Marsha Smith shows you how to take unused, unloved vintage plates and turn them into a stunning wall display that’s a visual feast.
What you’ll need
l Selection of vintage plates l Insect images l Inkjet printer l 1 x packet of Lazertran Inkjet Waterslide Decal Paper (available online) l Scissors l Tray big enough to fill with water and submerge your decals in l Enamel-based varnish l Soft clean paint brush l Turpentine (for cleaning brushes)
1 Start by collecting your plates and the images you would like. The internet has loads of free images you can download. Just be sure that the quality is good enough for the picture to be enlarged. 2 Print images onto the smooth, whiteeggshell side of the paper, following the instructions on your decal paper. 3 Cut out all your bugs (chosen images) as closely to the image itself as possible. Tip: Before moving to Step 4, lay everything out on your plates, so you know which images look best on which plates. Experiment with sizes for added interest. 4 Fill the tray with a little water (approximately 2cm deep). 5 Submerge each image for about a minute. It will curl up at first but don’t worry, as it will slowly unravel as it starts to release the backing. You can use your fingers to gently unfold and hold the image down. Once it has been properly soaked, the backing will easily come away from the printed image. 6 Carefully place the image onto your chosen plate, making sure you have all the little legs and antennae flattened out. (I found a pair of tweezers incredibly handy for this.) The great thing about these decals is you have plenty of time to adjust your image before it dries. 7 Once you’re happy with the placement, set the plate aside to dry for about six hours. As it dries, the outer area of the image will become white. You will see the cut edges, but don’t worry! 8 When the image is completely dry, brush a coat of enamel varnish over the decal and plate. This magically makes the white turn clear. It also makes your image more vibrant and a little transparent, so you can see some of the plate details coming through. Leave to dry for a good few hours before putting on a second coat. Tip: Before attempting to hang your plates (look online for hanging options), it’s a good idea to lay them out on the floor and take a couple of photos on your phone so you can see what arrangement looks best. Happy hanging!