Thursday, 2 August 2012

How to Decorate a Mug

I saw a picture of a beautifully decorated coffee mug on the Visuaalisesti Vaativa blog (only in finnish, but very nice pictures!) and wanted to try the same technique. Here's the how to!

Mine and his mug.

You need:
A water soluble porcelain paint that can be cured in a regular household oven in the colour of your choice (keep in mind the colour of the item you are painting: if it is coloured, choose a much darker shade for the paint to make sure it shows)
Porcelain marker (optional, but get one in the same colour as the paint if you want to use it)
A coffee mug or another light coloured, clean piece of porcelain with an even surface to paint
Book film (or tape or any sort of thin plastic that has a sticky side)
A pencil
Scissors and/or an X-Acto knife
An old tooth brush
Watercolour or acrylics brushes (preferably nothing too posh, the paint was hard to wash out)
An oven

1. Get all the supplies out and cover the surface
The water soluble paint shouldn't be hard to get out, but you should cover your working area just in case it decides to stick. The mug should be washed to make sure the surface is nice and clean.

2. Draw or print your design on the backside of the book film
I drew the pictures free hand, but you could print out pictures and trace them on just as well. Remember that the image will be mirrored when you stick it on the mug, so if you are doing a text or a letter, draw it backwards. Make sure your design is small enough so you have space to paint the surface around it.

This is for my other half, he wanted a cool pteranodon!
The size of my mug compared to the picture.

3. Cut the pattern out and stick it on to the mug
Carefully cut out your picture using scissors and/or an X-Acto knife. Peel off the backing and stick the film on the mug. Be careful not to touch the sticky side, the grease on your fingers makes it not stick properly and then paint will bleed under the stencil. It can be fixed later on, but there's a lot less to clean later if the film sticks well.

Cut carefully if you have small details in the picture!
4. Paint on top of the film and around it
The aim is to paint around the stencil to make the shape stand out. I painted roughly with a medium stiff brush and let the strokes show. Then I took and old tooth brush and added some spatter on top. If you have a marker, let the paint dry before adding it unless you want the marker lines to bleed (which could look really nice also!).

Paint on top of the film. I chose a turquoise paint which was maybe a bit too
light. Might try again with black!

5. Let dry
Wait a few hours until the paint is dry and remove the film carefully. If the paint has bled under the film, you can use a wet q-tip to gently wash it off. If there are any other parts that don't look like you wanted, just wash some paint off or add more. The dried paint comes easily off with water.

6. Cure the paint
Follow the instructions that came with the paint. Mine needed about 90 minutes in the oven, after that they are machine washable and can be used with a microwave oven.

In the oven.
7. Wash the mug
Wash your mug just to be sure there is no residue from the paint, and you are ready to enjoy a drink from your new, personalized mug!

All done!


  1. I used to love doing this in art/shop class!
    Unfortunately, most of them shattered through the lapse of time lol... such joy =D
    My favorite was sandblasting glasses; I once made a framed jack skellington face... I don't know what happened to it... might still be with my mother, with any luck lol.

    I enjoy the color and silhouettes you picked out! Very fun.

    Thank you for the happy reminder of good times-- I'll have to put that on my list of projects to do again.

  2. Siisti idea, pitääkin kokeilla!

  3. Kivat mukit :) Varsinkin tuo jumalattaren symboli :D

  4. I love DIY projects like this ^-^ I've been dying to get my hands on some nice plates and a porcelain pen to customize my own dish set.

  5. pteranodon :D
    cool ! it's easy, simple and cute !


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