Despite vicariously pinning all kinds of DIY crafts, I'll admit that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I got around to actually bringing one of these projects to fruition: Sharpie Paint Pen mugs. These were so very simple and so much fun to make!
Mugs were easy to find at the dollar store -- my sister and I decided on white so that the black ink would show up well.
Acquiring the right pen took marginally more effort. Although I'd read that you can decorate mugs with regular Sharpies, I also read that regular Sharpie ink doesn't stand up well against washing. Not to worry, I found a paint marker for $4 at Walmart that stated on its packaging that it would write on ceramics.
After doing a little more Googling, however, I realized that what I really needed was an oil-based, not water-based, paint marker. As nowhere on the Walmart paint marker could I find the word "oil" I returned it and went next door to Michaels to pick up an oil-based Sharpie Paint Pen, which came to $4.20 (thanks to Michaels' 40% off flyer coupon!).
My sister and I started by removing all stickers from the mugs, then washing and drying them. Next we sketched out our designs (essentially trial and error...we're no artists!).
The next (nerve-racking) step was drawing the designs on the mugs.
Fortunately the paint pens are not as permanent as they seem -- a little rubbing alcohol was all it took to erase a too-wide guitar fingerboard. If you're doing this, make sure you get any pen smudges off completely, using the alcohol, to avoid them becoming permanent with drying and baking!
My sister added pictures to the backs of the mugs
and also put a little design on the inside.
I thought that the mugs turned out really well -- definitely better than I'd expected they would!
My sister decorated a third mug with a brontosaurus family.
After admiring the mugs a little more we set them aside to air dry for 72 hours, before baking them to further set the paint (i.e. make it more waterproof). To do this, place the mugs on a baking sheet in the oven, then turn the oven on to 400 degrees F (it is important to allow the ceramic to heat with the oven, so that it does not crack) and set a timer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes turn the oven off, but leave the mugs inside until they have cooled completely.
The mugs looked the same when they came out of the oven, but hopefully the baked-on paint is more resilient. Nonetheless, I think it'd be wise to avoid the dishwasher with these...not that it would be a huge task to make replacements if need be :) All in all, decorating mugs is a ton of fun and leaves you feeling pretty artistically accomplished (a strange new feeling, if you're like me) -- plus it yields unique souvenirs (or great little gifts)!
If you've decorated ceramic with Sharpies or paint pens, how did you find the paint held up?