SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, January 20, 2014

Home Decor: Upcycled Vintage Plates and Platters | Family Economics

By Cathe Holden


When I’m shopping at thrift stores or antiques shops, I often stumble upon sweet vintage plates and platters that are inexpensive due to their less-than-desirable condition. Hairline cracks and surface crazing can put an otherwise pretty plate right into the bargain bin. For decorative purposes, these dishes can provide a practical lift to your home’s décor. So, the next time you see a serving piece with attractive edges, patterns or colors, snag it up and get creative!

Here are a few dishes that I’ve transformed into unique home décor:

I purchased a small mirror at the craft store, edged it with striped washi tape, added little gold dots using a metallic paint pen and adhered it to the center of a floral edge saucer using double-sided foam adhesive dots, also from the craft store. For larger pieces, secure mirror with a strong, liquid bonding adhesive, specifically for glass and porcelain.

upcycled plate 

Using gummed paper photo corners (found at your local office supply store), I secured this adorable vintage photograph to the rim of a platter.

platter with vintage photo 

Plates make excellent bases for collage projects, as well as nice monthly or seasonal décor. To attach dimensional, such as the lightweight collage items to the below plate, I used clear, double-sided, pressure sensitive adhesive dots, used primarily for scrapbooking. I painted the center of a matching plate with grey acrylic chalkboard paint, detailed with scalloped edging along the plate’s embossed design. Then, once again using a metallic paint marker, I outlined the dried chalk paint area in gold and handwrote with chalk the birthdays of the month.

plate collage and chalkboard 

Display upcycled dishes on walls using standard wire and spring plate hanging hardware, or on a shelf with a plate display stand.

Here are a few other ideas for upcycling vintage dishes:

  • Stencil your initial, a monogram, or message in the center or around the wide-outer rim. If you have an electronic die-cutting machine, you can do the same with adhesive-back vinyl.
  • Use flat dishes as memo boards attaching notes and photos with coordinating decorative washi tape.
  • Create a message board using dry erase markers to write on the plate. (Test markers on the back of the plate prior to using.)

Have you upcycled something vintage? If so, what was it? Share in the comments!

Photos courtesy of Cathe Holden.

4 Comments so far

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On Monday, June 1, 2015, Deborah from NY wrote

what a perfect idea

On Thursday, January 23, 2014, Michelle Rose Jorgensen wrote

I was just marking down a bunch of mismatched plates in my shop, Rose Mille ( (shameless plug) I will refer my customers to this post for some great ideas! Thanks so much Cathe!

On Wednesday, January 22, 2014, Vintage Novella wrote

love, love, love these!

On Wednesday, January 22, 2014, Memma from wrote

Wow! Those are adorable. I can't wait to do some for myself! Thanks for sharing.


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