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One of the best tips for putting decoupage on plates is to experiment with different types of paper. While gift wrap and paper napkins are commonly used and can look beautiful on decoupaged plates, other materials such as greeting card images, candy wrappers, ribbon, fabric and tissue paper also tend to create interesting looks. Decoupaging different thicknesses and types of papers onto a clear glass plate can lead to an artistic result that is also fun to do.
Any types of paper used should always be decoupaged on the back of a clear glass plate with the right side facing the crafter through the plate's front. The clear glass front adds automatic protection to the decoupaged plate, so a spray paper varnish isn't necessary on this side. Spray varnish will be needed to protect the back of the plate, though. A circle of paper or fabric cut to the plate's size and shape and decoupaged on the back can hide the underside of all of the cutouts. It's important to note that decoupage on plates is for decorative use; the finished plate should be wiped to clean, and it shouldn't be placed in a dishwasher or be used for eating hot foods.
Delicate tissue papers as well as small cutouts from any type of paper are often easier to place on the plate back if tweezers are used. Picking up silky fabric cutouts with tweezers is also usually easier than using the hands only. A good tip for covering the work surface to avoid getting liquid decoupage medium everywhere is to use plastic bags or an old tablecloth rather than newspaper. Newspaper may smudge the cut out papers and fabrics to decoupage on plates. Printed images done with an ink jet printer shouldn't be used when decoupaging plates either, as they also run the risk of smudging.
Foil or clear candy wrappers used when decoupaging a glass plate can add interesting effects as well. Even crinkles and wrinkles in the foil or plastic can make eye-catching textures when used for decoupage on plates. Ribbon and fabric used on the plates can also give them shine or a pattern. Because of it's thinness, colored tissue paper overlapped over different colors of it can give decoupaged plates an artistic mix of light and dark tones. Scrunching up or folding small pieces of tissue paper and adding it in patterns on a glass plate often gives it a very creative, fun look.
@indigomoth - That's a bit of trouble to go to for a decorative plate I think. It's just as easy to paint them with the special china paints you can get from craft stores. Decoupage has a different effect if you do it properly.
And I see it as more of an art, rather than just trying to make a plate look nicer. It's something I would hang on my wall.
That said, you can often find old glass plates at second hand stores for very low prices, and if you use your images on the backs of them, they can be used for salads and things and then wiped clean rather than washed.
And of course I get most of my decoupage supplies from old magazines.
If you are more interesting in putting an image on a plate than in decoupage per se, you might want to check out those products that allow you to transfer the ink from an image to the plate. I believe the decorative plate turns out waterproof afterwards and can be used for food. Of course, with decoupage you can't really do either of those things.
I don't remember what they are called but I think you print out the image on the special paper and then bake it onto the plate.
I tried using them years ago and got some interesting results. It did seem to be hit or miss as to whether it would print properly on the paper though.
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