I recently learnt how to make DIY Sharpie mugs, and just couldn’t wait to make one! You know that feeling when you’re itching to try something out, but all your mugs at home are black and you also really don’t want one more new mug? Ugh! So when my friend’s birthday came up, I figured the stars had finally aligned; here was my big opportunity. I headed straight out and bought a mug & a bowl to make her a matching set. Then I fell sick, got really busy and totally forgot about it for a whole month!!! Yikes!
Anyway, long story short, I finally made the set. I love how easy the process was. I really had not expected Sharpies to glide so smoothly on ceramic! Some people say oil-based Sharpies work better, so I was a little wary because I only had regular Sharpies, but they turned out fine. And, from what my friend tells me, they’re holding up to hand-washing quite well. FYI, most other crafters warn against ever putting these in the dishwasher.
There isn’t much to say about these. I pretty much lifted the mug design right off two different designs I saw on Pinterest. For the bowl, I didn’t want the exact same text as the mug, but I also wanted a cohesive design that would make it part of a set. I did not come up with the “Exercise?” lines; I just searched for funny one-liners and found that on Google!
DIY Sharpie-ware is easy to make: just buy a ceramic mug/bowl, draw on it with regular old Sharpie markers, let dry for 24 hours or so, and then bake in the oven. Baking sets the paint and seals it in. Be careful when baking ceramics: Most ceramics don’t take well to sudden changes in temperature and crack or break. To prevent this from happening, put the mug/bowl in the oven before you turn it on; i.e. let the ceramics heat up with the oven as you are pre-heating. Once the desired temperature has been reached, set the timer to the duration you want to bake it for (details below). After it has baked, turn off the oven, but don’t open the oven door. Allow the ceramics to cool with the oven. I baked these at night and let them cool overnight. Some people finish off by spraying with a coat of clear acrylic sealant, but I skipped it because I didn’t want that in contact with food surfaces.
Time for some close-up shots:
Don’t you love how the lighting in the top middle picture makes it look like the cup is steaming? I’m tricksy like that :-D.
Here are a few tips & tricks:
- A white background takes colour up much better. I’m not sure if you can tell, but the word “PIE” is actually coloured in blue, gold & silver respectively, as are the pictures of the pie & latté. The regular colours didn’t come through very vividly, but the metallics did. The person I made this for has a sunny disposition, so I wanted to go with the bright red, but I intend to stick to white in the future!
- Unglazed or lightly-glazed ceramics work best for this because the mug/bowl can absorb the paint. Cheaper mugs from Wal-Mart or dollar stores are typically less glazed than their more expensive counterparts.
- If you make a mistake or don’t like the result, wipe it off immediately with a paper towel or q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol. While immediate removal works best, I did wipe a section off after it had dried for a couple of hours, and it came off just fine (just needed a bit more coaxing). Make sure to wipe off any smudges because these will set in once baked.
- Most crafters suggest baking the mug at around 350°C for 30 minutes. However, this person tests Sharpie mugs at different temperatures and baking times, and recommends a lower temperature of 250°C and a longer bake time of 2 hours. This temperature-time combination produces mugs that can withstand repeated use & washing without the paint fading or peeling. I followed the latter.
- Repeating myself here, but it is very important that you allow the ceramics to heat up and cool down with the oven, otherwise you risk them cracking and/or breaking.
- Always hand-wash your Sharpie ceramics. Although I don’t have much experience with using these, most crafters say Sharpie mugs cannot withstand being in the dishwasher and the paint eventually fades or peels off.
And there you have it! Your very own DIY Sharpie mug & bowl. Now I’m thinking of making Sharpie coasters. What do you think?