Saturday, October 8, 2011

Anthropologie Inspired Dishes - How I did it

Remember these dishes from Round three of So You Think You're Crafty?

Well, here's a bit more about them:

I was struck by the simplicity of these Anthropologie dishes.
I thought, how hard can that be?

Turns out, they were kind of a pain.

I found these blank white dishes at a store called Tai Pan Trading.

They were just under $4 each.

I bought some Martha Stewart brand "Multi Surface" high gloss acrylic paint.  It says it's good for glass or metal.  I ended up being impressed with it.

I originally thought about stamping the letters.  It didn't work though.  The surface of the stamp was just too small to hold the paint.  It sort of smushed around the letter leaving a blue blob with a white letter in the middle of it.

My next try was to cut the letters out of vinyl and make a stencil.  I picked off all the letters and cut them apart to give it a more random stamped look.  The really long words were cut in half.
Poem by William Carlos Williams "This is Just to Say"

It looked like this when I was done applying the vinyl.

I took my "test plate" and painted black paint over each word.  The paint covered so well that it didn't need a second coat.  Phew!

Then I came across the next problem.  The paint was stuck to the vinyl.  When I peeled the words off, the paint came with it.  At least, most of it.  [Insert frown here].

I cleaned the plate with rubbing alcohol and started again.  I cut out more vinyl letters and placed them on the plate.

In my second attempt with the vinyl, I painted one word at a time. After each word, I would peel off the vinyl.  That way, I peeled it off before the paint could stick to the stencil.  I still had a problem with letters like o, a, b, e, etc., where there is a little bit of vinyl stuck in tiny places.  If I tried to pick those out when it was wet, it usually smeared.  I left those in for the moment.

After I had painted and peeled all the words, I went back to try to pick out the little bits left in the letters.  The paint dries to the touch very quickly, so you won't need to wait long.

After I finished the first round, I had some words that hadn't worked.  Sad.

I also discovered I had another problem.  I had sticky residue left from the vinyl.  Extra sad.

I went back and cut out the vinyl for the words that hadn't worked.  Before re-applying, I used a q-tip to clean off as much of the area as possible with rubbing alcohol.  I painted again.
After the second round, I only had a few very tiny spots that hadn't worked.  I just painted those in with a fine brush.  Again, you want to make sure you're painting on a clean surface.  If you paint over the vinyl residue, it won't stay on the plate (as I learned first hand).

This was the place I was at when I took pictures for SYTYC.  You couldn't see the residue in the pictures, but it was there. 

I've been delaying this post for three weeks since I completed the bowls.  Why?  The paint has a 21 day curing time and I wanted to see if it was possible to get the goo off without washing off the words. 

Guess what?  It is!

After 21 days, I sprayed my plate with a little Goo Gone and let it sit for about ten seconds.  I rubbed it around a bit and washed the goo off.  All the letters on my test plate stayed.  Yay!  When I washed the bowl, I had a few little bits wash off.  I determined that those washed away because I had painted a bit over vinyl residue.  I just repainted those little bits to fix them.

Should you try this one yourself?  If you're patient, if you give yourself that 21 day curing time, and if you choose a less intensive design.  A monogram or a simple shape like a silhouette would probably work really well.

I'd love to hear back if you try this one and find a method that works better.


  1. I can't tell you how happy I was to see the plum poem. It is one of my favorites. I really love this idea and think I might give it a try.
    When you washed it did you use the dishwasher (the paint says it's dishwasher safe but I am skeptical)
    Thanks so much for sharing

  2. I didn't try the dishwasher. I did give it a pretty good rubbing, though, and it stayed nicely. I'd guess top rack would be fine.

  3. How did you cut out the letters? I'm planning on using an exacto knife but was hoping you had a better technique. Did you simply print out the poem/quotes and cut through them or....

  4. i love that WCW poem, and i especially love the way you used it so thoughtfully!

  5. These are fab, thanks for sharing! We liked them so much, we included them in our Winnie the Pooh round up (with a link back to you) x