How to Make a Gallery of Marble Painted Plates for Under $40

Inspired by a Japanese paper-marbling technique called suminagashi, a DIYer transformed bargain finds into a gallery of painted plates on her dining room wall.

As with many of her DIY projects, blogger Cathryn Holt adapted a traditional crafting technique in a quirky way. This time she taught herself suminagashi—a Japanese marbling technique involving floating paint on water. But instead of the typical paper, she dipped plates to create unique patterns for a statement wall in her family's Warner Robins, GA, home. "I had a closet full of spray paint that ended up being perfect for the job," she says. "It comes out in a mist form, so the paint immediately starts forming that marbled pattern when it hits the water surface. "Using white plates she found at Dollar Tree for—as you might imagine—a dollar each, the project cost $40 (including hanging supplies) and took two days.

display of blue and white marbled plates
Hector Sanchez

How to Make Marbled Painted Plates

Supplies Needed

  • Drop cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • 8-inch-deep basin
  • Glossy spray paint
  • Skewer
  • Assorted white plates, washed and dried
  • Clear acrylic spray
  • Superglue
  • D-rings
  • Duct tape
  • Picture hanging hooks

Step-by-Step Directions

Cathryn stuck to blue for this project but has experimented with multicolor versions since. One of her favorite combos involves spraying purple, gold, and green paint onto water, quickly swirling, then dipping plates as she did for these.

Step 1: Dip Plates

Protect your work surface with a drop cloth or towels. Wearing gloves and working outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, fill a basin with 6 inches of room temperature water. Mist the surface of the water with spray paint ($6, The Home Depot). Briefly swirl paint with a skewer to create a marble pattern. Immediately submerge the plate below the paint, inserting the plate diagonally and right side up near the edge of the basin.

Step 2: Dry

Carefully lift the plate to collect paint on the surface. Slowly tip the plate to pour off the water, then lift the plate out of water. Let plate dry 24 hours on a protected surface. If bubbles form under the paint, pop them with a pin once the paint is completely dry. If you want stronger color or pattern, redip the dry plates. Between each dip, remove any remaining paint from water, then remist and swirl paint. Finish with clear acrylic spray ($9, Walmart).

close up of blue and white marbled plates
Hector Sanchez

Step 3: Hang

Superglue a D-ring ($3 for 4, Joann) to the back of each plate, and secure with duct tape. Let dry for 12 hours. Hang plates with picture hanging hooks ($4, Lowe's).

Editor's Tip: Dishes aren't food safe and shouldn't be put in the dishwasher.

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