Living Thing Ring Dish {anthro hack}

by Rachel W.

diy ring dish inspired by anthropologie

Someday I'll post the full story about how this project kept morphing and failing, and almost turned into an online shop and ended up being completed on a putting green in Las Vegas, but for today, it's just the tutorial...

My original idea fell by the wayside AFTER I had bought all the supplies and discovered that someone in Blogland had already been there done that. So, I started searching all of the corners of my brain for a new idea, "What could I make, what could I make?" And then my thoughts wandered back to a simpler time, back in December, when I bought my friend this nestled ring dish from Anthropologie. Yes, that I could make with the supplies I had just bought, plus a plate.

Because I am a bit indecisive, I ended up buying about a dozen plates so I could make about a dozen jewelry dishes to give to about a dozen friends for their birthdays. Instead of costing me $150, it would cost me about $15! And wouldn't these make the cutest little party favors for a wedding shower? Or you could just make one for yourself starring your favorite animal.


  • White Primer
  • Glossy White Spray Paint
  • High Gloss Finishing Spray Paint
  • Steel Wool or Sand Paper
  • 4"-5" plate
  • Gorilla Glue (that bonds to glass or ceramic)
  • 2"-3" Animal Figurine
  • Hair Elastic or Rubber Band
  • Agreeable Weather
  • A Friend
Cat, a Doe a Deery contributor, and my oldest friend, as in I have known her since I was two, was a dear and helped me with this project after I failed miserably... 

Start out by rubbing some steel wool over that tiny plastic animal as well as your small plate. We used Norton Extra Fine Steel Wool '000,' from Home Depot. Buffing will give the plastic a little more texture so the primer doesn't drip off (like it did the first time I tried this). Don't go to town on the little guy, but make sure to give him a nice scrub. Want inexpensive animals? Get them at a party store, or use one of those glorious 40% off coupons at Michaels. I found all my plates at a local thrift store, and before I buffed them, I washed them... but you know that...

Next, lightly spray your animals and plates with WHITE PRIMER, we used Rustoleum Painter's Touch from Home Depot. The primer will help the glossy spray paint stick to your animal. The first time I attempted this project, I used grey primer, and my animals basically ended up taking a swim in white glossy spray paint to try and combat the grey.  Save yourself the headache, and just go with the white primer. Make sure to spray from different angles, and use short bursts of paint. Alternate between the plates and animals until you run out of primer or feel like you have sufficient coverage. Because we were spray painting so many things, there was adequate time to allow plates and animals to dry between coats. If you are just making one ring dish, allow for dry time between each application.

Make sure your primed subjects are nice and dry, and then get out that high gloss white spray paint and make those plastic animals sing! Use the same techniques mentioned above. We used Krylon Indoor/Outdoor White Gloss from JoAnn. I've read that you want to use the more expensive stuff. We ran out of the Krylon paint so we had to switch over to a cheap-o white gloss from Home Depot, and I was not as pleased with the results.

We used cookie sheets and wax paper to transfer our goods inside for the night. Aren't they pretty?

For a little chutzpah, we colored our ram's horns with a gold Painty Metallic Marker pen. You could also use acrylic paint or gold leafing to embellish your beast. The painty pen stopped working after we covered the ram's horns, otherwise we would have done his hooves too. Poor fella.

We used Gorilla Glue from Home Depot to affix the animal to the plate. Make sure to buy the type that has glass and ceramic on its list of materials it will bond to. I was pleasantly surprised when it dried glossy white, because it added to the ceramic look of the dish. Gorilla Glue takes 30-60 minutes to dry, and it expands when you use it, so you need to clamp your subjects together. Cat came up with the ingenious idea to use a hairband or thick rubberband to accomplish the feat. First, place your rubberband around your plate, and test that your animal will fit snuggly underneath it. Remove your animal (leave the rubberband), apply a thin layer of water to the area of the plate where you will affix your animal. Squeeze some Gorilla Glue onto some wax paper, dip only the bottom (not sides) of your animal's feet in the gorilla glue, and then slide the little guy under the elastic; be careful not to touch down until you are in the spot you want your animal to rest. Let it sit with the rubber band on for one to two hours, then remove the rubberband and let your finished product rest for 24 hours to ensure a bond that will last a lifetime (sounds romantic). You could probably use hot glue or superglue to affix your animal to the plate, but if you are giving this cute little dish away as a gift, you want to make sure that your animal will stick with it! And a word to the wise... avoid that E-6000 craft glue. Apparently it is REALLY toxic, and you don't want your jewelry to touch the glue because your jewelry rests directly on your skin.

The one thing I didn't show on this post was adding a final coat of high gloss moisture resistant acrylic coating to give your dish some extra sparkle, shine and protection. Do it.

Okay, whew! I am going to bed. Thank you so much for reading. I hope you liked this tutorial, and please let me know if you have any questions!

Just testing out this whole link party craze: Six Sister's Stuff
Pin It


  1. These turned out really cute! Well done, gals!

    1. Thanks Barb! In the end, I'm glad I finished this, it taught me to persevere! I'm interested to see if you come back and read my comment after our chat yesterday ;). Time will tell...

  2. These were easy and turned out SO cute! Thanks for sharing the fun with me Rachel! My dish has taken up a spot in my bedroom and I love it.

    1. You are an angel. Thank you for all of your help, expertise and smiles. If I had had more energy last night I would have sung your praises to the moon and back! Oh, such a fun trip! Love you!

  3. These are awesome, I can't decide which animal I like best... hippo? moose? maybe the elephant... Nice work - i love how they turned out!

  4. You guys know I am dying over these! Just brilliant!

    1. Aunt Spicy! You made my day by using the word brilliant in this post. Do you have an animal that you have a penchant for? I have lots of these, and would love to give you one.

  5. The gilded horns are the best part! Bravo Ms. Watson bravo!

  6. I am totally enamored with the giraffe! Beautiful!

  7. These are so cute! I can't wait to get one for my birthday...wink!

  8. my heart is just pitter-pattering over the giraffe!! amazing!! i love these! nothing short of amazing!!

  9. okay.. i am also dying at the elephant and hippo too. these are really adorable!!

  10. Such a good tutorial! I love the rhinos! Oh, and my birthday is coming up...

  11. Newest follower here! I found you through the blog hop. You have a super cute blog, I can't wait to read more. You can find me at meandmr.com

    -Melanie @meandmr.com

  12. This is such a cute idea. I'm going to try this for my friends Christmas gifts this year. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. so nice!! i still need work on the spraying, so much bubbles on mine...how to avoid this?

  14. Beautiful beautiful beautiful the best post over the internet..
    very creative.. without spending a penny

  15. Brilliant idea and super cute! Can't wait to try it out for myself and make one for my girlfriend.

  16. New DIYer here: I am trying to do this myself, but I couldn't find the white paint... so I went all gold. My goat is still sticky after a couple of days! I'm making a mess I'm sure! Yours are so cute tho, good job!


Pin It button on image hover