Trash to Treasure: The Ikat Tea Set

diy painting ceramics_ikat design

This project has been on my back burner for literally years.  I asked for a plain white plate set for Christmas I think 4 years ago, with the genius idea of  decorating them myself (at the time I hadn’t seen this done before, and it felt like a super original and awesome idea).   But the months and then years passed, because I couldn’t ever figure out how to do it. I had even talked to the local ceramic shop who gave me a couple of ideas, but nothing that seemed super practical. Then over the last say, six months maybe, I’ve seen several similar projects pop up on the internet, and that’s when I discovered that this project could be as cheap and easy as hopping over to Michael’s and picking up a Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint pen.   So I finally had a game plan for that plate set! But then I remember my delicate white 18 piece tea service I picked up a couple years ago whilst thrifting (25 cents a piece), I thought maybe it would make a good trial run. I’ve loved this tea service as-was, but I thought it could really be special with some added razzle-dazzle.

diy custom plate set

So onto my design process. I had a few ideas, and spent a couple months just doodling on the service with washable kid’s markers (what I call magic markers). It took me a long while to come up with this design, and meanwhile my kids and I had a blast drawing all over the saucers, and then wiping them clean with a wet wipe.  Actually now that I think about it, I need to make sure that they understand that that was a temporary pleasure–I can already imagine the potential tragedies… In the end I came up with this scribbly design that struck me as an Ikat pattern, which I’ve been loving lately.

pebeo porcelaine 150 paint pen tutorial

Once I decided on the my final design it was quick and easy. I finished the whole set in a couple hours. The how-to is super basic. Draw your design on, and then allow to dry for a minimum of 24 hours. Place the decorated item in a cold oven and set the temp to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is heated, bake your custom  dinnerware for 35 minutes.  It should now be dishwasher safe. NOTE: the baking instructions were not found on the pen or in the packaging; I found them elsewhere.  It says on that website that the paint pens are not recommended for food, but it doesn’t say that anywhere on the pen or packaging. I know that I read a tutorial somewhere else that said it was fine, I just can’t find it again. I’m willing to take the chance, especially with a tea set that won’t have much contact with food. Call me crazy.

diy painting ceramics_ikat design diy painting ceramics_ikat design diy painting ceramics_ikat design diy painting ceramics_ikat design diy painting ceramics_ikat design

diy painting ceramics_ikat designPretty fantastic, right? I’m crazy about how they turned out, and they make me wanna PAR-TAY. You know, with tea. Now on to those plates…



I love that you threw in that the washable markers are magic markers. When we all know that permanent markers are the true magic markers because they can write on anything. Oh if only Roosevelt, Utah hadn’t corrupted you.

Miranda @ One Little Minute

Looking awesome. I have one of those red “You Are Special Today!” German plates from our wedding gifts that came complete with a pen to permanently record special moments…I’ve written on it thrice…in teeny tiny writing…on the bottom. Just can’t commit!

You go girl!


the mither

Being a Boomer, I can report why Mim calls washable markers “Magic Markers.” It’s because when I was a little girl (in California) the only markers around were the brand called Magic Markers. So, just as many people call all facial tissues Kleenex, and all cotton swabs Q-tips, we called all markers Magic Markers. When a genius invented washable markers, I continued calling them Magic Markers, by habit. My children were raised, as any sane mother would–with ONLY washable markers in the house. Oh, except for the time when I bought a personal always-supposed-to-be-out-of-the-reach-of-children set of color Sharpies (aka PERMANENT markers), which were somehow soon used to paint a mural on the wall of our stairway, we’re talking Sistine Chapel proportions here– *sigh*– however, not by Mad Mim! But art does run in the family (with at least one notable exception), as well as climbing and treasure seeking. Obviously. Anyway, Mim calls washable markers Magic Markers because that’s what she grew up hearing the only markers in her life called (in Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgia, California, and yes, Utah). And p.s. I’m thinking all those art supplies we invested in have paid off handsomely– the dishes are gorgeous! p.p.s. When you’re done with it, I say you had better hide that pen well!


you make me sick. In a good way. I love these. They are amazing. I want them.

And also you will love your serger, don’t be afraid of it. I love mine but you will do amazing things with yours. Congrats

Brittany M

This is seriously a FABULOUS idea! I fell in love with an ikat place setting from Crate and Barrel a few years ago, and haven’t been able to find it since (good thing, too, since it was so DANG pricey!). I love the idea of porcelain pens jazzing up some more boring china. Have they stood up well?


Yes, they have! Although I’ve only used them a handful of times, mostly I let them sit there as pretty decor. If I ever do this again though, I’ve thought about trying out the sharpie ceramic pens, cause I love how they have gold etc!


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