How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate this Holiday Season

Have you ever heard of the Giving Plate? It’s a plate that someone has made (or purchased) that is meant to have no owner. It is filled with a special treat or a favorite meal and passed along to someone else. They then eat the treats, fill the plate, and pass it to the next person. The Giving Plate makes the best gift for the holidays or can be a great housewarming gift for a family member or friend. 

For those who haven’t tried this, maybe you can start a new tradition among your group of friends! Make a plate and pass it around this year, next year, and for years to come. 

​For the best results, find a plate that is microwave safe. Even if the plate says it’s also dishwasher safe, once you’ve designed your plate you don’t want to wash it in the dishwasher as the design will come off. 

Originally Published On: December 14, 2017

Last Updated On: July 23, 2023

The Giving Plate Poem

This plate shall have no owner
for its journey NEVER ends,
it travels in a circle 
of our FAMILY and FRIENDS.
It carries LOVE from home to home 
For everyone to share,
The food that’s placed upon it 
was made with love and care.
So please ENJOY what’s on the plate
Then fill it up again,
Then pass along the love it holds 
to your family and friends!


Ok, so the poem pretty much explains the idea of the plate. Now how do you make one? It’s much easier than I thought it was going to be. The best part? You don’t have to be a super creative person to make one of these. If you can print out a full page template, cut it out, and trace it, then you can make your plate!

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

We had a MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) mom’s night out at one of our leader’s homes, and we all made our own plate. Since I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing, I started out simple. Our leader had suggested searching online for a template we want, but I completely forgot about that part. Luckily, she is an excellent planner and had a few ready for us to use.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

She had everything we needed set up on some tables for us. The following are the supplies you need to make your own giving plate:

  • Plates
  • Paper with a printed template
  • Pencils
  • Cheap ballpoint Pens
  • Sharpie Markers (oil-based work best)
  • Acetone
  • Q-Tips
  • Scissors
  • Tape

You’ll want to buy oil-based Sharpies, as the gel Sharpies tend to crackle after baking it in. We originally made these with regular Sharpies but the Sharpie didn’t hold up. After a few washes, it started to fade. The plates can be from the dollar store, as long as they are glass plates. Obviously, you probably want to start with a white plate since that will show the color the most. But there’s no reason you can’t start with a different color as well. No matter what color plate you use, you want to make sure to use a little bit of acetone to clean it before you start.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

Step by Step


Once you have your printed template, you want to flip it over and use the pencil to cover the model with pencil lead. You want to make sure there is enough pencil on there, so give it a thick coat.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

Then turn the template back the correct way, and cut close to the words or images, so you don’t have a lot of extra paper. Then use the tape and adhere the paper to the plate where you want it to go. Use a pen to trace the template, pushing as hard as you can. Trust me; your hand will be a little sore by the time you are done. Take your time. The harder you push, the more of the lead that will transfer to the plate, giving you your template.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

Once you have the pencil marks on the plate, use the Sharpie markers to trace your template. If you make a mistake, you can use the acetone on a Q-tip to erase the Sharpie markers. Get creative, use as many colors as you want on the plate, and don’t hesitate to free-hand draw some accents around the plate. You can also write your name or the poem on the bottom of the dish.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate
How to Make Your Own Giving Plate


After you finish your plate, let it cure for at least 24 hours. To set the color in, you need to bake the plate but do it carefully. Put your plate in the oven while it is at room temperature. Set the oven to 350F and then set a timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the plate in for a couple of hours until the oven has completely cooled. You want to make sure the plate doesn’t cool down too quickly, or the plate can crack.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

Once the plate is completely cooled, you have your final product! Make sure to hand wash the plate because the dishwasher will quickly wash the marker off.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

Other Ideas

Have fun! You can also use this method to create any plate you want. I am working on a plate right now with the Hogwarts Crest on it, done the same way. I also want to get a few more plates so my boys can make their own “special” plates.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

Here are some other ideas for plates that some of the moms made. For most of them, the center was done with a template, and the design around it was freehanded on the plates.

How to Make Your Own Giving Plate
How to Make Your Own Giving Plate
How to Make Your Own Giving Plate
How to Make Your Own Giving Plate

42 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Giving Plate this Holiday Season”

  1. I haven’t ever heard this before! I love this idea. I will be adding this to my “winter crafts” — My g/fs will love this as well. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is such a fabulous idea! We have one that travels amongst all the neighbors on my street…. it’s not an xmas one so we randomly suprise each other with treats throughout the year for no reason at all.its so much fun!

  3. These plates are so cute, and thank you for explaining how to easily trasfer the template to plate! I’ve seen these plates before and have always wanted to make one- now i’m not so nervous about how to go about it. LOL Again, thank you for the easy to understand directions.

  4. I have never heard of this but I absolutely love it! What a cute idea and great design. I may have to make one of these myself.

  5. This ‘ll be so great for Christmas. It looks very fun and exciting. Thanks for sharing. I hope you’ll write more about this topic

  6. This is such an amazing idea! My sister and I would surely love to do this even though we’ve both grown out of coloring lol! Thanks for sharing, and merry early Christmas!

  7. Has anyone included a card that travels along with the plate that asks the receiver to add their name as it is passed along? Eventually when the card is filled (6 or any number of names) send it back to the originator? Wondering how you might word the message creatively? Thanks!

    1. No, I never thought about that, but it’s an awesome idea! I’d have to think about how to word it. But it would be cool to either have everyone write names or do something through social media so everyone can see how far it goes.

  8. I’ve read that the regular sharpies come off when washed and that you have to use the (much more expensive) oil based sharpies. How have the regular sharpie designs held up after washing?

    1. I have noticed mine starting to fade a bit. I’ve done a few plates for fun besides my giving plate. I like to use something that isn’t messy, like cookies that are just crumbly, so I don’t have to scrub hard. I haven’t tried the oil-based sharpies yet but plan to try that next time.

    1. I want to do some new ones with my boys this year, too. It’s fun to do and they like having something they created. Just make sure to get the right markers so it doesn’t wash off easily.

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