Make Mismatched Dishes into a Matching Set

Give a new life to secondhand mismatched dishes! Oh my goodness. I think I’m obsessed with this painted plate DIY. Quick: Get to your favorite secondhand shop (Goodwill, Salvation Army, D.I.) and grab all the mismatched white dinnerware you can find. Then use this super easy tutorial to create a brand new set of service for four. Or six. Or eight!

You can make as many place settings as you like, in whatever color scheme you like! The options are endless. Come see how easy it is.

New Life for Mismatched Secondhand Dishes


– place settings*, thoroughly washed and dried
– porcelain paint – I used Pebeo — it comes in individual jars, tubes, or as pens
paint brushes
– water, towel

*The place settings can be any setting you wish. We chose white dishes from the secondhand store.

Since this project is a little do-as-you-wish, here are some notes to consider:

– There are so many options. We did side by side, but a pattern that builds as the place setting is stacked works too. And consider all the place setting options. Dinner plate, salad plate, dessert plate, bowls, drink ware…so many ways to be creative!

– You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If this project is something that excites you, stick with simple. Of course, we are biased but look how awesome five colored lines looks!

– Decide the pattern, the pattern scale and pattern layout before even touching the paint. If you aren’t comfortable with freehand, don’t do it! Use an image and trace it on the dishware.

– Doodle it with pencil, something that is easy to wipe away and change.

– The way we made our pattern look so continuous, so connected, is we actually laid the pieces together to make sure they were exactly the same. After painting the dinner plate, we placed the salad plate right where we thought it should go and set about painting the lines, as seen above.

– The bowls are a bit of a challenge. At least our simple line pattern was. The way we accomplished it was to set the bowl to be painted atop an already painted plate. Then, from the top view, we laid out the colors. From there, we painted in the lines on the inside of the bowl.

For the outside, we looked at the bowl at a 45 degree angle and started the lines downward.

We continued to move our eyes and brushes down the bowl to make sure they stayed aligned.

– If you do make a mistake with the paint, just wipe it away and redo. If you decide after the paint has dried that you don’t like it, simply soak the dishes in warm water and scrub away the paint.

When you have completed the design (and you love it), cure the paint according to the manufacturer’s directions. And enjoy!


Credits: Crafting and photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

1 thought on “Make Mismatched Dishes into a Matching Set”

  1. I am doing this. Remember we did something like this maybe a decade ago in NYC? You made a plate with an off-center elephant and mine was a big, copper flower-looking thing.

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