Have you ever designed and created a custom plate? How about a custom oyster plate? Designing a custom oyster plate is fun and easy. Here’s how!
When I was growing up, whenever we would go on a family vacation to the beach, we always went to Dauphin Island, Alabama. I have such fond memories of that small island. Located about an hour out of Mobil, it was a no-frills kind of place, where there was one small convenience store, a gas station, and a shrimp market called Patrona’s. There seldom was a TV in a house that we would rent, but when we were at the beach, that simply didn’t matter. After gorging on shrimp, crab claws and oysters each night for supper, we would head out to the deck and simply listen to the surf. Sometimes on a night where I can’t sleep, I take myself back there and put that image and sound in my head to help me relax. It works most of the time.
I can picture walking in to Patrona’s like it was yesterday. I can even smell it. All the “shrimpers” as they’re called, wore clunky dirty white rubber boots that they dragged with each step. Outside was a line of women sitting down a their stations, shucking oysters faster than the blink of an eye. Still to this day, I have yet to see a single person that can shuck that fast. Every once in a while, one would shuck an oyster, slurp it down, and continue on.
I don’t blame that shucker one bit. Oysters are delicious.
It took me a while to try a raw oyster. What, with their greyish coloring and slimy looking texture, I more like bolted for the door when one was offered to me. Fried, baked, smoked, or sautéd, I was all in. But raw, not at that time.
Fast forward to the present, and I could eat oysters on the half shell every day. They’re creamy and briny, and when paired with a mignonette or cocktail sauce, they’re simply divine. I haven’t been back to Dauphin Island in many years, but all of those memories I hold ever-present in my heart.
It was those family vacations to that special spot that opened my eyes to seafood. Crab and oysters can be found on my top 5 list of favorite foods. This is true. Not only are they delicious, but eating them is an experience. A heavenly one.
Special tableware and cutlery are not required, but this lover of all that, is all in. Oyster plates are made in all shapes and colors and have been around for years. Gorgeous ones that stop me in my tracks. I haven’t met an oyster plate I didn’t admire, yet I don’t own a single one because they’re pricy, and they’re not economical, meaning, these plates only have one purpose and that’s for oysters. But to me, each one is so gorgeous. I’ve had my eye on these for a while. One day I will buy a set of four, but for now, I’ve designed and created my own custom oyster plates that turned out almost as gorgeous.
A recent walk on a local(ish) beach and a hefty amount of washed up oyster shells gave me my starting point. I found these plates at Target which was exactly what I had in mind with coloring that complimented the shells. A tube of clear silicone to permanently secure the shells to the plate, and I was in business.
I soaked the shells in a 5-gallon bucket with a water, dishwashing soap and vinegar mixture. I’m thinking the mixture ratio would be around one cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons dishwashing soap to every gallon of water added. I soaked the shells for 24 hours and then scrubbed them with an old toothbrush in warm soapy water. Then rinse. The shells must be thoroughly dried before any affixing can begin. I placed the shells on a towel and then let them air dry for another 24 hours, just to be safe.
Then, I placed each oyster shell on a plate, carefully choosing which shell goes where. Determine the flat point of the shell where it rests on the surface, and squeeze on a large pea-sized drop of silicone and press on to the plate, applying a little pressure. Continue with the rest of the shells. I decided that I wanted six shells to fit on each plate, but design them however you would like. Let the silicone dry completely. Don’t try to wiggle the shells, but rather let them dry. I walked away so there was no temptation. I left them alone for 48 hours.
Maybe not hand painted, but beautiful just the same and at a fraction of the cost. No two are just alike, and I totally dig that. These custom oyster plates are hand wash only. Because they’re delicate, I would handle with kid gloves, but that’s just me being overly careful.
Why not have such a special plate at your table?! It’s these touches that make your table setting at home look like it’s at the Ritz. And, don’t forget the seafood forks! I’d like to add that these plates make great gifts. They would also look pretty hanging on a wall. The list goes on and on.
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