Dot Painted Dishes

By Kate Riley October 25, 2011

I saw a great project on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I’ve had in on my mind ever since – it was these fabulous dot painted plates and bowls by Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore.

The idea of dot painted porcelain dishes sat with me for weeks until I decided to play off the same idea and make some accent plates of my own. These versions have a delicate falling leaf design, as an autumn themed appetizer plate or for our Thanksgiving place settings. 

gold dot painted plate cg


Get all the details on how to dot paint porcelain over at Ashley Ann’s, she has a detailed step by step. Basically, it’s the process of using paint pens designed for porcelain or ceramics to create your design, then baking your finished design in the oven. You can find inexpensive plain white dishes in a lot of places from Walmart to Target to IKEA.

I’m experimenting as Thanksgiving gets closer with some leaf designs formed with a gold paint pen for ceramics.  I used craft foam leaves as a template to form my pattern.


dot painted accent plate cg


Porcelain paint pens are a fun tool for personalizing and doodling on simple plates with your own original design.  They’re also an opportunity to create something special for that host or hostess on your list.

falling leaves accent plate cg


I also made myself this little mug with the same idea – it will be cute to hold pens on my desktop too.

gold dot painted teacup cg


Just to show you how easy it is, here are six more hand painted porcelain dish ideas I found online to inspire:

painted porcelain inspiration

From top left: Dot Painted Dishes by Under the Sycamore; Hand Drawn Details on Accent Dishes by BH&G; Circle Painted Dishes by A Merry Mishap; Peacock Dot Dish by Birdhouse Family; Hand Painted Herringbone Mug by Wit & Whistle; Dot Painted China by Martha (she offers a few templates to work with too).

Imagine the possibilities!  This is proof how stimulating and addicting Pinterest really is. Too much sometimes, right?  Darn you Pinterest!!!  Sometimes I just can’t sleep with all the ideas I find over there. 

Have you recreated anything you’ve seen on Pinterest lately? 


*** 10.26.11 Update:  Hey friends!  It has just come to my attention from some very thoughtful readers (thanks Jules and Kris) that the Pebeo Porcelaine markers although labeled “non-toxic” are not recommended for surfaces that come in contact with food, aka not “food safe”!  Say what?  Apparently, it says so on this website. Doh. That’s me, blushing a nice shade of pink in embarrassment.  Glad I found out now, guess there aren’t going to be any leafy accent plates on my table.  Better safe than sorry!  So do as they say, not as I do, and keep your designs to the outsides of bowls and mugs kids.  Over and out.    



  1. Love your plates and your mug – so simple and pretty! Even though you may be ‘inspired’ by others, you still have an eye for what will work and what won’t. Me – I’m still an amateur and struggling…sigh.

  2. I saw those same plates. Love love love the leaf design you did! I saw a canvas that had gold circles ( very Kate Spade :) that I may try soon.

  3. I’m not usually one to do seasonal dishes, but this is really cool – because like you said, you could do it with any inexpensive dishes. Also, I’m thinking that you could score a bunch of mismatched white dishes at thrift stores (Even cheaper than Ikea) and by adding the designs to them you would coordinate them. And voila, super affordable holiday dishware.

    • Agreed Jane, yep thrift stores are always a great source! Wouldn’t some script mugs with favorite quotes or words of encouragement be so great?

  4. I agree with Jane from “The Borrowed Abode,” I too don’t do seasonal dishes. They’re pretty to look at, but not functional for me. I’ve seen the chevron painted mug on Pinterest and I thought about doing something similar, but I’m not too sure if I have the patience. I have one too many projects going on and I’m sure my other half would sigh if I started another. Hehe!

  5. Those are so great! Do you know how well the paint holds up under repeated washings?
    My latest Pinterest project is a canning jar soap dispenser, posted first at {A Charming Nest}. I just posted on it, and love love love my new soap dispenser!

  6. SO lovely, Kate! I’ve been trying to decide how to embellish some fall plates, and man, it’ll be hard not to do exactly this! So pretty!

  7. Love this b/c I’ve been trying to find a way to add ‘labels’ to canisters (you know, sugar, flour, etc). I’m checking out Michaels for these pens asap.
    p.s. Your site is too much, Kate! I was going to comment on this about an hour ago and then got distracted by the mudroom post, which somehow led me to the dining room post with the glass tile install, which led me to the Dash and Albert site, picking out a rug! You have such good taste, its gets a design loving girl all turned around and excited running around this blog.

  8. Beautiful but this is one project I am super intimidated by! I don’t know why but when it comes to painting small stuff, I just do not have the talent. That’s why I like my shabby style – I can slop it on, sand it off, and it STILL looks good:) You have a great eye – the gold is fantastic!

  9. I love Pinterest! Probably a little too much. That site is amazing. I’ve used it for several things recently: exercise routine, sock bun curls, recipes, photography tips, and outfit ideas. I love the project you’ve shared here. Your plates are SO cute. I’m thinking this could also be used for cute personalized mugs for wedding showers or Christmas presents.

  10. Wow these are stunning! So simple and elegant! I’ve never thought of making my own plates but this is definitely a project that I feel wouldn’t be too intimidating to take on! I love it! Great Job and thanks for sharing!! :)

  11. Beautiful! I had no idea there were paint pens specifically designed for use on porcelain and ceramic items! Wow…one more thing added to my list of projects I want to try. And oh my, I love Pinterest! Just today I posted a Pinterest-inspired project. I have to remind myself often to stop looking, stop pinning, stop being inspired, and start DOING. I’m pretty sure I could waste away an entire day on Pinterest if I’m not careful!

  12. I love Ashley Ann! Her site is one of the ones I read daily, along with yours and YHL! These dishes are such a great idea. I saw a design on another blog (don’t remember which) where they used porcelain pens to write words all over the plate. So many ideas…

  13. I love this idea too! However, when I was researching the pens a few weeks ago they said they aren’t safe for food?!?!? Are you worried about that at all? I thought maybe I could just do the rims of plates or the outside of mugs. How fun would it be for everyone in the family to have personalized hot chocolate mugs? :)

    • Hey Julie, I haven’t read that, but I’ll certainly look into it! The pens are “non-toxic” according to the manufacturer, but if you’re worried yes, I love your idea – stick to the rims and yes, a mug for every family member is a GREAT gift idea!!!

  14. Love how Pinterest culls interesting things so much better than Google does these days – it’s like its become corrupted by SEO and fake crap websites, you know? It’s now my go-to for finding what I’m looking for. :) I recently made those Martha Stewart vampire pumpkins that circulated a while back, so cute! Your plates turned out so cute, this would be super fun for serving dishes at the holidays!

  15. Kate, you have officially passed up Martha Stewart now! Those plates are beautiful and elegant. It would be fun to decorate a set of dessert plates and it would make a lovely hostess gift. I love your pleated gold chargers! They’re gorgeous.

  16. How durrable is this stuff? I have some ceramic tiles that have my kids birth stats on them, and the pen used on them is pretty fragile (so they’re hung way up high out of reach!)… I”m wondering if this is the same stuff, or if it’s better and stands up well to use?

  17. How pretty! I actually saw some similar at HomeGoods that were not hand-painted. I think for those of you that are talented, the options are limitless with this technique.

  18. Gorgeous Kate!!! Love your design. Oh Pinterest….how I love thee!!! My head is spinning from idea from that site. No I haven’t done anything that I have pinned yet, but there are many ideas for me to hopefully try over the winter. ;) Thanks for sharing Kate! :)

  19. These are so beautiful. What a great idea. I have used ceramic paint before, but was never satisfied with the way it turned out. I will definitely have to try the pens.
    Oh and I have not been able to re-create any inspiration lately, we have been busy setting up our TV room after getting some new furniture this weekend!
    Have a great day!

  20. I love, love, love this idea! I’ve had these white plates that I’ve been wanting to do something more with. This will be a perfect application for them. Your maple leaf is a perfect design for Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  21. A lot of people are using the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Paint Markers for these projects, including at least one that you have pictured. And what leaps out at you when you read the desription of these pens is that they are “non-toxic” and “dishwasher-safe. But if you read the entire description it says “Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Paint Markers contain no toxic ingredients, and conform to ASTM D-4236. Once dried and heat-set, the durable,high-gloss finish is permanent and dishwasher-safe. These markers are not recommended for use on surfaces that come in contact with food.” Therefore I wouldn’t place your design on a mug too close to where you drink out of it or on a plate that you are going to eat off of. Better safe than sorry.

    • WOW, Kris and Jules, this I did not know! That is important information to have, thank you SO much for sharing, I’ll update the post to caution everyone.

  22. What a fantastic idea! I’ve in love with that peacock feather plate. I think I just figured out what to do for teacher gifts this year! Coffee mugs with dot painting:)

  23. I’ve recently combined two ideas from Pinterest. I made pretty “butterfly art” (1st) by punching gorgeous paint chip colours (2nd) with a butterfly punch. I love using paint chips. You can get any colours – gradients, complimentary etc. Cheap & cheerful!
    BTW, I love your blog!

  24. Kate,

    Have you done a tutorial about how to use pinterest? I get on there, search then click on the picture thinking it will take me to the project but it does not then after hours get so frustrated just log off. Any pinterest pointers???

    Thanks, eRin

    • That is frustrating Erin, finding the true source has become increasingly difficult on Pinterest!

  25. Please take a look at the Q&A page for the manufacturer of Porcelaine 150 (the product mentioned in the Martha Stewart article). The manufacturer does not suggest using their product on surfaces that will be eaten off of, such as the eating surface of plates. They feel that it is possible for eating utensils to scratch the paint and possibly introduce flakes into food.

  26. I don’t know if I should be happy about my 1,115 pins and 136 likes or embarrassed! I try to create something from my pins at least a couple of times a week. Most recently I’ve sewn composition notebook covers and making fabric and paper gift tags. I think for every one thing I make I pin twenty or thirty. Oh well, what can I say, it’s fun and good for the soul.

  27. This is adorable! I love the idea and might use this for handmade Christmas gifts this year! Thanks for sharing :).

  28. When I was looking in to doing a similar project, I found this link that I found helpful.

    Here’s an extract from it.
    “We have contacted Pebeo and have confirmed that the Pebeo Porcelaine Paint 150 used in our Adorn feature is food safe. The paint has
    been tested at Duke University, and was reported non-toxic and food safe for food contact.

    Though the paint is non-toxic, it is not recommended for use on a dinner plate because sharp objects, such as a steak knife, could damage
    the design and bacteria could potentially become trapped in cracks caused by utensils. However, the paint itself is not harmful to ingest
    even if scraped off.

    The reason the paint is not currently FDA approved is cost. The cost for FDA approval is approximately $50,000 per paint color, which
    Pebeo may pursue at a future time.”

    I decided to go ahead and make the plates, but most the time it would certainly be better to be safe than sorry and just keep the art work on the outside.

    • Thank you Mary, how thoughtful of you to do the research and link to it here, thanks so very much!

  29. I bought one of these pens yesterday and cannot for the life of me get it to work. The ink won’t flow out, even though I did the “prep” of pressing down on a paper towel to get it started. It won’t absorb into the tip = it isn’t working. :( Any tips??

    • Hey Julie, the only thing I can think of is you have a defective pen, you might try returning it for another, it’s happened to me before!

  30. Beautiful! But if I couldn’t eat off of them I would mount them on a kitchen wall!

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