Dinnerware Gone Rogue: How to Hang a Plate Wall

By my calculations, based on my age and fondness for food, I have consumed somewhere in the arena of 37,230 meals. Minus that post-breakup month I ate nothing but ice cream and wine slushies (don’t you judge me), that comes to 37,200 occasions for plates. And if I had my druthers, I would have taken each one of those meals on a different piece of dinnerware; breakfast on a green plate, lunch on the orange. One day striped, one day leopard. Did you know it is a scientific fact that spaghetti tastes better on polka dots?

It’s true. I know these things.

My blue-and-white ceramics collection hit a growth spurt last year, but as much as I like old timey pieces, I have to divide my menagerie of china dinner plates into three different stacks; one for the everyday dishwasher-safe plates, one for more delicate hand-wash only plates, and one for really pretty plates that were too cheap to pass up but too loaded with lead-paint to eat off. With all that fuss, it’s kinda nice to have an all-occasion alternative. Enter: melamine…

See these plates? They are melamine. And not like the crappy picnic gear type of melamine that gets scratched and scuffed up in the dishwasher – I mean heavy-duty, all season, all occasion melamine. Gorgeous patterns – quality materials. When Q Squared told me they wanted to sponsor a post and send me a box of samples, I was excited to see them in person…then they arrived and I felt them in my hands…then I squealed for a sec…then I decided to test out the endurance by dropping them on the floor. And by dropping I mean throwing, but whatever, you can see for yourself.

Yeah. This ain’t your grandma’s china.

I mean, your grandma’s china is awesome and all, but you probably have to be really delicate about it and only bring it out on special occasions, right? Yeah. This, this ain’t that. This stuff is meant to last. Indoors, outdoors, in between. You could be all rustic and stuff and camp with it. Look at you, being fancy and stuff in the wilderness. Get down, you. Get down!

Okay. So, since Q Squared was kind enough to send me these samples and offer a giveaway for y’all (more on that in a minutes) I thought it would be nice to show off the product since they all sorta mix-and-match without being matchy-matchy. Don’t you love that? I love that. It’s like Garanimals for dinnerware.  


Okay, now let’s talk about plate walls for a sec. Plate walls are awesome, but if you have ever tried to hang one you know they can get out of hand in a hurry. Will the hanger hold? Where do I put the nail? How do I get them hung up so they don’t look stupid?

Let’s break this down.

Will the hanger hold?
Yes. People have been hanging plates on the wall since caveman times (for real!) so I think you will be okay. You can buy individual spring-mount plate hangers at any craft or framing supply store (many dollar stores as well) but they are bulky and can get expensive. Instead, I like to buy these little adhesive hangers that stick to the back after activating the adhesive with a little water. They are inexpensive (maybe five for a dollar?) and if/when you decide you want the plates off the wall and back in circulation, you just soak them for an hour and the adhesive disappears. Nifty, right? Since these plates are melamine, which is non-porous, I am reinforcing the adhesive with a piece of duct tape, just to be safe. I’m not worried about them falling off the wall, but even if they did, no biggy, they don’t break. Winning. 

Where do I put the nail?
Salon walls (fancy name for art clusters) can be really frustrating to hang up. Some folks like to lay stuff out on the ground and make newspaper templates, and that’s nice, but way too fussy for me. I just like to start with the big pieces first, hang them, then fill in with smaller items as I see fit. Getting the nails in the right spot is the hard part, but luckily, I have a trick. All you need is— and you are going to love this – toothpaste.

Flip the piece around and dab some toothpaste on  the spot where the nail will go, then hold the piece against the wall exactly where you want to hang it. Then push. Hard. Hard enough that the toothpaste will come off on the wall – THAT SPOT is where you put the nail. After the nail is up you can wipe away the toothpaste with a wet sponge. Or not. It’s toothpaste – it ‘s not hurting anybody.

How do I get them hung up so they don’t look stupid?

A few things…

  1. Cluster. Unless you have 100 plates, don’t try to fill the whole wall, just create a composition in the middle of a wall, or anchored above a piece of furniture. Sometimes I see people scatter 10 plates on a giant wall and they all look kinda lonely; instead, try hanging them all together. Like a party. A plate party.
  2. Balance. For a random-yet-balanced formation, start with your biggest plate and hang it toward the bottom off-center of the area in question. Next grab two small plates and hang them immediately next door. Now you have a cluster of three and things look good in threes. Start another cluster of three nearby, then fill in the bridge and build out as you see fit. Spacing is your call, but I suggest trying to hang them between 3”-9” apart. More than that and the plate patterns won’t talk to each other, which makes for a lame party.
  3. Pattern. Do you have three red plates? Or two flowered blue plates? Space them apart. Our eyes are automatically trained to seek out patterns – spacing out items of similar shape and color will force the eye to travel. If all your plates are of a similar size and color, add some contrast. Here I added a few flat wicker baskets to the composition just as an easy way to add contrast to all the bright and vivid patterns with glossy surfaces. You could easily do the same with plain white plates, or some other visual “neutral.”   
  4. Relax. The great thing about a plate wall is that if you don’t like it, you can take them down and eat dinner.  Big whoop.

*sidebar: Where to hang things on a blank wall. Plates, art, hooks, whatever…
Do you get really intimidated by the thought of hanging thing sin the wrong place on the wall? Here is a tip; decide where you want to hang it, mark it with a pencil, then put a nail 10″ directly below that. Erase the pencil mark. Hang your picture. That’s it. If you think that’s too low, you’re wrong, it’s not. Nothing makes art look cheap and common like hanging it high up. And don’t follow some old rule about 5feet 8inches or whatever either — that’s crap. It’s all about proportion, and most of us proportion too damn high. Aim lower. You’re welcome. 

    I probably shouldn’t call these unbreakable. If you ran over one with a truck, or threw one off a highrise, it would probably break. But that would be at least 10 quality minutes of cathartic release, and a helluva lot cheaper than therapy. So it’s still a total bargain. 

    Also. You see that leaf platter? I’m crazy about it. You could serve scrambled eggs and cat food on that thing and it would still look sassy. Now that’s quality! Shop around and see what you like. Bonus 20% off discount when you use the promo code AuntPeaches.  

    The folks at Q Squared want to give you this awesome piece – the enormous Montecito red platter and three coordinating appetizer plates. I don’t know if you can tell, but the platter is huge. You could easily serve a turkey on there, or layout one bad mamajama of a crudité veggie platter. It also looks really good with my regular blue and white china, and with a black and white stripe napkins. Just sayin.

    To enter the giveaway leave a comment below answering the following question;

    What is the best meal you ever ate?* (brownie points for anyone who can remember anything about the plate it was served upon).

    Comments close Friday, March 21, 2014, 5pm CST. Comments are now closed. Winner chosen at random. If your email is not linked to your profile, please mention it in your comment as well just to be safe. One entry per person, please.

    When you are done, hop on over to see what’s cooking at Q Sqaured, or better yet, take a moment to like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter or Instagram.

    Comments

    1. says

      Cool stuff! Speaking of Garanimals, I just said something very similar at work the other day! I said, “It’s like Garanimals for upholstery.” and then I got crickets from all the “kids” on my team, lol! It’s ok to get older, you know more stuff!

    2. says

      That plate wall is so fun!

      The best meal I ever ate was at a teeny restaurant in London next to Harrod’s. My parents and grandparents had both been there in the 80’s and 90’s and highly recommended the place….even though they weren’t sure it was still there. A year and a half ago my best friend and I went to check it out and sure enough it was still there! We had some tasty white wine, crispy garlic bread, and some of the best fettuccine alfredo on the planet. The best part of that place is that they have the ceiling painted like a sky.

    3. says

      My boyfriend and I made Thai food together for the first time. I’m a sucker for a curry with coconut milk in it and knowing it was something we made together made it even tastier. :)

    4. Sarah Quamy says

      Best meal I ever ate was pasta alfredo with garden grown veggies and we ate it IN THE GARDEN. The plates were boring white but it sure tasted good!

    5. says

      The best meal ever was at a beach hotel on the Washington coast. Simple (boring :)) white plates but with the most tender, perfectly cooked medium rare Filet Mignon, lightly sauteed green beans, and mashed potatoes so creamy and buttery you wanna slap your momma. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    6. says

      i have had some really lovely meals, but with spring on my mind, i think my first hotdog at wrigley field was the best. the “plate” was a wax paper wrapper, and the game sucked. but spring is baseball, and i need some spring!!

    7. says

      Late, late, one afternoon, my husband and I wandered into a locally-owned churrascaria; we were starving and had no idea what a ‘churrascaria’ was or how the food was served or how much we were about to eat.
      We ate and ate and ate….and they sent us home with food because they were so tickled that these two ignorant fools wandered into their restaurant having no idea what they were in for.
      Plain white plates never looked so good…

    8. says

      The best meal I ever ate was the first time I ate at my mom’s after going to live with my dad! Fish sticks and fries have never tasted so good! (And the plate – Mickey Mouse melamine)

    9. says

      The best meal I ever ate was the first time I ate at my mom’s after going to live with my dad! Fish sticks and fries have never tasted so good! (And the plate – Mickey Mouse melamine)

    10. Deb in Oklahoma says

      Melamine is cool and has been around for a long time. My grandparents had dinner plates they used for camping that were creamy white with a large pink cabbage rose design on them. I can tell you that eating grilled hotdogs and canned Pork-N-Beans off those plates, in a Winnebago at a KOA Kampground, with my Grandpa, was probably the greatest thing in the world for an 8-year-old. Thanks, Peaches for the Melamine Flashback! (cadensaunt@yahoo.com)

    11. says

      The best meal I ever ate was in Tulum, Mexico. It was near the Mayan ruins and called Mr Frosty’s. I had chicken quesadillas, black beans and rice and (my hand to god) the *best* margarita I have ever put in my mouth. I dream about that meal sometimes, it was so simple and so delicious. As for the plate? I’m pretty sure it was paper. The margarita was in a real glass, though.

    12. says

      The best meal I ever ate was at Havana Cafe in Phoenix, AZ. OMG. It was tapas and desert and amazing and good! The atmosphere was also great and I’m surprised I was able to walk afterwards. As far as the plate, it was nothing remarkable, but the cafe itself made me think I was in Havana. So that’s a thing. :)

      I’m not sure if my email is connected. It probably is. But just in case it’s not, my email is jusloverly@gmail.com.

      Also, thanks for this! I’m browsing Q Squared and I’m IN LOVE!

    13. says

      The best meal I ever ate?!! How do you narrow it down to one? Because, seriously, I LOVE FOOD. I have been blessed with good cookers in my life – my grandma would make rump roast, cottage potatoes, green beans, salad with real homemade buttermilk ranch dressing and a bowl full of black olives that my grandpa taught us how to stick on our fingers, which would annoy the heck out of my grandma. All served on plain white dishes, except the salad bowls were hand carved wood with very modern silverware and fantastic mod print cloth napkins. She always had these fantastic mod print tablecloths and napkins, so her plates were always white. For dessert it was always something fantastic like grilled peaches with homemade caramel sauce and ice cream. MAN! I can still taste it and she has been gone for 11 years! I LOVE these plates you have – especially the giant leaf platter! I MUST HAVE IT! What a cool give away ~ how can you not collect plates and serving dishes?!! I love them, too!!

    14. says

      The best meal I ever had was a 5 course seafood meal in Sicily at a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean. It was my first time being served whole, head-on fish and I had a lovely lady from England help me figure out what to do to eat and not look like a total idiot.

    15. says

      The best meal, outside of anything my Mom cooked, was the duck confit I had in Paris. It was the first time I ever enjoyed duck. Served on white china. But I would pick my Mom’s beef stew if I could have it again over the duck anytime. Served in a melamine bowl.

    16. says

      Best meal I ever had was at a B&B in Hyde Park, NY. I can’t remember the name of the B&B and yet I remember it was my first duck confit experience! Sooo yummy

    17. says

      The best meal I’ve ever had was in Ames, IA at the Thai Spice… vegetarian fried rice with pineapple, cashews, tofu, and more! YUM.

      Thanks for the giveaway! Email is wilkin.jenna (at) gmail.com

    18. says

      The best meal I ever ate was some mahi mahi dish which wasn’t all that memorable, but the side dish was LOBSTER mashed potatoes! Fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes, with big-ass chunks of LOBSTER folded in! Heaven!

    19. says

      The best meal I’ve ever ate was at a local restaurant called Nunzio’s. It’s called Steak Sinatra which is a New York Strip smothered in a garlic butter sauce and butter cracker crumbled on top and then browned. OMG….it is delish!!!! And if I remember correctly, it was served on a wooden charger with a metal plate.

      thanks!

      Katherine
      donovandiva61269@aol.com

    20. says

      The best meal I ever ate was at Angelo’s fish restaurant, (I think) in Florence, South Carolina off I-95 about a half mile down from the Holiday Inn. Fried fish, cole slaw, and a few hush puppies. It was probably out of a box, or styrofoam. All the other meals seem to merge together.

    21. says

      The best meal I ever ate was at Blanc’s burgers in KC with truffle fries and goat cheese in the burger! The fries come in the cutest little shopping carts.

    22. says

      My favorite dish that my mom makes is lentils with chorizo. She got some free plates at her credit union, with big sunflowers on them. My mom loves sunflowers

    23. says

      LOVE the plate display and LOVE the plates!!!

      The best meal I ever ate was sort of a mistake – I went with friends to Shuhei in Cleveland many, many years ago. I thought it would be a good idea to order a large quantity of sushi because it was served on a boat. A BOAT! How could you not order that?! The excitement wore off quite quickly after the boat was delivered because I realised that I didn’t actually like sushi…My friends were left to eat the copious amount of sushi while I ordered agedashi tofu which is still a firm favourite! So the best meal I ever ate was a mix of something I didn’t actually eat based on how it was served and something I did actually eat and it still one of my favourites!

    24. Peach says

      The best meal I ever ate had more to do with the company I was with, than the food. I can’t remember what I ate, I just remember my whole family was there. That doesn’t happen often enough.

    25. says

      Best meal ever? 3 weeks ago on my birthday. My son made a picture worthy antipasto platter, lasagna that was orgasmic and a chopped salad. My daughter made a tiramisu that one dreams about to end this extraordinary feast. All served on vintage Fiestaware.

    26. says

      The best meal I ever ate was, for sure, any of my mother’s holiday or birthday meals — served on her “good” china. After dinner, the women would go into the kitchen and work together to hand wash the dishes. Meanwhile, the men would visit, and the kids would play. I was a pre-teen before my cousins and I were considered old enough to help with the dish drying.

    27. says

      The best meal I ever ate was this past Christmas Day dinner. Our friend Rob cooked the turkey as part of his gift to us, and my Husband cooked everything else – with only a wee bit of help from me. And then they cleaned up! It was awesome! We used our regular plates, with a silver platter that I got at a garage sale. I could use a fancy platter for next year. And I want that leaf platter!!!

    28. says

      Best as is most remembered and enjoyed: it was the first time hubby-then-date-guy (long time friend) cooked for me. He made white rice, red beans and pork chops. He blew up balloons, it was my bday. And arriving at his place I notice things: balloons are waaay tiny, and the smell of good food. Polite as I am I eat my food and make convo by pointing out the odd balloon size. He says he blew them himself and admits to being dizzy. Hands me the pack to explain “this is what I bought”. I’M TELLIN’ YOU: they were water balloons. The sweet touch was that he called his Dad for instructions on how to prepare dinner. Served on plastic party plates: for two!

    29. says

      Best meal was last summer camping with a group of friends and family. No plain hotdogs for us. Grilled chicken and steaks. Potatoes wrapped in foil on hot coals. Asparagus, corn, and garlic bread grilled. Cake, cookies and ice cream. IT was bring your own trough time for us piggies!

    30. says

      i have to agree with a prior commenter that best in this case has to be one one the most remembered. i have eaten well in this life. but one meal just jumped in my head. and i know for a fact that we didn’t even have dishes with us. my husband and i were on a road trip where we camped along the way. one stop was a campground you had to hike into a couple of miles. so, needless to say, we packed light. we got to the campsite with our tent, sleeping bags, a bottle of chilean wine (cheap, as we were poor at this point in our lives, a can of green olives, a bottle of peanut butter, and a loaf of bread. simple, but delicious.

    31. says

      First of all, I love your shoes in the video :D and I love that leaf platter!! Wouldn’t a painted stem and a whole wall of those be cool? Best meal I ever ate….probably breakfast while camping…and sadly on boring white paper plates lol.

    32. says

      The last Christmas dinner at my mom & dad’s with their homemade tamales, enchilada casserole, calabacitas, Spanish rice, beans & posole. My plate whenever I could nab it was always the chartreuse green Fiesta ware plate. LOVE that color & LOVED that meal! The whole family was there – all the sisters, husbands, kids, cousins & some friends & their families. This would’ve been before my parents ended up with Alzheimer’s and living in an assisted living home. My dad who took up dirt bike racing in his 60’s and worked out with weights every morning at the gym is now confined to a wheel chair. My mom is physically pretty healthy but her brain is slowly turning to mush. It’s so sad to see them like this.

    33. says

      My mom and I rode the Orient Express from London to Bath and the meal was delicious (roasted chicken, I think), but the experience was even better. Gorgeous refurbished Pullman car, wingback chairs, crystal, wine, and the gentle rocking of the train. It was awesome.

    34. Michelle rollins says

      Best meal I ever had was a casserole a neighbor dropped off after I had surgery. With two screaming toddlers at home that casserole made my day and saved my life.. It was probably hamburger helper. Noodles and red sauce in a white ceramic pot.

    35. Lisa says

      I’ve had many wonderful meals, but as much as I like to eat I’d have to say my best meal will always be my next meal! In today’s case it will be a lovely sub from the deli next door served in a paper bag!
      Lisa (ltmoose2@aol.com)

    36. says

      The dishes, Corelle Spring Blossom, white with tiny green flowers around the edge .circa 1970. The meal, chicken fried the southern way in a cast iron skillet, real mashed potatoes with gravy made from the drippins’ of the fried chicken, green beans, corn and sliced tomatoes all fresh from the garden and homemade buttermilk biscuits. The cook, my Mother. Best meal I ever ate, every time I ate it . It was her favorite meal to make and my pleasure to eat it many times over the years.

    37. says

      Best meal of my life: pancakes made on a collapsable skillet over a small gas stove with real syrup and that bottled butter that came out in the 90’s. This was the morning after my dad and brother and my teenaged-self had hiked down into the Grand Canyon, and my dad had carried the bisquik mix and 2 (clean) travel shampoo bottles filled with the syrup and butter in his pack just to give us this treat after a grueling hike and a night of sleeping on the stone-age ground. It was amazing to eat that breakfast with my loved ones and watch the sunrise on the canyon walls and hear the turkey calls from the North Rim.

    38. says

      Gawd, that stuff is gorgeous!! That’s not the Melamine I ate off of most of my childhood. Although, the food on it was always great, fresh summer squash with melted Velveeta cheese and mashed potatoes with cream gravy. I just wanna say I was thankful every night when I did the dishes that our old melamine was unbreakable! And I have apparently never linked any email to this id.. so in case I get really lucky, helbomck@gmail.com

    39. Tricia C says

      The best meal I’ve had is one a friend made for me in Morocco while I was in the Peace Corps. Chicken and vegetable tagine – yum!!

      awamom at yahoo dot com

    40. Anonymous says

      This morning’s meal is one of the most delicious… It was scrambled eggs, black beans and a boudin. The beans had homemade cayene sauce on them, and the flavor of the three things in one bite was PERFECT. It was served to me on the melamine plate that I created at the age of 6, which has my name, a blue house, orange clouds, and a pink and purple tree… The sun is red. 30-some years later, I still enjoy eating off of my plate! If I get lucky and win, contact me at tiakitty13@yahoo.com. :D

    41. says

      Valentines Day 1989. The 1st time I had duck pate and there was also a layered potato spinach dish. The plates were boring white, which was also the height of chic at the time.

    42. says

      OK. Here it is. When I was a child, my mom would make a salad with all the ingredients (lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, onions) chopped up fine. It was sort of a salsa salad but we didn’t know about salsa back then. She’d fry up some crispy hash brown potatoes with sliced Spam and heat up a can of corn with a pat of butter. Now that was one delicious meal! My favorite! And we did have some of the very first melamine dishes.

    43. says

      Best meal I can remember was pasta with fresh veggies, olive oil and cheese at a little restaurant in Northern Ontario. It was so neat to come upon such a good meal in such a remote part of the country. Thanks for chance to win!

    44. says

      My mom used to make a chicken and broccoli braid. The combination of the flaky pastry crust and the creamy chicken and broccoli was delicious. I always have cravings for this meal.

    45. says

      The first time I cooked Christmas dinner for my guy’s family, all by myself, maybe not the best, but definitely my favourite. And it was served on my plain white correlle wear. I’m addicted to patterned and printed dishes, but I’m trying to reign in my hoarder tendencies. Or at least ’til I click the link and go buying a pile of new melamine dishwear… ;)

    46. says

      I have eaten some fine food in my day, including some avant-garde cuisine in New York’s Greenwich Village last week. However, my all-time favorite has to be my own caprese salad, made with fresh tomatoes, fresh mozarella, toasted baguette, fresh basil, etc. Yum, yum, yum. We eat it several times a week in the summer, served on my blue and white china, sitting on the screened porch here in Virginia. A glass of white wine and that’s all you need!

    47. says

      Best meal ever was after a 5 day backpacking trip. It was a country restaurant with full on breakfast. Lots of hot coffee, lots of grits, lots of eggs. homemade jam and get this – homemade bread. Best. damn. meal. ever.

    48. deneen says

      wow, seriously a tough one. One of the most memorable was on a business trip to Denver. I had bruleed bone marrow, chicken & waffles, a moscow mule & finished it all off with s’mores with house made graham crackers & marshmallow. AND I sat at the chef’s table along the kitchen & had the good fortune of having extra treats passed to me by the chef’s as they cooked.

    49. says

      I, too, have had many favorite meals with family and friends. Couldn’t pick only one, but when I think of the plates I have eaten those meals from my mind goes first to my Mother’s everyday dishes that were melamine. Creamy white with a long stemmed red rose along the left side of the plate. Over time those plates were used and even abused (I remember the time I sat one on a lit burner on the stovetop!) so… the set is no more but I do so wish I still had one of those plates for my plate wall. Good food comes and goes. Plates, platters, saucers, bowls, cups are in my memory forever. PS I would soooo love to win that beautiful red platter. Nothing better than making new food memories on a new platter. :D

    50. says

      On of my best meals was at Cafe des Spores in Brussels. We got there late but the chef was still kind enough to serve us. The whole experience was amazing. sreitz19@gmailcom

    51. says

      Best meals I ever ate was at a hole in the wall in Seal Beach, California. They served lobster and shrimp. No reservations, We would wait 1-2 hours to be seated. .It was called Noel’s and it was fabulous.

    52. says

      Bacon, eggs, grits, and homemade biscuits cooked by my Grandmother every time I spent the night with her. Served on small oval platters in the Mildred pattern. Those platters now hang on my dining room wall.

    53. says

      I had the most amazing Ethiopian food, served on a spicy spongey pancake – gotta love when your plate is made of food! I love these plates though, gorgeous. Might ask for them for mothers day :)

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