I’ve recently found a love for the craze of mug decorating. Being an avid tea drinker and mug lover, I have discovered that putting your own designs on mugs can be cheap, creative, and–most importantly–fun! Here’s how.
The above mug was the first one I made for my friend Julia’s eighteenth birthday. It was quick and simple and she loved it!
-a cheap mug (consignment/dollar stores)
-Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers ($4-$8 at Michael’s)
–Acrylic Sealer ($3-$6 at Micahel’s)
The hardest part is probably figuring out exctly what to put on your mug. There are all sorts of places to find inspiration for your pictures and quotes. As you can see above, I chose a Blair Waldorf quote from the popular show “Gossip Girl” to adorn on the back of Julia’s mug.
You can choose to outline your design with a pencil first, but I found it easier to free hand my designs straight onto the mug.
Once you’re done with your beautiful pictures, allow the ink to dry. The Sharpie markers really don’t take that long to dry, so you can start on a second coat almost immediately after you’ve finished your first. Doing a second coat will ensure constant color.
After you’re done with the markers, let your mug sit for an hour or so to ensure that the ink is completely dry. From here, you want to place your mug in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) and allow your cup to bake for thirty minutes. I usually use my toaster oven and set it to forty minutes to allow the oven to pre-heat.
Bake your mug two times. When it’s done baking, allow it to cool down on its own (don’t run it under cold water while it’s still hot because that could cause it to crack or shatter–this same thing will happen if you put your mug directly in a hot oven), and then bake it for another thirty minutes.
Take your twice-baked, cool mug and spray it with the Acrylic Sealer. Spraying it with the sealer will make your mug water proof and dishwasher safe. From my understanding, putting the oil-based paint Sharpies together with the sealer creates the ultimate power couple, giving you long-lasting effects.
Allow the sealer a couple of hours to dry completely (I’d let it sit over night).
Make sure to hand wash your mug before using it the first time/gifting it to someone. I’d also suggest hand washing it a couple of times before placing it in the dishwasher.
As you can tell, I had quite a time making Julia’s mugs. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy it, but she adored them (she’s still squealing over them). I loved making her mugs so much that I decided to make my own inspired by stick-n-poke tattoo designs.
When done right, DIY mugs can be long-lasting, unique accessories for any tea or coffee fanatic. Keep in mind that this same procedure can apply to basically any porcelain dish: tea cups, mugs, plates, bowls, etc. My next project? I plan to make my dog, Boozer, his own personalized bowl!
P.S. I’m considering selling these custom mugs to anyone looking for gifts or their own personal mug. What do you think?