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By now I'm sure you've seen hundreds of posts on Facebook and Pinterest showing you how to use Sharpie markers to make colorful, personalized coffee mugs. The only problem with 99% of those tutorials are, they use the wrong type of markers. Even though Sharpies are considered 'permanent', they will indeed wash off of your mugs, no matter how long you cure them.
I'm going to show you how to make these mugs still using markers, but instead of smudging, they will be washable. The secret to this is using the correct TYPE of marker: oil-based paint markers to be exact.
Sharpie is best known for their huge selection of permanent markers, but they also make markers full of oil paint. These are the kind you need for this project if you want it to last. You can find these at craft supply stores near the paints. I got these from Hobby Lobby, and they were $3.99 each. These are also fine pointed, not extra fine.
Now, another tip that I can offer you is to not use an expensive mug for this. I got my mugs from the Dollar Tree. The reasoning behind this is, higher quality mugs generally have a thicker layer of glaze over them. The glaze on the inexpensive ones is a bit thinner, allowing the paint to soak in more easily.
*NOTE* This is NOT a fast project to make. It will take several days to cure, so if you plan on giving this as a gift, plan to make it 4 days ahead of time. There are lots of tutorials out there, but this method provides the best and most reliable results.
What you need:
a handful of paint markers in whatever colors you want
stick-on VINYL (not paper) letters
a needle, pin, or something else small to help you remove the stickers
an oven (a microwave will not work)
a baking sheet
rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover
How to make it:
1. First, you need to prep your mug so the paint will stick. Soak a cotton ball in alcohol or polish remover, wring out the excess, and thoroughly wipe down your mug to remove dirt and oils. Let the mug dry.
2. Place the letters you want on the mug. Make sure to apply a little extra pressure around the edges of the letters to make sure the paint doesn't ooze underneath it. Try to use your fingernail or a cotton swab to do this to avoid getting oil from your fingers on the mug.
3. Prep the paint marker according to the directions on the label, and then start making dots around the letters. You want to make sure to make dots on the edge of the letters, and make them more dense there as well so when the stickers are removed, the letters will 'pop'. Keep layering colors until you have the look you want.
4. Let the paint dry for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the stickers with a needle. If any paint seeped under the edge of the stickers, simply scratch it away with the needle.
5. Now, here is the hard part. You need to set your mug aside and let it cure for about 72 hours. This gives the paint a chance to penetrate the glaze a bit, and ensure it is thoroughly dry.
6. After 72 hours, place your mug (large side down so it doesn't tip over) on a baking sheet. Place the sheet with the mug on it in a COLD oven, then turn the oven to 425 degrees.
7. Bake the mug for one hour, turn the oven off, and let the mug cool completely. It is helpful if you bake the mug before bedtime, and let it sit in the oven to cool overnight. DONE!
Here are a few helpful tips for this project:
-This method will work on mugs, but not glasses.
-Do not put these in the dishwasher.
-When washing, do not use a lot of pressure. In fact, it is best if you gently use your fingers and a bit of dish soap to clean them, although gentle washing with a sponge is just fine.
-You MUST let these mugs cure for 72 hours before baking them. Any less time will give you subpar results.
-Paint on one side of the mug, away from where you will place your lips. Let's stay on the safe side and not get paint in our mouths.
There you go! have you made any mugs in this manner? Let me know!