of a source, then please add it in the comments to help your fellow monogrammers out. But whether you decide to make these yourself (a set of 4 desert plates would make a nice little hostess gift!) or buy them already monogrammed, these too, make monogram momma’s list of very “good things” for entertaining, and I’m planning on putting mine to good use for our next party this fall!


Alyson said...

What a great idea! I can't wait to try this! My hubby thanks you!

Monogram Momma said...

My recomended source for these plates is R&R restaurant supply in Savannah, GA. Yes, they will ship! Call them at 912-236-9440 & you can purchase the plates from them and they will ship them directly to your door!

Pink Cupcakes said...

This looks great, I don't think it looks like hotel wear at all!

Preppy Kiki said...

My husband just happened to be passing behind me in the studio as I was reading your blog, and he thought your monogrammed plates where a great idea to introduce to his company. The fact that you used food grade paint in his opinion made the project super. I am inspired to make these plates along with a simple solid table napkin with the same single letter to match. Do you think that would be too matchy matchy?

Monogram Momma said...

no, i think that would be fine. But then again, I prefer things more tailored and matching instead of eclectic.

SSEHouston said...

WOW this is great. We readers really appreciate you sharing your wonderful idea!!