Pinterest DIY Experiment: Sharpie Coffee Mugs

If you are an addicted Pinterester like me, you have undoubtedly seen all the pins of cheapo white coffee mugs with super cute handmade designs done in Sharpie. Custom mugs like these cost like $25+ on Etsy, but with the home-oven baking method, you can make your own quite cheaply. 

I've been wanting to try this for a while, so I finally did my research and got to it. I checked other people's blogs and read about their experiences. It seems the best method doesn't use a regular old Sharpie, but a special oil-based paint pen like this:

These, sadly, are a bit expensive. But I didn't want my designs to wash away (which is apparently what happens with a regular Sharpie), so I sucked it up and bought several colors of them at Hobby Lobby. Then I headed to the Dollar Tree to get some plain white mugs.

I brought them home, washed them, dried them, and sat down to make a set of customized Doctor Who mugs for my family as a Christmas gift (yes, the obsession has now affected the entire family, lol). 

A few helpful things I learned quickly that I wish one of those bloggers would have shared:

  • The tips of the paint pens are white and empty at first, and you have to shake them for FOREVER to bring them paint down into them.
  • After all that, you have to press the tips down very firmly against the ceramic to get the darn things to write. (Though once you get used to it, it's not bad.)
  • You can use 100% pure acetone nail polish remover to erase screw-ups. (Just be sure to wash the cup thoroughly after doing so because the toxins in the acetone might kill you. lolz. And don't forget to dry them really well again before picking up the pens again.) ((Really, though, only do this to the OUTSIDE of the mug. You shouldn't even be drawing on the inside of the mug where your beverages will be because of the Sharpie paint.))
  • THE BAKING PROCESS CHANGES THE COLORS OF THE PAINT. I didn't take before pictures, but my Tardis was actually true Tardis blue when I started. After baking, it faded into a more greenish blue. The bright reds turned more maroon. They don't look bad or anything, I just wasn't prepared for it. (btw, the black did not change at all, which was a nice surprise.)

I had several fun ideas for Whovian designs that I wanted to do. I drew them all freehand, using photos of 3-D glasses, the Tardis, a Dalek, etc. from Google search as a guide. I guess you could use stencils or something, but I'm a control freak, and besides, ain't nobody got time for dat. 

Once I was finished drawing, I let them dry for 24 hours. The next day, I put them on a baking sheet and placed them in the cold oven. I turned the oven on to 425 degrees, where they heated up with the oven for 45 minutes. When the timer went off, I turned off the oven, but I kept the door closed and the mugs inside for two hours.

After that, once they were cool, they were ready for use. I've been using them for a month now and they've held up fine so far. I don't have a dishwasher, so that judgment is based on hand washing only. Not sure how they'd do in a dishwasher. Here's some close ups of my favorite designs:

I think the Dalek one is my favorite. I giggled to myself just about the entire time I was making it. I had so much fun making these, I had to stop myself from making more. I have lots more ideas for other designs, but alas, one's cabinets can only hold so many mugs. :(


Niken said...

i love how your mugs turn out. i tried it but i cannot draw. that's the problem. haha

Regine Karpel said...


Jessi Francis said...

I am so impressed! :)
I'm gonna have to try this, although mine won't look even half as good as yours.

Jessica said...

They turned out "fantastic"! :)

Jennifer said...

Thanks! lol Maybe you could try just writing a quote or something? And there's some really cute stencils out there.

Jennifer said...

Thank you! :)

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much! I had lots of fun, and I know you will too. You'll have to take and post pictures when you're finished!

Jennifer said...

Why, thanks! :)

Lacey said...

Haha! These are so awesome! I don't get most of the Dr. Who references (only seen a few episodes), but your free-handing is SO impressive. I am glad they turned out well!!

Jennifer said...

Thanks, girl! They were so much fun to make! You gotta try it!