Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jonathan Adler Inspired Ring Dish DIY

My beautiful friends Shuchi and Kyle invited me to their Indian wedding, and I could not be more excited about it.

The only experience I have with an Indian wedding is one that I stumbled across last summer in the heart of downtown Chicago.
The wedding party and all of the guests were clapping and singing in the street, and the women looked breathtaking in their colorful saris. The groom rode on a white horse and was so enchanting that I actually shed a few tears.
I'm a wedding crier anyway, but this felt like some unexpected glimpse into a fairy tale!
To this rando Indian groom in Chicago: Congratulations and I'm sorry for creeping on you and snapping photos
Before the wedding, I am attending the traditional Mehndi Party with the bride and her family where she'll have henna applied for the ceremony (you can read all about Mehndi parties here).
She did not request gifts, but I wanted to make her something as a thank you for including me in such a special event.

I've always loved the designer Jonathan Adler's ceramic animals and the beautiful metallic toned patterns he paints, like these zebra dishes on his website.
Image from
A few years ago, I bought this set of Jonathan Adler bowls for my bathroom and always felt that a little animal ring dish would make a nice addition.
I don't believe he made a ring dish to match the set, but look what I found at - of all places - the Dollar Tree:
Isn't this little ceramic elephant dish so charming?
Elephants have always reminded me of India so, inspired by Jonathan Adler, I decided to paint the dish with gold designs for the lovely bride.
Because the dish costs only a dollar, you have zero excuses NOT to try out this tutorial.

You will need:
ceramic ring dish
metallic acrylic paint, I used gold
fine paint brush for tiny details
Lysol wipe or alcohol wipe
scrap paper and pen
Begin by experimenting with a few designs on your scrap paper.
You may want to look at traditional Indian designs on Pinterest, henna, or mandalas for ideas.
Because painting fine details can be more challenging than sketching, you may want to practice painting the patterns on the paper as well.
If you aren't feeling confident in your ability to paint intricate patterns, rows of tiny dots will look just as beautiful, I promise.
 Wipe down the ring dish with the wipes to remove any debris and oil from your hands (or other dollar store customers. gross).
As you are painting, you can also use the wipes to clear away mistakes before the acrylic dries.
 I started painting the elephant's head.
Then, I let it dry in the sun for about ten minutes to avoid smearing, painted a different section, and set the dish outside again.
Add as many or as few designs as you'd like.
Remember that you are creating art here: it doesn't need to look like my ring dish or Jonathan Adler's pieces.  You are the creator.
It also doesn't have to be perfect, because art is rarely perfect, right?
 When your design feels right, decide if you want to paint a border around the dish.
You can create a solid line, a detailed pattern, or leave it white if you choose.
I opted for a ring of tiny dots.
Allow the paint to dry completely and fill your dish with pretty little odds and ends.
Have you ever been to a traditional Indian wedding before?
If so, what thoughts do you have for me?

The ring dishes are shipped to Dollar Tree in a variety pack that includes several other shapes.
Here is an image from their website:

If you are feeling especially ambitious, you can order a case of twenty-four ceramic ring trays to paint!

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