DIY ‘Sharpie’ Mugs

I assist my husband with some of the administrative side of his job and he hosts a monthly meeting. At each meeting we like to give a small token of thanks to the team he heads up. It would be a lot easier to just pick up some $5 Starbucks gift cards and call it a day but we REALLY want the team to understand that we value them and their help. We also like to give them things that have the team logo on it and since our current budget could be described as frugal we have to get creative. I keep seeing the DIY Sharpie mug all over Pinterest-land and I LOVE them! So I thought, lets give that a shot! It looks awesome, fits the budget, and doesn’t look too hard. So here is my journey on the Sharpie mug and what actually worked for us.

First we (finally!) found plain white coffee mugs at our local Dollar Tree. You can purchase oil-based Sharpie markers at Home Depot. Maybe Hobby Lobby or Michaels? I borrowed ours from a friend. I had that same friend do a little research on how to do these successfully and her genius husband, who works for a company that is heading toward making outer space travel achievable (for billionaires of course) said this success of these mugs lies in the preparing the surface area.

Washed Mugs

Step 1: I hand-washed the mugs so I could begin on a clean surface.

Prep Space

Step 2: I prepped the surface with rubbing alcohol. (I would recommend a higher percentage. We used 50% and I feel like if we used 70% or higher we would’ve had better results.)


Step 3: Decide on your designs and print them out. Unless you are incredibly artistic and plan to free-hand your designs!


Step 4: Color the back of your design (heavily) so you can trace the design onto your mug.


Step 5: Tape the design to the mug and trace the design. The lead on the back of your paper design should transfer onto the mug. Press really hard when tracing!

Adult Mug

Step 6: Following instructions of the oil-based Sharpie for use I then traced the pencil design onto my mug. As you can see my marker was a medium tip and there is a bit of a learning curve. I would recommend to test it out, get a good feel of how the paint flows, then do intricate designs. You can use the rubbing alcohol to ‘erase’ and begin again if you don’t like how it looks. You can also see the pencil lines. After you let your mug dry, recommended 24 hours, you can gently use water and paper towel to wipe the pencil outlines off.

Mug Steps

As I told you, I was making 15 so here they are after the design transfer. And this took me a good part of the day, plus my toddler was sick. So I was distractedly creating these. My next step was to do our logo design on the back of the mugs. I traced the logo and used the marker to trace it…and hated it! Our logo is a good mix of curves and sharp lines and the medium tip marker just didn’t allow for precision so I erased it with the rubbing alcohol and went back to the drawing board. I really wanted our logo on there. Then I remembered seeing designs that were created with dots! I think its technical term is stippling?


Anyway, I printed the logo on card stock, painstakingly cut it out, taped it to the mug and started making dots. Below is the end result. I loved it! It took awhile, but I just caught up of my DVR and continued on all of my mugs.


Step 7: Wait 24 hours for paint to dry. Maybe you don’t have to do this, but most of the tutorials we referenced said to, so we did.

Step 8: Place all mugs into a cold oven. Turn on oven to 425* and when it reaches 425* THEN set a 30 minute timer. You might want to open some windows or turn on the exhaust fan. The fumes were a little strong, but we did 15 mugs. You may just be making a few and it might not be as stinky as it was for us.

Step 9: After 30 minutes turn off the oven but leave the mugs in the oven until oven and mugs are cool. If you take them out right away its possible they could crack from the extreme temperature changes. I’m not sure if it would actually crack, but after all of that work I didn’t want to risk it!

Step 10: Use them! We put a few things in ours because they were gifts.



image14(I forgot to take a picture of all of them when they were done, but here are a few of them.)


-If you mess up while using your marker use a q-tip and rubbing alcohol to ‘erase it.’
-Use an oil-based Sharpie.
-Look on Pinterest for coffee mugs sayings.

Are they dishwasher safe? I have no idea. Most tutorials say to gently hand-wash. Some say they put theirs in the dishwasher and they were just fine. We told our team that hand-washing the mugs was probably preferable, but if they want to try the dishwasher that was fine too. It’s their mug, after all!

Where we messed up: I first tried baking at 350* and when I pulled them out of the oven the paint was just scraping off with my fingernail. I was SO disappointed! I text my friend and she said the last ones she tried she baked at 425* so I touched up a few issues and baked them (again!) at the higher temperature. image11

Although this was a time-consuming project our team LOVED them!


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