Introduction: Dirty Plates

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

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. 

Picture intentionally left off of this step.

Step 2: Clean Up the Image

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

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

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

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! 

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