Introduction: Dirty Plates

Picture of Dirty Plates

Christmas is a time for reconnecting with old friends and giving them gifts with naked people on them. Or at least that's one of my own personal traditions. I gave friends bars of dirty soap a few years ago and many of them still have them in pristine condition and on display in their homes. So I figured I'd make something new: dirty plates!

These plates are 9" glass plates from IKEA that are pretty cheap so it's a very affordable gift. All the value is in the awesome art you're going to add.

Step 1: Get an Image

Go forth and explore the internet until you've found an image you really like. 

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Step 2: Clean Up the Image

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Open the image with your favorite photo-editing program. I use Photoshop, but GIMP is free and I hear it works well enough.

This image didn't need too much clean up. My process was this:

 - Make image grayscale
 - Tweak the levels to brighten it up and make light grays white
 - Erase bits and pieces left over
 - Rotate 90 degrees to fit on 8.5" x 11" sheet

Other images might require more work with the eraser tool.

Step 3: Print and Cut

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Print out the image on the office printer during work hours and rush over to pick it up. Or do like I did and print it, start some other project, remember what I printed, and run over to the printer to find the printout under some expense reports.

Trim off the excess with a razor.

Step 4: Stick It and Paint It

Picture of Stick It and Paint It

I used some spray adhesive on the image and stuck it to the back of the plate. I've seen others recommend a diluted white glue (2 parts glue, 1 part water) to stick it on.

Let that dry and then spray on your favorite color for a backdrop. 

When the paint is dry, apply a couple of coats of clear coat to preserve it.


Step 5: Two Layer Paint

Picture of Two Layer Paint

For something slightly fancier, you can use two colors for a backdrop. 

Put a stencil on the plate and spray your first color. In this picture that is the blue paint. 

After the first color has dried, remove the stencil and spray on the second color. Here it's green.

Now wrap up the plates and give them out to your friends! 


llambert3 (author)2011-11-23

So can you eat on them? This is very important, because I want to include care instructions with the plates.

lorijean (author)2011-03-12

will the finished plate be dishwasher safe or at least safe to wash in the sink? Or is this only to be used as decoration?

leah_thomas (author)lorijean2011-07-27

I doubt it because glue or spray adhesive rarely last in water (had a project go to hell because of that). You could use a resin or epoxy to seal the back but I'm not sure how well it would look. Unless you're really experienced with using resin.

lorijean (author)2011-03-12

Your project makes me lol. Very clever.

Greasetattoo (author)2010-12-21

Now, what you should do is:

Get a picture of a t-bone or eggs and hash browns.
After they have eaten the food.
Take a picture and put that on the plate too.

Huh...Dirty plate....with a bonus!!

Good instructable!
Heads up!

MaXoR (author)Greasetattoo2011-03-03

LOL.... I like your idea.....hehee

janw (author)2011-02-23

Next, dirty laundry?

Nice project!

mdeblasi1 (author)2011-01-13

Have you tried xerox ink transfer to the plate glass, or doesn't that work these days?

It was really big when I was in college, but we had some behemoth xerox machines in those days with black powder ink that got everywhere when you changed the 2 pound cartridges.

For a while we were doing photo copy transfer to anything that would stand still.

l8nite (author)2010-12-31

these are COOL and they dont have to be nakied pictures, You could do a full colored flower or a picture of your friends or parents home, their dog or even a grandchild... nice job fungus

dragstrip (author)2010-12-27


How do they stand up to use, or are they purely for decoration?
Can they be put in a dishwasher?

fungus amungus (author)dragstrip2010-12-27

I've only used them for decoration so far. They should be OK for use with handwashing.

jeff-o (author)2010-12-21

Hey, I'm still looking for a gift for my mom, think she'd like this? LOL. :D

Sunbanks (author)jeff-o2010-12-22


bounty1012 (author)jeff-o2010-12-21

Go for it xD

piaferre (author)2010-12-21

great ideaa

mikeasaurus (author)2010-12-20

tastefully documented, and would be an awesome gift to receive!

mistressdominastar (author)2010-12-20

Very Nice, I needed an unusual gift for a unique friend. Do you use a special paint or just any spray paint? thanks

I use Montana paints because the color selection is awesome. They're a little harder to find, but our local art supply store stocks 'em.

Kalikamuse (author)2010-12-20

So you spray the paint on the back of the plate too...? and what type of clear coat do you recommend?

Everything on the back. I used Krylon clear coat, but I haven't done a thorough test of different clear coats. It's a side that won't be seen nearly as much anyway.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
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