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DIY animal-stenciled dishes

If you’re like me, your kitchen cabinets are filled with white plates. In fact, almost my entire cupboard is filled with boring white ceramic plates. Although white plates and cups are ideal for food photography, they can be a little drab when you’re just having dinner or enjoying a cup of Joe. Take a break from the ordinary and add some fun, rustic appeal to your dishes with this super-easy animal stencil DIY!

crab plate

When I say easy, I mean easy — you just sketch, paint and dry! Dishes like this can cost upward of $50 from trendy stores like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, so save the cash and make your own instead. Not only are these cute, they are a great project to do with your older kids! Go online and have them pick out their favorite stencil, trace it and let them paint with their favorite colors. A great project for a rainy weekend or a birthday party!

What you’ll need: 


  • White dishes (I used a plate and mugs)
  • Paint
  • Animal stencils (I used this crab, but this fish and cow are cute too!)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrushes

Step 1: Cut out and trace shapes.

Cut out around the edges of the stencils with scissors. Be careful to cut out exactly as they appear, with ridges and bumps for a more realistic depiction.



Using easily removable craft tape, tape the stencils onto the mug so you can trace evenly. Use your pencil and lightly trace around the stencils. (The pencil will not show up, don’t worry.)




Step 2: Paint inside the outline.

Using your color of choice, carefully paint in the stencil shape; make sure you cover the pencil outline.


I blotted the paintbrush over the whole stencil to give it a “puffy, vintage” look.


Carefully wipe away any splotches or spots with a damp napkin. Do this WHILE THE PAINT IS WET, so you can easily fix any mistakes. Once the paint dries, it’s much harder to wipe off and clean up the lines.

Step 3: Let dry and paint rim.

Let the crab/stencil dry for at least an hour before you paint the rim of the plate. If you’d rather leave it, then let the plate dry at least 24 hours before use. To create a weathered rim, simply dip a larger brush with rough bristles in your color of choice and paint one stroke down the edge of the plate.


Much like the stencil, wipe away any smudges with a wet towel. Let paint dry overnight before use. Note: These dishes are handwash only! Repeat with your other stencils and mugs or plates and enjoy!


An adorable and easy way to add pizzazz to your white plates and mugs!

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