Handmade Santa Plate

There used to be a paint-your-own-pottery shop in town when my kids were little and for Christmas I made Santa cookie plates for them and a few for friends and family. The shop is no longer around so I created a way to make one using a porcelaine paint pen for ceramics and some old-school type-curving techniques.You can find porcelain pens and paint in many colors. I only had black in my studio and because I love the syle of Emma Bridgwater’s Black Toast dishes, let’s just say that was the look I was going for here. The plate is a basic Home brand salad plate from Target, I think I paid less than $4 for it.For creating curved type around a plate, print out your type in two separate lines for top and bottom. If you want to also make a Santa plate, I’ve done the work for you. You may need to enlarge or reduce it depending on the rim of you plate. Using the concept of the template I made, create cut lines and base lines. Notice that they are different depending on whether the type will be curving down or curving up. For the type in the center, create your own by typing out the names or wording yourself or piece together letters from the template. A simple typeface such as Times works great for this type of lettering. I printed out the type in grey instead of black so that I will later be able to see where I’ve traced, or forgotten to trace, with my pen.Turn your template over and cover the back of the type you will be tracing with pencil. It may help to tape it to the window to see what area you need to cover.

Trim out the strips of type along the dashed line and be careful to cut around ascenders and descenders in your type, such as a dot over the i or the bottom of a p.
Cut between each letter or small word to separate, cutting only as far as the solid baseline.Beginning at the center of the top or the bottom, center your type strip and secure with tape. Fan out type, letter by letter, taping as you go and using the rim of the plate as a guide.Once all type is taped down, trace the letters with a ballpoint pen. As you trace, and later as you ink with that not-so-fine-point pen tip, keep in mind that this is supposed to look hand-done, not perfect. That’s what makes it so charming.When all has been traced, remove word/sections a little at a time to ink. Keeping template pieces taped as you go will help keep you from accidentally smearing the pencil lines as you draw.
Once all inking is complete, follow pen and paint manufacturer’s directions for curing the ink, such as allowing to dry overnight and then baking in your oven.

Add some fun holly sprigs and berries, or other details in color if you like. This style of type-written dish also makes for fun birthday plates!

Here’s the very first one I ever made (before Sarah came), winging the type freehand at the pottery shop. No doubt this one cost me around $30.Now that my children are older and in-the-know, we may or may not actually put out the plate on Christmas Eve, but they will always have fond memories of finding bits of chewed-up carrot in the fireplace and in the yard on Christmas morning.

Check this out: The Thompson Family shared cookies and carrots on their own personalized plate at Christmas! Adorable!!

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66 Responses to Handmade Santa Plate

  1. #1 - So-Sew Me says:

    Brilliant as ever!

  2. #2 - BlueCastle says:

    You just keep amazing me.

  3. #3 - Katie says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for the tute I always wondered how people got curved text. Love it, really!

    (also thanks for reminding the perfectionist in me that things are supposed to looks handmade)

  4. #4 - Tracie says:

    Very cool. I'd be curious to know if these are food-safe and can be handwashed with no problems? I'm assuming so, but just thought I'd ask. I'd like to give this a whirl myself, and I LOVE the Emma Bridgewater plates too!

  5. #5 - Kitty says:

    what a cool project! we may just have to try this with the nephews, and niece during my son's winter break! thanks – you're too cool!

  6. #6 - Claire says:

    Great idea! Thank you

  7. #7 - Gail says:

    Well that's just adorable…I know my dd would love it, she's 9yo and still believes (at least she acts like she does :).

  8. #8 - Sophie says:

    Wow!! That is so cool. Love the ideal so much..
    Thank you so much for sharing & Happy Thanks Giving to you!


  9. #9 - angela says:

    Love that. When I first saw the photo I thought it looked just like it came from Emma Bridgewater. Mission accomplished. Very cute.

  10. #10 - Lisa Super says:

    I love this idea. Girl, you are GOOD!

  11. #11 - the undomesticated wife says:

    I love that!

    When we were kids, we'd leave cookies for santa and also carrots for the reindeer. There was always the top piece of the carrot left with tooth marks, and we thought that was so cool, because it proved the reindeer had eaten the carrot. When I was older, I learned that my mom made my dad eat the carrot and leave the tooth marks for us to see. ha!! I haven't thought about this in years. Thanks for bringing up a great childhood memory!

  12. #12 - Westside Wedding says:

    Such an awesome plate!!!! Thanks for the tutorials 🙂

  13. #13 - Sandy Toes @ Shell in your Pocket says:

    That is just too too cute~
    sandy toe

  14. #14 - pk says:

    I absolutely love it! Great job.

    pk @ Room Remix

  15. #15 - Amy's Stocking Stuffers says:

    This is just wonderful!!!! I'd totally forgotten until I saw your post that we used to put out carrots for the reindeer as well as the cookies for Santa. Thanks for bringing back a memory and giving me a smile!

  16. #16 - teena says:

    What fun! Plus simple & inexpensive 🙂 Just my cup o' tea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. #17 - Tamar1973 says:

    There's a paint yourself pottery shop in Windsor, CA now.

  18. #18 - Doda says:

    That was perfect timing. I bought some pebeo black paint yesterday, and I didn't know how to do that type curving thing. So thanks, I look forward to trying that.

  19. #19 - My name is PJ. says:

    This is clever and adorable! I'm thinking you must have been the first kid on your block to be able to color within the lines. Just so you know, back then the rest of us hated you. 😉

  20. #20 - Tea Potty says:

    A wonderful keepsake! I believe my mother still has my plasticky one I made in preschool back in the 70's. Love Emma Bridgwater's work too!

  21. #21 - Paula says:

    so incredibly adorable! repost this in say 10 years for me when I (perhaps) have grandchildren!! lol!
    fun fun Cathe…you are wonderful!

  22. #22 - Amy @ Living Locurto says:

    We leave carrots for the reindeer too! I didn't know about those pens. Very cool. Much easier than painting with a brush.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  23. #23 - chicroses says:

    My Hattie Jane is only 19 mon but next year I hope I can remember to try to do this. I paint on windows and different things and Ive had a hard time with computor figuring out different fonts and especially how to make them curvy..thanks for the tutorial on curved letters. Happy Thanksgiving. Sally

  24. #24 - Cheryl says:

    wow hun this is utterly amazing just brilliant hugs cheryl xxxxxxx

  25. #25 - Nancy says:

    You are amazing!!
    Thanks for the tutorial, and what a great idea!

  26. #26 - Elise says:

    You ARE wonderful! WHAT a fabulous keepsake!

    {Old SCHOOL! Bah! I still walk the lonely halls every day!} tee hee

  27. #27 - Jaime says:

    Love it!

    Just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for an award – details are on my blog. 🙂


  28. #28 - Handmaiden says:

    Good Lord woman, you hit a home run yet AGAIN. I adore Bridgewater Pottery (being English and all) but cant possibly afford it. I think I might just try this 'Burnt Toast'ish idea. Must find cheap plates though, couldn't possibly use the Apilco that I bought in a former life! Target Rocks!!!

  29. #29 - Just Kids says:

    Love this idea !

  30. #30 - Cheryl says:

    Eeeeeeeeeeeeek! That is to cute! I am sooooooo making this for my grand-kiddos. Thanks bunches!
    *big hug*

  31. #31 - Julia - "Vintage with Laces" says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful tutorial!

  32. #32 - Cougar Tales says:

    Another amazing idea. I featured your Thanksgiving journal post/link in my post for today. Happy Thanksgiving

  33. #33 - kristianne25 says:

    Oh, I will have to try this with my son thank you for another awesome idea!!Take care,Kristianne25

  34. #34 - Sarah says:

    I love this! I have ordered some black porcelain pens and know that Tesco in the UK do cheap white plates – I will let you know when I have done mine although I am sure it will be rubbish compared to yours

  35. #35 - Andrea Guim says:

    Uau! Good and beautiful ideia!!
    I loved!!!

  36. #36 - Daniel Askeland says:

    What a genius idea! Where do you get these ideas from? :S


  37. #37 - Nouveau Stitch says:

    I just wanted to add the Pebeo company statement regarding Porcelaine 150 paint and contact with food:

    "Porcelaine 150 is safe for food contact HOWEVER Porcelaine 150 was designed for decorative purposes. If cutlery was to be used on the painted areas they could damage the surface. Porcelaine 150 adheres to the painted surface and is not part of the surface itself. It is for those reasons that our official statement has always been “ Food contact is not a health hazard. Not approved for food or drink storage containers” I hope that this description and information is sufficient.

    Once baked Porcelaine 150 is both microwave safe and remarkably resistance to dishwashing and to normal detergents. Decorated pieces should NOT, however, be placed into the oven once baked for permanency."

    This is in conflict with what the Blick website showed. It took a while to track this down, but since kids and/or food may be involved, I wanted to be certain it is safe and wanted to save others the time to look into it!

    Thanks for another fantastic project, Cathe. I've already made one plate!


  38. #38 - Claire says:

    I am in love with this project! I won't be surprised if Santa takes the plate along with the cookies 🙂

  39. #39 - Lindsay says:

    That is so cool, great work

  40. #40 - samantha says:

    I made this last night – it isn't as nice as yours but I'm still happy with it!

    The best is that my 3yr old daughter was taking the scraps of paper and taping them to a regular plate – which was fine and dandy until she got her markers out too 😉

  41. #41 - sumbum says:

    Hi! I love this project! Just curious, did you print out the lettering on plain paper or tracing paper?

  42. #42 - aRtcHixX says:

    I just found your blog and think its AWESOME!!!!
    I love this creative plate!!
    I was at first thinking I would add some color, but when you mentioned Emma Bridgewater – I LOVE HER – and totally rethought the color splash!
    I can't wait to read through past entries!!

  43. #43 - Lenetta @ Nettacow says:

    Just lovely! And this would work amazingly on so many things! I linked to this on my weekly roundup – thanks SO much for sharing!!

  44. #44 - paula says:

    made the plate for my granddaughter and it turned out great. Thank you for your wonderful instructions

  45. #45 - The Thompson Family says:

    I googled something totally different and found your blog. LOVE all the crafting inspirations. I made a couple of plates based on your instructions. THANKS SO MUCH!

  46. #46 - That's A Stitch says:

    This is awesome! I cannot access the template you made. What size font did you use when typed up the saying? I would love to make one for Valentine's Day

  47. #47 - Nancy Ward says:


    Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

    I'd appreciate your letting me know if that's OK.


    Nancy Ward

  48. #48 - Ruth says:

    Found this through Nancy..wow you are so clever it's beautifully handmade I love it!!

  49. #49 - Laura says:

    This is super cute. But, I must admit what stopped me was the names on your plate. My son is named Bennett also! 🙂

  50. #50 - Heather says:

    I came to your blog from recycled crafts because of the names on the plate too (just read the previous comment),very weird!I have 4 kids and after naming my 1st Ethan I tried to get less trendy and named the next one Bennett, then Jamie and our last is Jillian. Guess Bennett is not as uncommon as I thought but in our travels we have only come across one other child with the name.

  51. #51 - Melissa says:

    Thank you for the turorial. Now I have one more question. I want to do simple monograms on small glass jars. What might I use that will not wash or wear off?

    Thank You,

  52. #53 - Safetymom says:

    Soooo cute 🙂 What kind of marker pens did you use.

  53. What a great idea! I always wondered how plates like these were made. I may just make one for my children.

  54. #55 - Andrea says:

    I LOVE your plate idea! I clicked on the font to print it out, but the link doesn’t work. Do you know why, or what I can do to get your printout? Please email me. Thanks for this idea!

  55. #56 - Jenny says:

    I too tried to click on link but it didn’t work. Can you help?

    • #57 - Cathe Holden says:

      So sorry for the hassle Jenny. My files were being hosted by Google and apparently expired over there. I’m in the slow process of moving all files over to WordPress. This one should now be fixed, but I’m also going to email the file to you as well.

  56. #58 - Lisa Russell says:

    I would love to have my children do something like this. I found a variety pack of different colors of Sharpie pens…will these work on the plate. Also I have never found any plates…do they need the shiny on them or should they be the old hard plastic kind?

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  62. #60 - Shawna says:

    Hi is this cookie plate something you still make

  63. #61 - sara says:

    I would love to make one of these plates, the font Is perfect but unfortunately, I’m unable to find it. Please could you tell me where to get it from?
    Many thanks,

  64. #62 - cathrine williamson says:

    hi love this project and just followed your instructions. I need to remove some of the pencil lines as I was rather over zealous with the pencil .. I don’t want to rub off just yet in case I smear the sharpie so thought I would leave 72 hours and then should I wipe off with a wet rag? its just the pencil lines I need to remove where I haven’t quite sharpied over them.