Tutorial: Dishwasher-Safe Sharpie Mugs

Tutorials for sharpie mugs abound on Pinterest, like this one and this one, but most have the same problem: they're not dishwasher safe. That's a big problem for me, because I HATE washing dishes! 

So last week I took it upon myself to find a method of making a dishwasher safe version. Here's how I did it: 

You will need: 

1. Transferring the Design

Cut a small piece of printer paper, big enough to cover the area for your design. Then, use the graphite stick to cover the paper thickly. This will act as transfer paper, leaving an impression of your design on the mug's surface (you can skip this step if you buy the actual transfer paper).

Tape this transfer paper to the mug, graphite side down.

Position your design over the graphite paper, and tape your design to the graphite paper, like so:


Pressing firmly, trace over your design with the pencil.  

Then, peel off the design and transfer paper. You'll see an impression on the mug of the design you traced. Don't worry if you have smudges of graphite elsewhere on the mug, it wipes right off. If your design doesn't look quite like you want it to, wipe it off and re-trace until you get it just right. 

2. Painting the Design

These oil-based paint markers are a major part of what makes these mugs dishwasher safe. Unlike normal sharpies, these are especially made to stick to glass and ceramic, as well as pottery and wood. This pack of five cost $19.99 at Hobby Lobby, $25 gets you 15 colors on Amazon.

Follow the directions on each marker to get the paint flowing, and shake well. 

Trace over your design using the sharpie paint markers. This takes some practice, and a lot of patience! 

If you mess up, the paint comes right off with soap and water. I had to re-paint each mug multiple times, so give yourself time to get the hang of it. 

The directions with the markers suggests letting it dry for 24 hours, so let it dry overnight. 

3. Baking the Mugs

The baking process is the second key to making these mugs dishwasher safe.

First, place the painted mugs in the oven. I put them in upside down so I didn't have to worry about them falling over.

Then, turn the oven on, and set it to 350 degrees. We want the mugs to start at room temperature, and warm up along with the oven.

Once the oven reaches 350, start the timer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the mugs inside. Wait until the oven, and the mugs, cool off before taking them out. After fifteen minutes or so, I opened the oven door to help them cool off faster.

Take the mugs out of the oven, and fill with your desired warm beverage.

Enjoy your new personalized mug!

The options are limited only by your creativity. I made this Good Morning Beautiful mug by printing the phrase in one of my favorite fonts, and transferring it to the mug. I made the others by drawing freehand directly onto the mugs. 

I made a total of eight, but I can't show you some of them, because they're a wedding present for someone who might read my blog :) Aside from wedding gifts, I already have an order for some as a birthday present!

So now for the all-important question: if you had a personalized mug, what would your warm beverage of choice be? Coffee or tea? 

UPDATE: I originally posted this tutorial in July 2012, but I still get a lot of comments and questions on it. This tutorial seems to work really well for some people, and not at all for others. I wish I knew why that was, but I really don't. After two years of frequent use, my mugs designs have lasted, but some are worse for the wear. Some more so than others. It could be that cheaper mugs have a lower quality finish that holds the paint better. You might also try using clear Mod Podge to seal the design, like this Mod Podge acrylic sealer.

Please continue to share your tips in the comments below!

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