Tuesday, March 24, 2015

She's Crafty | Fun Mugs

I've taken my habit of doodling on everything to the next level, coffee mugs. Yes, the smooth, curved surface of a mug is no longer safe from my pen. Oil-based paint pen to be exact.

In today's post I will be talking about the craft craze known as the DIY decorated mug, or commonly known as the Sharpie mug since the most common oil-based paint pen that crafters choose to use for this project is made by the Sharpie company.

DIY Tribal Triangle Mug by Emily May. Some rights reserved.

The internet is bursting with how-tos and tutorials for DIY decorated mugs. I combed craft blogs and forums for all the information I could possibly manage, digested it all and developed a plan of attack before visiting the craft store. There is a LOT of buzz about this craft and a LOT of handy tips. What I noticed right off the bat that this project can fail if you do not use the right materials. Do not be tempted into decorating a mug with an ordinary Sharpie. 

I'll tell you more after the jump...

This video sums up the success and failures of making a Sharpie mug quite perfectly: Pinterest Truth or Fail? #3: Sharpie Mug

Here's a basic breakdown of the project.

What you need:
  • Mug
  • Oil-based paint pens.
  • An idea of what you're going to paint on your mug.
  • Rubbing Alcohol (optional)

What you do:

  • Clean your mug thoroughly. Use a goo remover to remove any price tag goo if your mug just came from the store. I know from experience that if you don't, the goo will leave a yucky brown gunk that you will have to scrub off later. Many bloggers suggest rubbing the surface where your design will go with rubbing alcohol to give it that final, squeaky clean treatment by removing oils left behind by fingertips, but I've seen plenty of successful tutorials skip the rubbing alcohol step. Try not to touch your mug too much after cleaning.
  • Apply your design with oil-based paint pens. Sharpie brand paint pens come in various colors and three tip sizes: Fine, Medium, and Bold. I found the fine tip to not be as fine as I would have liked so if you want to do real intricate designs, test the pen out on paper to get an idea how thick the lines will be. Actually, testing the pens and your design out on paper is probably just a good idea all around. Also, Sharpie is not the only company that makes oil-based paint pen. Shop around if you want, just make sure the product is oil-based or specifically made for decorating glazed ceramics.
  • Let the mug dry COMPLETELY for 24 hours or more. Not just overnight. Thicker paint needs ample time to dry or it may chip off, even after cooking the mug in the oven.
  • Once your mug is dry, put it in the oven BEFORE you turn it on. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once it reaches the desired temperature, set the timer for 30 minutes. After your time is up, turn the oven off but leave the mug inside to cool slowly with the oven. Heating and cooling the mug slowly ensures that it will not crack due to a sudden temperature change. A complete cooling should take around two hours. I was surprised that after an hour after turning the oven off my mug was still pretty warm to the touch.
Your mug is now done!

"Make it so," says Captain Picard from Star Trek: the Next Generation.
Drawn on freehand whilst looking at a page full of sketches.
You should be able to hand wash the mug with no problem. Mine has survived many hand-washings. We've always washed mugs by hand in my house so I haven't even tested the mug's dishwasher-ability. However, I have heard of many crafters putting their decorated mugs into the dishwasher with great success.

Now, there are plenty of techniques out there to use that make decorating your mug an easy-ish success. The following techniques are the ones I used or found intriguing:
  • Use stickers of various sizes to outline a shape and then fill it in. The Youtuber above used scrapbook letters to monogram mugs for her family. You can also use this technique to create a negative space monogram like the one in the picture below. You can find the tutorial I followed to make this design here: DIY Painted Mugs - That Won't Wash Away {Craft} by Stacey from the blog, Glued to My Crafts.
Monogram mugs I made as bridal shower gifts.

  • You can use a soft charcoal pencil to transfer designs from paper to mug. This technique works well with intricate and complex designs. Make your design on paper. Flip it over and cover the backside of your design only with charcoal. Then you tape the design charcoal side down and rub over your design with a pen or pencil to transfer the charcoal to the mug's surface. Then you trace over your charcoal with the paint pen. You can see what I mean in the series of pictures below.
Design created with a combo of digital font
set on the computer and hand-drawn flourishes.
Flip-side with charcoal. If you have a light box
for tracing, now would be a great time to use it!
"As You Wish" mug complete. "Have Fun Storming the Castle!"
mug with charcoal transfer. Both are quotes from The Princess Bride.

  • I hear you can do the same technique as above with a sheet of graphite paper or a soft drawing pencil, like a 6B. However, I haven't tested it out so I can't say for sure if it will work.

If you want to explore what else can be done to decorate a mug with paint, I found this helpful PDF, Tulip Mug, in our Hobbies and Craft Resources database from Decorative Painting on Glass, Ceramics & Metal.

Have fun decorating your mugs!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for blogging on this topic, Malia. I'm getting some exciting ideas for a birthday present for somebody special.