Victorian Craft: ABC Dishes


ABC dishes

Hand-painting china was an easy and popular craft during the Victorian era. A well-liked project was decorating children’s dishes and drinking mugs with nursery rhyme characters or the alphabet. A nineteenth century magazine, The Art Amateur, A Monthly Journal Devoted to Art in the Household, once provided delightful alphabet illustrations for decorating children’s drinking mugs. The publication also suggested drawing these whimsical patterns on tiles as a charming mantel decoration for the nursery fireplace.

Re-create a child’s Victorian mug with one these whimsical ABC designs. These delightful alphabet illustrations for decorating children’s drinking mugs can be printed to make a truly Victorian gift for a special child. Moreover, the charming patterns painted on tiles could create delightful tiles for a child’s bath or a mantel decoration for the nursery fireplace.

 

The figures and letters were outlined in black so they would stand out in relief – dark against a pale ground. The following color schemes were also suggested for those who wished to add some color to the original design:

 

alphabet

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Letter “A” - Make this a study of blue with a very dark blue and black dress, pale blue headdress, and a white neck hand­kerchief.  Accent the bowl with pale sepia on a pale yellow brown ground.

 

alphabet

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Letter “B” - Paint the baby’s gown white and the woman dress a yellow brown. Cover the chair with brown and outline the window with blood red while showing a light blue sky.  Suggest panes of glass by adding thin black lines.

 

alphabet

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Letter “C” - Color the baby's gown pale green and the nurse’s dress light violet with a deep purple and apple green yoke.

Whether recreating your own nineteenth century children’s dishes or designing a truly Victorian nursery and bathroom, these illustrations will offer an opportunity to create a fun-filled craft. You can hand-draw the alphabet motifs on mugs or tiles at a pottery or ceramic studio – they provide everything including supplies, a little coaching, and a lot of encouragement.

Another option is to create your own decals with the images, using your inkjet printer with inkjet water-slide decal paper. These decals may be applied onto almost any smooth, non-porous surface. These decorative non-fire inkjet decals make arts and crafts projects fun and easy – your imagination is your only limit!  An online source is located here.