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.