Things You'll Need
Enamel or glass paint
Stencils or stamps
Hand painted decorative plates make excellent gifts.
Do not serve food on these painted melamine plates. Paints can be toxic as they are for decoration only.
Painting melamine plates is a great arts and crafts project for your children. You can find inexpensive white melamine plates at most discount and home stores and glass or enamel paint at your local hobby supply store. Create hand prints, flowers, geometric shapes or use stencils and stamps to decorate these durable plates. Enamels and glass paints are designed to adhere to a slick surface, so there is no need to prep your plates before decorating. These painted melamine plates are for decorative purposes only and should not be used for food service.
Plan your design. Stencils are the perfect tools for creating painted designs when you are not artistically inclined, and you can also use stamps to create patterns on your plates.
Clean the plate before you begin to apply paint. If you are stenciling, apply the stencil to the area of the melamine plate you wish to decorate. Tape the stencil in place. Add paint to a flat edged round stencil brush by dipping the tip of the brush into the paint, and then remove most of the paint by pouncing the stencil brush onto scrap paper. This will prevent the paint from being too heavy and running outside the lines of the stencil. Apply the paint to the stencil by pouncing or dabbing it onto the open areas of the stencil. If you are using stamps to create your plate designs, apply the paint to the raised part of the stamp with a small brush. Press the painted stamp onto the plate, and then remove it.
Let the painted melamine plates air dry or place them outside in direct sunlight for about an hour to heat cure. There are mixed reports on the safety of melamine when it's exposed to heat, so if your glass paint advises you to bake it, choose the sun method. Some enamel paint will air cure and does not need to be baked. The painted plates are supposed to be dishwasher safe in the top rack, but you should hand wash them to be on the safe side. Painted melamine plates should not be used for food.
Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.