Decorating plain mugs

I've seen around the internet recently various art using Sharpies and crockery, so I figure this would be a really good way of having my cup stand out from the rest at work.

Do you remember those fabulous £3 white cappuccino mugs from Sainsbury's?  We all bought them at work, and you can see why, you get a whole lot of tea in one of those!  So, armed with my Sharpies and stickers I figured I'd decorate mine.....

I used :
* 1 Sharpie Pen
* 1 Alphabet Sticker Set
* 1 Mug
* Use of an oven
* Scalpel, knife or if you're lucky long fingernails...

I placed my lettering on my mug and proceeded to draw all around it.  I'm not by any means the best at art but I can draw a basic pattern.

Lining up my lettering
Adding a pattern over the lettering
Once finished, I let my cup dry for a bit, not sure if the pen actually dried as I didn't want to touch the mug and smudge the print.   Very carefully I used my scalpel and peeled off the stickers, this is quite tricky and needs patience as you really don't want to smudge your handy work.

Ready to be baked
I then baked my mug for 30 minutes in the oven at 180, and once it was cooled down I very proudly took it to work the next day........

Showing off my handy work at work
and then I used it!!!

So it turns out that I can't even bake a mug!  Ordinary Sharpies and an oven bake do not guarantee your image will not smudge when used - let alone hand wash and forget using the dishwasher!

A slight touch smudged the pattern - AFTER baking!
There are two ways I got around this.

The first was to use Rust-oleum Metallic leafing pen which I picked up from B&Q.  This pen has quite a thick nip for what I wanted it for, but, it worked!  I can hand wash my mug without the pattern coming off.

Using a pen specifically for ceramics.... works!
The second was I used Rust-oleum Crystal clear spray.  (Now I appreciate it may come across I'm promoting Rust-oleum, but it's purely because B&Q is nearer to me than my local Hobbycraft!).

What I did was cover the whole mug up and only have the pattern showing, I very carefully sprayed the pattern and left it in the exact same position overnight so the spray dried and this worked perfectly.  I don't advise using these methods on anything that you are going to put food on or your lips too.  My next mug is going to have the pattern on the opposite side from which I drink from.

There is also another set of pens you can buy which is for porcelain/ceramics and apparently does not need to be baked on. 

Do let me know if you've tried this method, I'm rather keen to find out how others have got around the smudging issue.  Feel free to leave the link to your blog if necessary in my comments.

Good luck with your creations.


  1. That mug is awesome!

  2. that looks so professional! x

    1. Aw thanks Rebecca, such a quick and easy project if you can get the pen to bake OK :)


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