Emily Winters: Making Custom Table Decor

Tis the season where we once again master our holiday table settings and figure out how to feed the masses… in style. For the first year ever, we’re hosting people at my little home so I’m especially honed in on how to serve people easily (and make the display look nice). Here’s the thing though: most of my serveware is a total mismatch. I have mismatched plates and bowls. Assorted cups. A random selection of bakeware too. But there’s one thing I’ve been testing out that will help to make these assorted pieces flow together a little more uniformly (and give a bit of theme to the dinner). Thank you, paint markers for making custom dinnerware such a phenomenal (and easy DIY) thing.

Update your serveware for the holidays.

I like the idea of using paint markers as a way of adding semi-permanent accents to my plain dinnerware (mostly to help a mis-matched set look a little more unified). While the paint markers I use are water-resistant, they’re plenty strong enough to withstand trips through the sink and dishwasher, but can be removed with a little elbow grease and a green scrubbie, meaning that I’m not locked into the painted design forever and always.

Keep on reading to see how to customize accents for your holiday table.

With an assortment of ceramics at an affordable price at the common HomeGoods or Marshall’s, I may or may not be known as a girl with a lot of serving options. These two pieces from the 10 Strawberry Street line sold at Marshall’s were a recent splurge (for all of $10). Their plain and clean-lined aesthetic is nice, but the rest of my dinnerware is nothing like this.

Plain white ceramic serving pieces. Nice design!

To customize these (and a few other pieces in my serveware cabinet) I decided to test out paint pens that are formulated to work on metal/glass/wood/plastic. Our local craft store had dozens of color options in both water- and oil-based paints.

They’re cited as being non-toxic, but you won’t necessarily want to paint the surfaces that will come into contact with your food. I tested out two brands on my latest project; both were great, and I think pink will make a big comeback during the spring of 2013. For now and through the New Year holiday, metallics hold my heart.

Non-toxic and water resistant paint markers are great for wood, metal, glass, and plastic.

The options are endless. The bowls are your canvas. I took to drawing stripes on one of the bowls before realizing that it looked totally funky and disorderly, so I wiped it clean with a moist rag (it doesn’t dry immediately) and turned to a favorite classic ikat design instead. Ikat’s naturally more irregular, and bundled together always seems to look cool. I like it as much in metallic gold on my serveware as much as I like it painted in my closet.

Adding ikat detailing to a ceramic platter.

Bring in a little bit of silver to contrast the gold, and the finished pieces will be perfect for our next dinner party. Those pretzels were devoured in a single afternoon as I worked in my kitchen.

Updated ceramic bowl serveware. Perfect for apps!

I took the same design to a glass Ikea bowl and love how it ties into my new serving set.

Ikat painted glass bowl.

I also updated the outer edge of the new platter to match. What a nice DIY way to have an array of coordinating pieces.

Modified ceramic serveware.

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.

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About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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