Jun 10, 2014

A Father's Day DIY Dad Will Actually Use | Personalized Grill Prep Plates

My husband, along with most other men I have met in my life, has a love of grilling (and meat). This is a love I fully support. It gets us outdoors, inspires us to invite friends over, reduces my cooking burden, and usually results in less dishes to clean. Basically a win-win for everyone involved. I surprised my husband with a grill for his birthday a few years ago and I am still convinced this is the best gift I have ever given him (though his tool chest comes in a close second). I think that first summer he grilled our dinner from July to October. As July is fast approaching, the 'summer vibe' has picked up dramatically in our house and I sense our grilling season is about to hit its stride. Thus, the inspiration for this year's Father's Day gift - DIY personalized grilling prep plates. 

{Notice - I did not say 'BBQ' plates. I am a Texan and adhere to the strict definition of grilling vs BBQ. It is not a BBQ unless there is BBQ sauce and meat involved. Period. Get it right, people.}   

Being the engineer that he is, my husband develops a 'standard operating procedure' for many things. Grilling is one of them. Despite my endless (good natured) ridicule, he perseveres with his grilling routine that involves multiple prep plates, precise flipping/rotating, and timing down to the second. However, last summer he shattered one of his prep plates (gasp!). Since then he has been limping along in a less optimized grill procedure. However do we survive. 

Father's Day to the rescue! I flew through Crate and Barrel (with my toddler dangerously close to meltdown) and picked up two brand new square white plates (for only $6 a piece!). The perfect canvas for a little DIY love. I found my Porcelain Paint Pen at the bottom of one of my craft drawers, designed a quick stencil on my Silhouette Cameo, and got to work.

The 'Meat' plate was inspired by butcher meat cut drawings like this and the 'Dad' plate is a reminder for him of just how much he is rocking fatherhood. Whatever your inspiration, make it personal. If your kid is old enough to handle markers well, I think a kid art version would also be adorable. 

A few tips: I would suggest a simple design that does not require 'coloring in'. I have never been able to make the paint pen give a smooth finish when coloring in a letter, example. This is why I stuck with the outline. Also, baby wipes actually work pretty well for removing mistakes (pre-baking). I've also seen conflicting things on food safety of porcelain pens. Do the research on the paint you use or only put them on the non-food contacting surfaces.

Once the artwork is complete, let the plates dry for 24 hours. Then bake them at 300 degrees F for 35 minutes (or per the instructions on your paint marker), allowing the plates to preheat and cool down with the oven. 

He is under strict orders to steer clear of my blog for the remainder of the week so hopefully these guys will be a nice surprise come Sunday. Maybe it will inspire him to grill something a little extra delicious. 


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