Thursday, December 6, 2012

Handmade gift ideas: the DIY custom mug

Hi lovelies, and thank you again for being so enthusiastic about my little giveaway! It was a lot of fun, and I really wish I could give a prize to every single participant. Thank you so much! : )

And now, time to indroduce a new little project!
Just as many crafters, I am the kind of person that loves to be surrounded by unique objects - not expensive ones, actually, just personal, one-of-a-kind little things.  In my ideal kitchen, no two mugs should look the same, which is one of the reason I like so much the idea of decorating them myself. And of course, since you can choose whatever design you like, you can rely on your knowledge of the person who will receive the gift and create the perfect mug just for him/her.
Not sure if this can be considered a tutorial, anyway. Maybe just a little encouragement to try this project, uh? : )

Things you won't need:
- expensive supplies 
- strange/hard to find tools
- being skilled at drawing

Things you will need:
- a black porcelain marker
- a white oven safe mug

Step 1: browse the internet! : )
There are aso many inspiring pics out there just waiting to be discovered, and so many talented artist to find! Moreover, having a look at the results other people obtained by using the same technique usually helps to focus on which kind of effect we want to get, right? That's how I decided to aim at a clean black and white style, and at a simple and naïve design.
Here's a few cool examples:

(just click on the pics for the sources) 


(Fake tea bags)




While I personally would  love a mug with a fake teabag on it, I understand that custom lettering might be more appropriate for a romantic couple. And I think that botanical patterns offer a timeless design suitable for both modern and old fashioned houses. But what I love most is the extreme simplicity of all these designs (tip: porcelain markers are supposed to be dishwasher proof, but since they are not a professional tool I suggest to draw on the outer part of the mug only).

 Step 2: Practise!
Drawing on ceramic does not offer many options to correct the figure, so it is probably a good idea to practise a bit on a piece of paper, until you're completely sure about the design (and its size, which can be a bit tricky). Both a minimal decoration and an overflaw of patterns and details can produce a nice effect, just make sure you like the result before you start to work on the surface of the mug.

Step 3: Draw!
Use a porcelain marker to draw your design on the mug. Carefully avoid to put your finger on the design, unless you want to get a very messy fingerprint effect - moreover, keep in mind that most permanent inks are toxic! Drawing on a curved surface ain't the handiest thing, which is one more reason to go for a simple design.
Since I made this mug for my boyfriend, I chose to draw a stylized version of his favourite plushes - yep, he's an unapologetic plush collector! :D

Step 4: Bake!
Let your mug completely dry (mine took about 4 hours) and bake according to the marker instructions (and, again, be sure to use an oven safe mug!)
(Note: apple pie not included in the process :P )

Step 5: Enjoy! : )
The best way to give away a mug is, in my humble opinion, to fill it with chocolates or handmade cookies (since I am a hopeless glutton). But a small bag of fine coffee or tea might work as well. : )

Well, that's it. Are you ready to draw your own custom mug? 
Hope you enjoyed this, and wish you good luck with your quest for nice, unique and useful Christmas gifts! 
Big hugs,


Ps: the free printable Xmas list is ready, so check it out tomorrow morning! : )


  1. How cute! I love the mug you prepared for your boyfriend. The idea is great. Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs, Drora

  2. These are some very creative, unique and fun mug you made.

  3. Your mug is great I am sure your boyfriend was delighted with it. Thanks for sharing. I don't know if it will work with these markers or not but you could try tracing a pattern on the mug with carbon paper first :) I hope this was helpful.
    Hugs Maria

    1. That's actually pretty brilliant, I will definitely try that next time! :)

  4. Beh, se non altro è semplicissima da fare :D

  5. Hello mij (over here in Holland "mij" means "me" in English :D!!
    I love your creativity, thanks for sharing this idea and the links: so much inspiration! Tday we have a lot of snow too :D!!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. I had no idea Ilona :) Thanks, and hope you'll enjoy the snowfall!

  6. ma sei bravissima! e che bello stile allegro hai! :) mi piaaaaace!

  7. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

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  13. Beautiful artwork! Creative designs and logos on Personalized mugs are good marketing efforts which can in long run worth a lot.

  14. Good product and best tool for marketing and advertisement with a custom logo attached on the mug.

  15. Great idea behind this fantastic creation and looks adorable and intend to purchase the whole set of printed logo mugs.

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