Create a Signature Platter

Here’s a project that makes a wonderful gift or commemorative piece for special events and occasions, a signature platter.  The project may be done with just about any piece of bisque and is completed in a fashion very similar to the Happy Birthday Plate we do at birthday parties. In this article we will be using an Italian Bread Tray but bowls, plates and serving trays also work well. These pieces make great teacher gifts and can be as simple or elaborate in design as you like.

Step 1…For this tray, we want a solid, light color background with a brightly colored message around the border. We’ll start by applying the first of three coats of Bright Ginger (number 312) using a fan brush.

Step 2…The colors we use at Your Creation Station are very translucent but the thicker they are applied to the piece, the more opaque they become. Here we are applying a second coat of Bright Ginger. Notice how we apply the underglaze in a different direction from the coat underneath. Doing this helps to reduce brush marks you may see in the final fired piece. You can also see how the first coat has dried and is lighter in color than when the underglaze is wet. The drier the coat is underneath, the better the coat on top will stick.

Step 3…Here we are applying the last of three coats, again we are applying it in a different direction than the completely dried undercoat. Remember, when we’re painting with ceramic underglazes, we are really building layers of color on top of each other. The thicker the underglaze is, the more opaque the color becomes. Although we say to do three coats for a solid, opaque color, we are really trying to build a layer of underglaze that is about as thick as your fingernail.

Step 4…at this point we’ve got three solid and dry coats on our tray and we’re ready to start lettering our message, in this instance we’re painting “Happy 50th Anniversary Mel and Jean” using Bright Purple (number 292). For the lettering we will do at least two coats, if we had chosen a darker background color, we would do three coats. To start we used a regular no. 2 pencil to lightly draw a guide line around the rim. The pencil line will help to keep the lettering straight as we paint and the line will burn away during the fire.

Step 5…After the lettering Is complete, the tray is ready to for signatures and messages. There are a number of ways to achieve this for this example we brough the unglazed tray to the anniversary party and asked the guest to sign it using a Sharpie, much as they would sign a guest book or poster board.  Step 6…After the party is over the tray comes back to Your Creation Station for the final lettering.  As you can see in the picture, each of the guests have signed the tray.  Since anything that isn’t ‘ceramic’, such as magic marker ink, burns away in the fire, we will need to do something to the lettering to make it permanent…

Step 7…Here’s how we do it…using a thin brush and some black underglaze, we paint over each of the letters.  I would be lying if I said it was a small job but it’s not really as bad as it looks.  The catch is you need to put on two coats.  Without going into details here, there are other ways to get the names on the finished piece but painting them gives the best result by far and is well worth the effort.

Finished…Once the names have been painted, we will glaze and fire the piece for you.  Unfortunately, my camera started to reach the end of its useful life right about the time this tray came out of the kiln so the colors you see aren’t representative of what the piece ultimately looked like.  Rest assured, Walt and Gen were blown away with the real piece.

There are many ways to do similar projects with just about any form.  Stop in the store or give us a call to see what else you can do.  These projects make great gifts and work well for classroom fundraisers.

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