How to Decorate Your Own Mug With Markers

Updated on November 14, 2017
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I am an early childhood educator and I enjoy crafts that are easy for both children and adults.

What You'll Need

This article shows you how to decorate a coffee or tea mug with your own art. All you need is your imagination, a plain mug, some colourful markers and a hot oven . . . that's all.

That's right! No paint is needed!

I got a cheap 75 cent mug from Kmart (Australia) and some Bic 'Mark it' permanent markers ($1 each at the Reject Shop in Australia). I believe that not all marker ink is up to the task but these markers did a great job. I have heard that Sharpie markers also work for this, but they are a fair bit pricier than the Bic markers.

You can also use acrylic markers which probably give more vibrant colour results, but they cost even more than the Sharpie markers. In the end, the choice is yours. But if you're on a budget like me, then the Bic 'Mark it' markers are very good value for money.

Create your own custom design on any ceramic  mug.
Create your own custom design on any ceramic mug.

What You'll Need

Some Bic 'Mark it' permanent markers.
Some Bic 'Mark it' permanent markers.
A cheap white ceramic cup.
A cheap white ceramic cup.

What You Do . . . .

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355F).

Decorate your mug while the oven heats up. If you make a mistake, wipe it off with some eucalyptus oil dabbed onto a cotton ball.

Be sure to completely wash off the oil with warm soapy water before drawing over the area again. I didn't do that and as a result, the colours that I applied over the areas that had eucalyptus oil on them faded a bit during the cooking phase.

When washing the oil off, use a soft sponge or cloth so you don't scratch off any part of your design that you want to keep.

When you're happy with your design, place the mug upside-down on your top oven rack and leave it to cook for 1.5 hours. Some people suggest leaving your mug in the oven until it's completely cooled, but I took mine out about 15 minutes after turning off the oven and so far so good.

What the Mug Looks Like Before Going Into the Oven

The Finished Product

My Verdict

The colours stayed strong, except for where I didn't wash off the eucalyptus oil. But I noticed that during the 'cooking' process, the green changed from a lime-green to more of a safari green (see before and after photos).

I only used four colours, and only the green changed colour. Other colours might also be affected by the heat from the oven.

I wanted to see how well the ink had set, and so I rubbed some eucalyptus oil on it and was amazed to see that none of the ink rubbed off! It worked!

I also washed my cup in the dishwasher which resulted in most of the blue colour fading away completely after just one cycle. The other colours that I used didn't seem to be affected after that one cycle.

Overall, I am pleased with the results and would do it again, though I'll stick to hand washing my cups from now on.


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