Thursday, December 6, 2012

Homemade Christmas gift: customized mugs

When it comes to Christmas, there is nothing more heartwarming than giving the people you love beautiful handmade gifts.  I love handmade gifts (you can see some of my favorites here, here, here and here) and think that they are a really smart, affordable way to do Christmas presents, not to mention the effort and love that goes into making them.  

For the design of the J on this monogramed mug, I used this typography.

I am sure that you have seen this tutorial on Sharpie mugs, which seems to be the hottest thing on the Internet this year.  A while back on a cold Friday evening, a friend of mine and I decided to give it a go and see if we couldn't make ourselves some awesome mugs.  So, as you can see in the "before" pictures below, we went to the dollar store, loaded up on cheap mugs and brought out several sheets of white paper to practice our designs.  We put our mugs in the oven for an hour and, with hope in our hearts, tried washing them with soap and a sponge after they cooled.  To our disappointment, all of our beautiful designs wiped right off.  

You see, our problem was that we didn't have actual Sharpies to work with for this project.  We couldn't find them here in Germany, so we chose another brand of permanent marker (and a cheap one at that).  Perhaps it doesn't have all the toxic chemicals in it to make the ink stick or perhaps we made a mistake in our baking (I have since read that it works better if you let the mugs heat and cool in the oven).  Either way, this was a project fail.  

Determined not to give up, the next day I went to the craft store looking for a better permanent marker.  Before I found one, I came across a porcelain marker that doesn't even need to be baked in the oven!  You simply use it on a clean, dry surface and wait while it sets for three days. Afterwards, you can even put your dishes in the dishwasher! Awesome! 

And it's worked! 

Here's how you can make your very own customized mugs:

You need: 

Porcelain mugs
A porcelain marker (I used a PorcelainPainter by Marabu in black, bought in Germany)
A piece of paper and a pen to practice your designs
An oven (if your pen calls for oven fixation)


Wash and dry your mugs.  Make sure not to get fingerprints on the parts you want to paint.

Choose your design and practice it a few times on a piece of paper to make sure that you don't mess up on your mugs.

Use the pen to paint on the design, using a damp cloth to wipe up any mistakes as quickly as possible.

Set your mug aside for 3 days (I hid mine in a cabinet so that I wasn't tempted to mess with them) or put them in the oven (depending on the method stated on your pen).  Use!


I chose to do monograms on many of mine because I like the simplicity.  Make two matching ones with nice monograms for your favorite couple!

I got the inspiration for my floral, scrolled monogram here.  I love the feminine details. But, if you want to make the mugs for a couple (not sure the man will appreciate the flowers), you can find more pretty typography here, here, here and here.   (All from Graphics Fairy).

You can also use cute or inspirational quotes or sayings.  I chose "Make tea, not war" but there are plenty to choose from.

For a real gift, fill the mugs with your favorite fancy tea bags, cocoa mix, coffee or chocolate covered spoons (you can find some ideas here).

A sloth mug for Peter.  He just LOVES is weirdly obsessed with sloths.