Makeover — Embellished Glass Plates

by Diana Durkes

Today we beautify a thrift-store find with our furniture and accessories makeover specialist, Contributor Diana Durkes. Diana gives “New Life to the Tossed and Found” at her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.

For last month’s makeover, I used a thrift shop resource to turn old sweaters into a throw rug. This month, I thought I’d continue the idea of giving new life to a plentiful thrift item.

Painted Glass Plates

For a dollar each, I bought eight glass plates from a small thrift shop near me. They were a bargain for their high-end quality, and since the proceeds from the shop benefit an international women’s organization, this made them more so.

Thrift Store Glass Plates Before

As I explained my plans for the plates, to Ilene and Janni, working at the shop that day, they first asked, “What’s a blog?” Then they requested the link to the post when published, but this was after Ilene called her husband to ask what her email address is.

Thrift Store Glassware Display

Anyway, the plates were a find and a great canvas for some hand-painted embellishment. I chose a silver and copper color from the line of DecoArt Ultra Gloss Enamel paints. This is a fabulously easy paint to use for glass and tile:
Glass Painting Materials

  • It’s thick, so doesn’t run on a glossy surface.
  • It dries in minutes and cleans up with soap and water.
  • Painted pieces can be baked in a low oven to make them dishwasher safe or
  • Air dried for seven days for hand washing.

Also, a little of the paint goes a long way–just put a dollop on the drop cloth and let the painting begin.

Art history majors, this is where your best one-dimensional painting skills come in. Dots and squiggles are my go-to design.

Glass Painting Detail

As I got started, I discovered how much fun painting dishware is. For kid’s parties, it can be a less expensive alternative to the paint-and-glaze ceramic studios.

A neat family activity would be to paint some ornaments you’ll no doubt treasure year after year. The dollar store can be a source for plain glass balls as well as clear glass votive cups. These would be fun to paint and use on your holiday table.

Painted Glass Plates Silver Designs

Here are the products of a few hours of fun, which I think work nicely for a dressed-up dinner or pizza and TV. I plan to cure the plates with air-dry method, so I painted simple border designs to ensure they’ll stand up to food and washing.

Painted Glass Plates Copper Designs

Simple Effective Glass Painting Patterns

Thanks to Kathy and to you for this wonderful place to share our creativity. Until next month, have a happy holiday, everyone!

Diana Durkes

Diana Durkes is a creative recycler and a confessed alley shopper. She gives a makeover to one found item each week, and publishes the before & after on her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.

She also writes the Tossed and Found column for Time Out Chicago and pens the blog Garage Sale Warrior for the Chicago Trib’s Chicago Now.



Are you making time for a simple family craft this holiday season?

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2 Comments for “Makeover — Embellished Glass Plates”

Excellent thrift store find! I’d suggest painting the underside of the plate instead of the upper surface. The paint is less likely to be scratched by a utensil, and the manufacturer does say that the paint shouldn’t be used where it contacts food directly.

Barb, thanks for that suggestion!

While painting the plates, the practical me sat on one shoulder saying, “paint on the underside!” At the same time, the perfectionist me said, “keep going, this is exactly how you wanted them to turn out!” That’s this crafter’s dilemma—anybody else have a similar one?

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