Kid-Decorated Dishes

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Every year I try and fit in a project for the kids to make as Christmas gifts. Here's what some (I think rather lucky) family members got this year — hand-decorated dishes. I bought a stack of serving trays from Target. Mugs work well too. And some Porcelaine Paint Markers from Dick Blick. After cooking, the drawings will be permanent and, fingers crossed, dishwasher-safe.

1. Wipe down the surface of the dish with rubbing alcohol.

2. Draw on the dishes to your hearts content. These are paint markers, and they take a little gentle coaxing to get them started. I had one or two that wouldn't flow, but generally, they were very easy to work with. The manufacturer of the markers does recommend keeping your design from areas that will touch the food, so while I did not let them draw on the inside of the mug, I'm not too concerned about a serving tray that will be used for cookies, etc.

The kids picked a theme for each piece (cats, kites, flowers, whatever), which I think helped keep them entertained. The other rule we decided on was to limit the number of colors on each plate. We used two colors plus black. Hey, it's never too soon to discuss color theory. Am I right?

3. Place the dishes in a cold oven, and set the temperature to 300 degrees. Once the oven reaches full temperature, bake for 30 minutes.

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And don't forget to make an extra one to keep. Enjoy!