How to Make a Ceramic Address Plaque

What You'll Need
Metal plate for the base of the plaque
Ceramic powder
Chalk powder
Strong clear glue
Palette knife
Clear varnish
Acrylic paints

Ceramic address plaques make a pleasing addition to your door way but how can you make one yourself? Paying the cost of a kiln to fire one item is not sensible unless you are going to launch into a new hobby area.

Cold Ceramics

There is a form of ceramics that does not require firing. It is called Cold Ceramics. Using this system a reasonably artistic person can create a very attractive ceramic plaque.

Step 1 – The Mixture

Cold ceramic is made from a mixture of ceramic powder, chalk dust and glue. The proportions of the mixture are very variable so you should try several different mixes to see if one is better than the others.

Step 2 – Mix the Powders

Mix the ceramic powder and chalk dust in a dry container. A good level to start with is 3 measures of ceramic to 1 measure of chalk dust. Mix them well.

Step 3 – Add the Glue

Once again there is no recommended glue except that you should not use epoxy resin glue. A simple clear glue designed to create a strong bond between wood and leather, for example, will do. Add the glue in small increments until you have created a dough.

Step 4 – Apply the Dough

Apply the doughy mix to the metal plate that will be the base of your plaque. Use a palette knife to apply the dough and do it in small doses. Use the palette knife to create any characters or special embossed effects you want on your plaque. Build up the depth of the mixture until you have the effect that you want. If you want to stick pre-formed characters or numbers into the mix do that before it dries.

Step 5 – Create the Effect

By applying different layers of the dough and shaping them you will be able to create a three dimensional picture to serve as a background for your address. The size of your metal plate and the amount of dough you have made will control the size of your plaque.

Step 6 – Leave to Dry

Once the plaque is looking as you want it to leave it to dry for several days. The dough will become hard and you will be able to use sand paper or fine glass paper to give it a good clean surface. A small mix of the dough can be used to make the plaque an adhesive sign.

Step 7 – Apply a Clear Varnish

Paint the whole of the surface with a high gloss varnish. This will seal the plaque and give a sound surface for you to paint over. Two coats of varnish should be enough but try not to have any runs to spoil the effect.

Step 8 – Add the Color

Once the varnish is completely dry you can paint the plaque with acrylic paints. These tend to have good bright colors and will add to the ‘ceramic’ feel of your plaque. Once all the paint has dried, you can protect the finish with another coat of clear varnish.

The custom address plaque is reasonably weather-proof but, like many ceramics, is quite brittle.