How-To & Diy

Personalizing Your China Collection

July 17, 2013

Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.

Today: Impressive china, custom-made for your kitchen.

Painting Your Own China from Food52

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Like my mother and my grandmother, I love dishes. I love old dishes, I love new dishes -- I even love dishes that I bought for $.99 when I was in college. I love having big stacks of impractically heavy and fragile items in all of my cupboards, quietly lying in wait for the next dinner party, and I love to envy dishes that aren't in my cupboards.

It's no surprise then, that I was blown away by a recent discovery. I discovered that hand-painting china is not a skill reserved for grandmothers in Russia. In fact, for about $5, anyone can pick up a bottle of porcelain paint from a craft store and have a go at it. Furthermore, I discovered that with the help of your favorite rubber stamp, you can custom-print your china with beautiful and intricate designs, no matter what your artistic skill level is.

Naturally, this opens up a world of possibility for personalized gifts, themed favors, and more. I started by buying a stack of these little $.60 dishes from Pearl River Mart in Manhattan, but this would be a great project for any boring old dishes you have lying around.

Painting Your Own China from Food52

- some plain white dishes
- opaque porcelain paint, like Porcelaine
- some nylon paintbrushes
- the rubber stamp of your choice (it works best if the stamp is a distinct shape and doesn't contain too many very fine lines)

1. Be sure to start with clean, dry dishes and a clean, dry rubber stamp. Brush some of the porcelain paint onto the rubber stamp so that the rubber surface is coated lightly and evenly.

Painting Your Own China from Food52

2. Turn stamp onto dish and press gently, making sure not to slide the stamp around on the dish's surface.

Painting Your Own China from Food52

3. Gently lift the stamp off of the dish, and presto! If the image doesn't turn out perfectly on your first try, don't panic. Just wash the paint off of the dish with some warm, soapy water, dry it thoroughly, and try again. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even hand-paint your own image or experiment with some patterns of dots, lines, teardrops, crosses, and diamonds, like I did.

Painting Your Own China from Food52

4. When you are satisfied with your designs, allow your dishes to dry for 24 hours. Then, preheat your oven to 300° F. Spread the dishes out on a sturdy cookie sheet, and bake for 35 minutes (or follow the baking directions on the bottle of paint that you're using). This will make the dishes dishwasher- and water-proof. Porcelaine recommends that decorated surfaces should not come in contact with food, so be sure to decorate only the underside of your plates and bowls if you plan to use them for serving food.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mikka Soköl Petras
    Mikka Soköl Petras
  • marymary
  • Kristy Morrill
    Kristy Morrill
  • LauriL
  • ft1857
Anna Hezel

Written by: Anna Hezel


Mikka S. February 14, 2021
My china is Villeroy&Boch Brindille but I didnt like the mugs so I go the Apilco traditional coffee mugs. Any suggestions on hot to print the mugs in the Brindille motto keeping the printing quality??? Any suggestions are welcome, thnx
Mikka S. February 14, 2021
... *how to print"
marymary April 25, 2014
LOVE! I'm going to decorate my own mugs and candle holders - thanks for sharing.
Kristy M. August 10, 2013
I also made a set of 6 dessert plates for my daughter with Egyptian hieroglyphs and artwork -she loved them.
LauriL August 10, 2013
Must do this!!!
Kristy M. July 24, 2013
I use these to decorate tiles and added them to my kitchen wall. I clean with a damp cloth. Lovely.
Anna H. July 26, 2013
I love that idea! I'll have to give it a try.
ft1857 July 21, 2013
Love this idea! Can it be done on melamine? And would I still use Porcelaine?
Anna H. July 26, 2013
You might be able to use Porcelaine to decorate melamine if you only intend to use your dishes for decoration, but I wouldn't recommend baking your melamine dishes to set the paint. It might be worth researching to see if there are any paints out there designed for melamine. Hope this helps!
olithee July 18, 2013
super idea !
Anna H. July 19, 2013
hardlikearmour July 17, 2013
Gorgeous, but I'm concerned about whether or not they're food safe. The Pebeo website states "Only decorate the areas not intended to be put in contact with food" about the Porcelaine paints.
Anna H. July 17, 2013
I'm surprised that this isn't mentioned anywhere on the packaging. But thank you for noticing—I'm adding a note about this to the post!
rizzle July 17, 2013
I love it. I see some pomegranate plates in our household's future.
Anna H. July 17, 2013
This idea has definitely crossed my mind.
Gabriella P. July 17, 2013
Stop, this is too good.
Anna H. July 17, 2013
Oh stop that.
thebunalsorises July 17, 2013
This is awesome!
Anna H. July 17, 2013
creamtea July 17, 2013
Love this idea!
Anna H. July 17, 2013
Thank you!
cyanpineapple July 17, 2013
I MUST know where you got the seahorse skeleton stamp.
Anna H. July 17, 2013
It was a gift from a friend, but he got it from this company: