Welcome October!

October 1, 2008

Remember last year’s Spooky Halloween Branches? I loved those! But this year, that idea was kind of shot down by my kids who were like been there done that, let’s make plates instead! And I was like, sure, why not, I’ve got all sorts of time to work on a breakable, lots of sharp objects project. Let’s do it!

My kids had been begging to do Danny Seo’s plate project ever since I came home with the elephant after the Method Party last May. A series of Halloween themed plates seemed like the perfect reason to make it happen. I believe I explained this plate-how-to once before, but here it is again, keeping kids in mind.

The process:

1) Gather the supplies. Plates you don’t mind painting over — use your old mismatched pieces or pick some up at the local thrift store. Enamel paint. Brushes (sponge brushes are just fine for this project). And full sheets of printer label paper.

2) Draw or print the shapes you’d like to feature on your plates on the label paper. My kids picked Halloween shapes. Bat, cat, skull, jack-0-lantern, scarecrow. Plus two profile silhouettes — which they consider spooky.

3) Cut the shapes out and apply the stickers to the plates.

4) Paint the whole plate. We used only black paint for this Halloween series, but I’ve also done this in fall colors with leaf silhouettes. The sky’s the limit.

5) When the paint is dry (I did two coats with drying time between), use open scissors to scrape the label into itself all around the edges. Once the label is removed, I used an exacto knife and a fine paint brush to scrape/touch up the edges as needed.

6) Bake according to the directions on the paint bottle.

What kids can do: decide the images, draw the images, cut out the images, put the images on the plates, paint the plates. But the scraping should really be done by an adult.

The plates looked super cool on the wall, but I was still wanting something more. So we wrapped glass containers with strips of orange tissue paper and placed tealights inside to create our orange glow.

Then we staggered their heights by stacking them on thick books. Dusty old, antique tomes would have been perfect — but I settled for removing the dust jackets of a couple of dozen thick novels (read: the Twilight series) until I had enough black and orange covers to do the job.

Welcome October!

10/2 Edit: A couple of people have been curious about how to hang the plates. I use a plate hanging product that’s similar to this one. You can pick up plate hangers at any hardware store. And for you DIY-ers, I was flipping through an old issue of Martha Stewart (Oct 1998) and found a tutorial on how to make your own wire plate hangers.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sawyer's Mommy October 1, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Wow, they turned out great. Thanks for sharing this idea. Eat your heart out Martha Stewart. These plates are a “good thing”. LOL


2 Sara*P October 1, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Wow, these are so awesome! May I ask what you used to hang the plates on the wall? Thanks so much!


3 Fairlightday October 1, 2008 at 9:45 pm

These look great. I thought at first that you had used paper plates and painted them, which would also work and would require no baking too.
Love the tissue wrapped vases!


4 Christen and Frank October 1, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Looks great! This may be a dumb question, but would you mind sharing how you attach them to your wall?


5 nyclizzie October 1, 2008 at 11:15 pm



6 simply kris October 1, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Gabs, if you ever want stencils, call me! Vinyl would be perfect for this craft~ it will stick to the plates and not allow bleeding. We’ve been doing glass etching over at SIS~ we use the vinyl for that project and it’s been great.


7 Katie October 2, 2008 at 7:36 am

I LOVE this idea! Probably one of the most creative halloween items I’ve seen yet!


8 Amy October 2, 2008 at 7:51 am

Thank you so much for these inexpensive ideas. The economy has me economizing on all of the fun fall decor. I’ve always wanted a how-to on those cute plates! Hooray for Halloween!


9 Design Mom October 2, 2008 at 8:48 am

Thanks for the positive feedback everybody!

sara*p, christen & frank, to hang the plates, pick up "plate hangers" at your local hardware store. They have "claws" on each end that grip the rim of the plate and stretch between springs to keep the grip tight.

Then place a nail in the wall and the plate hanger will hook right over the nail head.

Simply kris, using vinyl is a brilliant idea! If I ever manage to think ahead on a project like this, I'll definitely take you up on the offer. Thanks!


10 Amanda October 2, 2008 at 8:54 am

I am not a big Halloween decorator, but I think this would be AWESOME on my dining room table with all of my cake stands and these cool plates.

I know what we are doing this weekend!


11 Jen October 2, 2008 at 9:10 am

Love this! What a cool yet spooky display.


12 lainakay October 2, 2008 at 9:14 am

Love, love this idea but I’m missing something.

How did you get white silhouettes with the colored plates?

You cut out the stickers, place them on the plates, paint black over it all and then peel the sticker away revealing the silhouette. Wouldn’t the silhouette be floral or whatever the plates had on them to begin with (unless they were originally white)?

Was the bat on the tan plate tan with a black background in the end product or did I miss a step?


13 Wendy October 2, 2008 at 9:18 am

I really like that idea. very spooky :)


14 Design Mom October 2, 2008 at 9:24 am

lainakay, that’s exactly right — whatever the plate looked like originally shows through the silhouette. On this display, both the cat and the bat are on tan plates. And the tan plates show up through the silhouette.

If you prefer only white silhouettes, you could use all white plates (or at least plates with white centers).

If you don’t mind some pattern or texture showing through, use whatever plates you have available. The contrast of something like an old floral plate with a skull silhouette could be very cool.


15 Mary October 2, 2008 at 10:15 am

I’m in awe of crafty people like you. Very cool!


16 jeanbean October 2, 2008 at 11:23 am

I love that and love the birds as the extra spooky touch!


17 Erin October 2, 2008 at 11:36 am

i guess one advantage of not living near you is that we can copy your halloween decor ex-act-ly. which i plan to do.


18 denise October 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Seriously cute idea. I think I’m going to share your idea over on my blog littleantdesign.blogspot.com I am doing a get your spook on feature every day and this would be perfect.

I guess I need to pull out my old plates and get some paint – I’m doing this with my kids this weekend


19 Rachel October 2, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Oh this is too fun! I’m definitely going to give this a try. Thanks for a great idea. I’m also posting it on my blog.


20 sportyrls October 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Fun Fun Fun. I love that your kids think profiles are spooky. I agree; if you’re not looking at a face straight on it can just be scary : ).


21 Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck October 2, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Where did you get the birds that you also used in this display? We are decorating this weekend, and those would be perfect!


22 Rachel@oneprettything.com October 2, 2008 at 4:29 pm

How fabulous! I’ll be linking to this project-and hopefully doing it myself!


23 Adriana Velez October 2, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Quote from four-year-old son: coooool! We should make that some time!

Time to get out the Halloween decorations.


24 Melissa October 2, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Love! I wish someone sold them so I could link to them. ;-)


25 Kathryn October 2, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Gabby, where did you get those crows?


26 lynne October 3, 2008 at 2:34 am

brilliant! i can’t wait to try this. looks so spooky (and chic)


27 Design Mom October 3, 2008 at 8:40 am

Jessica, Kathryn – I picked up the crows at Michaels. But it was 2 years ago on clearance. Although I’m sure they have something similar currently in stock.


28 Emily October 3, 2008 at 8:56 pm

my girls are going to LOVE doing this!!!!!! They’re fantastic!


29 foobella October 6, 2008 at 10:22 am

I LOVE this idea. I think it would be great for even a grown up Halloween party.

May I suggest that contact paper or even laminating paper could be used for the shapes and easily comes off without needing to scrape.


30 Joslyn October 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm

you. are. brilliant. i love this…that wall is so cute.


31 Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck October 7, 2008 at 7:13 am

We used your Halloween decorating photos from last year and this year as inspiration and did some decorating this weekend (see my blog today if you are interested in seeing what we did!). My kids are still too young to really do the plate craft (the oldest just turned 4), but we’ll save the idea for when they are older! Thanks for the great ideas!


32 Nells-Bells October 8, 2008 at 8:36 am

Such a great idea! Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. I will have to try this. :)


33 mayaluna October 8, 2008 at 7:25 pm

I love everything about this! I love how you took a project that’s be floating about and made it over-the-top fabulous…I love how you involved your children…I love how you shard the details…I love how you created an incredible vignette with what you had on hand (stacked books, etc.)…I love how you responded to your readers questions! You’re one amazing woman and a great role model to all mothers…yeah!


34 Ms. Foodie October 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Thank you so much for this great idea! I made these the other day, although used clear plates and contact paper so no scrapping, and they came out pretty good. Nice job! Love the blog!


35 Valerie October 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Wow! I love them! I have filed this idea in thecraftersfilebox.blogspot.com.

Thanks so much for sharing!


36 vanessa @ silly eagle books October 30, 2010 at 7:17 am

This is an amazing idea–I love how they turned out and how easy they are to make!


37 Joanne October 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Wow! Those are cool. My daughter would love this project. I also love the thrifty nature of it.


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