Tutorial & tips for DIY painted bowl and spoon sets that are fun, colorful, AND dishwasher safe using gloss enamel craft paint & paint pens. Whether given alone or part of a food basket, these colorful painted bowls and spoons make a unique & fun gift. For more great gift ideas, head over to the handmade gifts page!
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Hand painted dishware is always a great gift for anyone on your list. I’ve seen mugs with cute sayings and plates with fun designs on Pinterest, which inspired me to put my own spin on them by creating matching sets of painted bowls and spoon sets for our family Christmas gifts.
For our holiday gift giving, “family gifts” are things a whole family could enjoy, like food, throws, games, etc., and these fall into that category, since everyone uses bowls and spoons! They could also become part of a basket, like an Ice Cream Sundae Basket, breakfast basket, or kitchenware basket. I think the sets are adorable with they’re happy colors and you can really get creative with them.
I just LOVE how these turned out! Plus they were so fun and easy to make. My daughter was home from college and helped – we put on some Christmas music and just painted away (or should I say, “dotted away?”). We did learn a couple things along the way – some things you should do and one thing not to do – which I’ll share with you to make this project even easier, of course.
The biggest thing you’re probably wondering about is, “are they dishwasher safe?” Yes! Well, supposedly, since I didn’t wash them, but the paints I found all said they’d be safe to wash, so I’m going with that. Definitely better than the sharpie idea I was originally going to do until I read how the markers come off even after baking with just regular use.
UPDATE: The paint used for the bowls held up for a couple years with regular washing, but eventually faded. The paint used for the spoons didn’t really stand up to dishwasher use more than a few months, so I would mention that they are hand-wash.
Below you’ll find all the supplies, steps, tips, and pictures of some of the many designs we came up with for the bowls to make it easy to make your own bowl and spoon sets!
How to Make Painted Bowl and Spoon Sets
- Small white bowls, 1 cup size (most of mine are $1 bowls from Walmart, but a few others were about $1.50 from Fred Meyer – check any store that sells individual dishes). You can use bigger sizes, of course – I wanted small bowls since these will be part of ice cream gift baskets.
- Stainless steel spoons. This set on Amazon is $1 each – I found long ‘ice cream’ spoons (I know they’re iced tea spoons, but it’s fun to eat ice cream with them) at our local Big Lots store in sets for .60 each. It’s hard to find longer spoons at thrift stores, but regular spoons should be about .25 each there.
- Sharpie Medium Point Oil-Based Paint Pens – this is what you want to get to be able to bake them and then have them be dishwasher safe. I found this set of 5 different colors and then picked the enamel paint colors to coordinate with them.
- Gloss Enamel Paint in the colors to coordinate with the paint pens. Use these to paint the ends of the spoons to look ‘dipped.’
- Paint brush(es) in a width to cover the ends of your spoons with one swipe to minimize brush strokes (no, you do not want to actually dip them in the paint – see below!).
- Rubbing alcohol & q-tips.
TIP: You can use just the enamel paint and use a small-tipped brush to paint dots on the bowls. I found the pens much easier, but we did use the brush-enamel technique to apply gold dots to one set of bowls to coordinate with some gold-dipped spoons. I say “we” but it was really my daughter- I was happiest with the paint pens!
Painted Bowl and Spoon Sets Instructions
Paint the Spoons
- Using a brush the width of your spoon end, start about 2/3 up the handle and swipe the enamel paint up to the end of the spoon. Cover the sides, if needed, and then the back.
- Be careful to have enough paint loaded on your brush to cover nicely but not too thick. You can go back and touch up, but be careful not to add too much paint (see warning below…) and try to swipe once or twice to minimize brush strokes.
- Let dry according to package directions. The enamel paint I used (and linked to above) take 4 days to dry before baking, so plan accordingly.
- To bake, I propped the spoons on knives so none of the paint would be touching the baking pan. Bake according to directions: start in cool oven, start timing 30 minutes when the oven reaches 350, and then let cool in oven with door open. You will need ventilation – it’s not terrible, but you will smell it. I turned the down-draft vent on and cracked the window and it was fine.
Here’s the warning tip:
See all the bubbles in the orange paint? These appeared after baking in this color, and slightly less in the pink on the far left. What was different? We had experimented with actually dipping the ends of the spoons into the orange enamel paint and it was simply too thick.
As for the pink, it didn’t cover as well and we went back with another coat and a couple of the spoons had too much in spots, though the bubbles aren’t nearly as bad as the orange. Boo.
Live and learn: Don’t put the enamel paint on too thick or it will bubble.
Paint the Bowls
- Prep your paint pens according to the package – basically you shake and then depress the tip until the paint starts to flow.
- Start making your dots in your desired pattern and don’t worry about perfection. You can see above that some dots are perfectly round and some aren’t – you don’t notice it when they’re not super close like the photo! See the photos above and below for design examples we made – sometimes we used the bowl design to guide us (photo directly above and the second photo from the top).
But before you do, here are a couple tips to make your dotty painting easier:
- Depress the tip of the paint pen on a thick paper plate (or other surface that won’t bleed through) and NOT on your bowl – that will cause the paint to run out on your design.
- Use light taps of the paint tips to create ‘clouds’ of dots and make actual little circles with the paint pen tip to make bigger dots.
- Keep rubbing alcohol and q-tips at hand to easily erase any mistakes (biggest tip ever – you will need this!).
Bake to make dishwasher safe similar to the enamel: set in cold oven (I set the bowls upside down right on the oven racks), turn to 325 degrees and when the oven reaches the temperature, set a timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn oven off and let cool completely in the oven, with the door closed (a few hours). Again, provide ventilation, though there’s less smell than with the enamel.
TIP: I found that when cooked at 350, a temp I saw mostly in other tutorials, the colors darkened, especially the orange which looked brown.
Our favorite design was probably this gradual ‘cloud’ dot pattern pictured above, but it took the longest, so we also used larger dots also in all-over patterns and lines.
Here you can see a good sampling of the different designs we made that can give you some ideas for your own bowls.
I just love how the bowl and spoon set look together – wouldn’t it be fun to eat your ice cream with these? You can package them up all in one color or give multicolored sets, it’s up to you!
**This project is also featured in 31 days of handmade gifts for the holidays and beyond. Click here to see all the projects in this series.
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