With the weather warming up (and our kitchen packed up) we are eating more meals out on the deck. I’ve been wracking my brain for a way to make our paper plates more creative and fun, since the store bought versions never seem all that appealing. Then it dawned on me – food coloring! It is non-toxic, so your guests can chow down in confidence, and it’s an easy solution for making pretty paper plates with letters, or polka-dots, or elaborate self-portraits if you are so inclined.

To make the food colored paper plates, use a small foam brush and food coloring. For the letters, place the food coloring on a painting palette and use the foam brush to gently paint the letters on white paper. For the polka dots, drop the food coloring directly onto the plates. Let dry for about 48 hours (they take a long time to dry!) and enjoy s?erving your gues?ts? outdoor in s?tyle.

Photography done in collaboration with Jocelyn Noel Photography.