Sharpie mugs are a simple, fun DIY project that let you create your own unique drinking mugs with colorful designs. Making your own set of Sharpie mugs from scratch is inexpensive, requires few materials and will leave you with some excellent handmade gifts to share your creative side with others.

Things neededEdit

  • Plain white ceramic mug(s)
  • Sharpie permanent markers
  • Oil-based paint markers (optional)
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Pencil (optional)
  • Oven


  1. Find one or more plain white mugs with a shape you like. Go on the hunt for a plain white mug with the right shape for the kind of design you wish to create. Mugs come in all different sizes, so explore your options. Think about how the shape of the mug might influence the design and vice-versa. Your mug can have a colored rim or handle, if you like, but make sure that the body is blank so that there’s plenty of room to draw. Cheaper mugs tend to work best for holding the Sharpie design because they typically make use of a thinner layer of glaze covering the outside of the mug. Wash or wipe down your mug with rubbing alcohol and dry thoroughly before designing. This will get rid of any moisture, oils or fingerprint stains so that the Sharpie will draw on clean.
  2. Buy a package of oil-based Sharpie paint markers. While some people have had success making mugs with regular Sharpie markers, others have reported smudging and fading and recommend an oil-based paint marker instead. These are only slightly more expensive than regular Sharpies and will set into the ceramic surface of the mug better to produce a more durable, longer-lasting design. Sharpie is the most recognizable brand of permanent marker, but it’s not your only option. Experienced crafters also recommend ArtDeco and Pebeo Porcelaine paint markers for a finish that won’t smear or wash away.
  3. Trace or free-hand a design onto the mug. Once you’ve got an idea in mind for what you’d like your mug to look like, make it a reality. Get creative: utilize different color combinations and take liberties with the shape of the mug and the space you have to work with, or blend text with visual elements for a collage look. The possibilities are practically endless!Use masking tape to craft precise lines and angles. Get as complex or minimalistic as you want. One mug might feature a single pastel flower design, while the next may be covered in a wild tessellation of bright colors.
  4. Allow time for the marker to dry completely. You’re going to want to let the marker dry completely on the surface of the mug before you cure it—this way, you’ll minimize the chances of the marker failing to set up in the ceramic and coming off too easily. After you finish designing your mug, let it sit in a well-ventilated area for a couple hours. Once the marker is dry enough to where it won’t smudge to the touch, it’s ready to go in the oven. Mugs decorated with oil-based paint markers will probably require a little longer to dry because of the thickness of the paint.
  5. Preheat your oven to around 425 degrees. Get your oven nice and hot in preparation to cure the unfinished mug. The dry heat from the oven will bake the marker or paint into the glaze of the mug, making it a permanent addition. The hotter the oven, the more thoroughly the marker will set in, but be careful not to set the oven any hotter than about 450 degrees, as this may cause the mug to crack or shatter. Put the mug in the oven before it has reached the specified temperature to allow the ceramic to warm more gradually.
  6. Heat the mug in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Stand the mug on a flat baking sheet and place it into the heated oven. It will take about half an hour in the oven for the ceramic to hold the marker. Keep an eye on the mug as it heats to ensure that it doesn’t become damaged. When heating multiple mugs at once, allow ample space between each mug so that the heat circulates more evenly between them. As the mug heats up, the outer coating of glaze will soften and the ink or paint will sink in, becoming permanent once it dries again. Don’t leave your mug in the over for more than 30 minutes. Heating mugs in large batches might require a little extra time, but the chances of an empty mug shattering increase the longer it is exposed to intense heat.
  7. Let the mug set up overnight. Turn the oven off and leave the mugs inside as it cools (ceramic is prone to cracking when exposed to abrupt changes in temperature). Then, find a dry, open space to leave the mugs to finish cooling and setting up overnight. By the time you wake up in the morning, the marker will have had sufficient time to fully infuse into the ceramic and the mug will be ready to use! Keep cooling mugs out of the reach of pets and children.
  8. Wash used mugs by hand only. If your mug is to be for drinking rather than display, it will need to be washed after use. This should always be done by hand rather than in the dishwasher. Simply take a small amount of dish soap and a dish scrubber or sponge and wash out the interior and rim of the mug, then dry gently with a clean towel. Some crafters claim that their mugs have held up fine under machine washing, but generally speaking the heat and pressure of dishwashers is extremely harsh on dishes with delicate designs.

Tips & suggestionsEdit

  • Wipe your mug clean with a little rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover or hand sanitizer if you make a mistake while drawing.
  • Have a couple spare mugs starting out in case something goes wrong during the designing or heating process.
  • If you're stumped trying to come up with design ideas, search sites like Google Image or Pinterest for inspiration.
  • Check at your local supermarket or discount store to find plain white mugs on the cheap.
  • Kids: make sure you get an adult to help you with the oven once you've finished designing your mug.
  • Certain paint colors may change slightly when heated. If you want the colors on your mug to hold true, try baking them on a lower heat (around 250 degrees) for an hour or more. Watch the mugs carefully to make sure they don't warp or break.
  • It's always safest to hand wash Sharpie mugs, even after they've had time to dry and cure.

Everything elseEdit

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Create a new page about it: Sharpie Mugs/Miscellaneous

External resourcesEdit

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