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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.