November 19, 2013
I never got to make a plate from Makit Products when I was a kid but I always wished I had.
My older sister made one at school one year, back in 1980. They gave her a special piece of round paper, onto which she drew flowers, a mushroom, grass, and a rainbow (I told you it was 1980!) Then they mailed it to a special factory and it was shipped back to her magically transformed into a dinner plate. I grew up seeing that plate around and being kind of in awe of it. When you’re a kid there’s a lot of “wow” factor in those plates.
Fast forward to 2011 when I was trying to encourage my young children to make some homemade items for Christmas presents. I wanted the kids to be able to put their own talent into these items, but I also wanted them to be, as much as possible, things the recipients would actually be able to use and that would last awhile. I sat down to make a list of possible crafts, and these plates came to mind.
I had no idea if the company was still in business but my best friend Google answered that question for me in 0.24 seconds. Yes! You can still get a Make a Plate kit from the Makit company! You can even buy them on Amazon, with Prime!
This is our third year of making plates at Christmas time and we love it. Last year we had them mailed to Grandma for her Christmas present (she was over the moon!) but this year we are keeping them for ourselves. Forget the fancy Christmas china: I want a stack of these to serve my Christmas dinners on for the next 50 years. Can you just imagine the memories they will bring up at future family gatherings?
There have been some subtle changes in the kit each of the three years we’ve bought it. The first year it came with a cheap set of markers with poor color tones, which I was smart enough not to use—I just got out our Crayola markers. Last year and this year the kit comes with Crayola markers, so they’ve wised up.
This year they’ve streamlined the pricing of the plates. It’s still around $13 for the kit on Amazon, and that includes the price of one plate, including shipping. There are seven sheets of the special paper in the kit and you can order extra plates (but you can only get one plate per design). This year it is a flat rate of $11.99 per extra plate, and that includes shipping. This is a slight increase from what I’ve paid in the past, but not enough to be a deterrent. So, this is certainly not a thrifty homeschooling idea, especially if you have a lot of kids, but to me, these are heirlooms that are well worth the cost.
(ignore the big blank spot where I blanked out my child's name)
Three of my kids are neither too old nor too young to do plates this year: the ones who are 10, 7, and 5. We are mailing them in now so they will get here in time for Christmas. It says it takes 3-4 weeks and can take longer during the holidays, but I’ve found that the Makit company does their best to get them all out before Christmas. Last year we mailed ours only a couple weeks before Christmas and they got them done and shipped in time even though I didn't ask them to rush my order. But this isn’t just a Christmas thing: you could make these for Mother’s Day, or birthdays, or for no particular reason at all other than the fact that they are fun and awesome.
Back in 1980, there was nothing quite like this. These days, with all our digital photography and personal publishing options available on the internet, personalized items are not such a novel concept. And yet, the Make a Plate kit still stands out. There’s just something magical about giving a child that round piece of paper and some brightly colored markers, letting them make their very own creation, and then mailing it off somewhere and having it come back to them as a plate that they can eat their macaroni and cheese off of. I am so glad I rediscovered them!
Sarah (Birrd) is the mother of six young children who all love to draw and color. They all live happily together in the mountains of the western United States. She keeps a personal blog at The Birrd’s Nest. She chose to do this review on her own and was not offered any compensation by anyone.