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- Your old dishes
- Spray paint (optional)
- Decoupage Paper (optional)
- Mod Podge (optional)
- Plate Hanger Discs (Check the size of your plates to figure out which size discs to buy).
Step 1: Choose your plates
The first step of course is to choose which plates you want to upcycle. These could be a variety of different shapes and sizes or uniform. For example you might be buying a new set of plates because you’ve broken the majority of the ones in your current set but you have 2 or 3 spare, or you could be the sort of person who just ends up with odd plates from charity shop/thrift store diving or given to you by relatives.
There is no set rule to this, check out the inspiration photos we’ve compiled below for an idea of what your final wall art could look like and then check your stash of unused dish plates and see what might work. In general these sorts of arrangements look best if you have a lot of plates in varying sizes, but it does very much depend on where you intend to put them.
Now you’ll have noticed on the materials list that almost everything on their is optional except for 2 things, the plates and the plate hangers. This is because if you like the look of your existing plates you don’t actually have to do anything to them other than arrange them artistically and hang them. But, often we don’t love the look of these odd plates so these next optional steps are for you if you are looking to do something a bit different with your plates. So here are your options:
Step 2: Spray Paint (Optional)
This is the first option for decorating your plates and definitely the quickest. This is an especially effective way to go when the plates that you want to upcycle are of varying sizes. Spraying them all the same colour ties them together as a set. Or you can try an ombre effect or colour blocking design.
You can go wild with the colour choice or tone it down for a more farmhouse look. Either way make sure you choose a spray paint that is suitable for ceramics and check if it requires any kind of primer first.
If you want to go fancy with the spray paint you can do two layers by letting the first layer dry and then taping off certain areas or taping down a stencil before using a second colour to create a funky pattern, add an initial or otherwise personalise them. You can also do this after just one layer of spray paint with contact paper or a transfer. See this guide by A Subtle Revery about how to decorate spray painted plates with printed decals and contact paper.
Step 3: Decoupage (Optional)
As mentioned above another decorating option is to use some decoupage paper, napkins, wrapping paper, or fabric to decoupage your plates in either a uniform design or to create a mish mash, accidentally fabulous sort of a look.
As with any decoupage project Mod Podge will probably be your go to and depending on the finish you want you can go for their matt, gloss or crackle versions. Now we’ve seen lots of tutorials about how to use glass plates for this with the paper decoupaged to the underside. These are all aimed at allowing you to use the plates as plates. What we are proposing with this option is not that. We are proposing you decoupage the front of your plate, so that it doesn’t matter if the plate is glass or not you will still see the pattern from your decoupage paper (as it will be on top!). As your aim for this project is to hang these on the wall you don’t really have to worry about being able to eat off of them anymore!
If you have very dark plates and you are planning to decoupage them with a light coloured decoupage paper or napkin you could spray paint them all white before you start or use fabric instead which is of course thicker and more opaque.
Step 4: Plate Hanger Discs
The most important step and the only one that isn’t optional with this project is to make sure you are purchasing the right sized plate hanger discs for your plates. You need to measure the flat space on the back of your plate for width and buy the biggest disc that will fit. This listing for Plate Hanger Discs has a variety of sizes for different sized plates.
Step 5: Hang your Plates!
To finish you just need to decide where your plates should go and how to lay them out. Try laying them out on the ground first to make sure you like the layout. This article is peppered with inspiration images so hopefully you’ll have found a layout you like to imitate.
If you are a more meticulous than free form type of person you can also use a large piece of paper – that paper that comes in Amazon boxes springs to mind – and use it to trace out where you want your plates to go. Then measure the distance from the edge of your plate to where the nail whole needs to go and place a mark on your paper. You can then tape the paper to the wall and line up your nail holes with the marks on your paper, or if your not keen on risking taping the paper to the wall use it to get the measurements you need and just make small pencil marks on your actual wall to show you where to place your nails.
Want to keep upcycling in the kitchen? Check out our DIY Kitchen Makeover Ideas here.