How to paint a mug.

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personalized mug

This personalized mug (see the J ??) is for my friend Jen’s birthday. So she can hang out with me and drink her coffee in style. No more plain ol’ white mugs for her. No maaam. She’s a colorful kind of girl that needs a colorful kind of mug! Happy Birthday Jen…hope it’s filled with lots of laughter, snot-nosed tears, fun, and giggles. You deserve nothing less!

How to make a personalized mug…

easy diy personalized mug!! I want to make this for a gift!

(tip: be sure to pop these in the oven on low heat for 20 minutes or so to “cure”. Usually there are more specific instructions on the paint.  I didn’t include a bunch of instructions, because they will change based on which paint you use.)

Not an artist?  That’s completely ok!  You can use stencils to make designs, or you can go very simple and just add whatever you are capable of free handing.  That’s one of the best things about these personalized mugs; there aren’t any rules.  Whatever you decide to do will work great!

P.S. These are knock-offs from the big ol fantastic store Anthropologie. See their version…ours is just as awesome.


Pretty darn cool that we can recreate our own version of this personalized mug…don’t you think??

And since we’ve gotten a ton of questions about using Sharpies to do this, we’ll get that out in the open right now.  Plain old Sharpies don’t work well for this.  You can do a few things to try and get them to work better, but we just recommend using the right kind of paint pen from the get-go.  It’ll save you time and frustration.

In case the picture didn’t show up for you (’cause that sometimes happens), you just need to know that you’ll be buying ceramic paint.  And painting a white mug.  And then baking it for a bit.  Simple as pie!  Actually, simpler than pie.  Some pie recipes are hard work!  This isn’t.

Some other fun crafts for dishes:

refresh old dishes
paint plates
mini cake stand
vintage pyrex

Nellie is the founder of NellieBellie, and takes basically every photograph you've ever seen on this site. She also runs our web design business, the Savvy Sites Administration.


  1. Rebecca

    October 27, 2015 at 7:54 am


    I bought paint pens and did this project last year. I followed the directions on the paint pens. It also said dishwasher safe. I washed them and the paint came off and stuck to all my plastic wear it was a mess!

    • Nellie

      October 28, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Oh my goodness, how awful! I have been utterly discouraged by the difficulty of finding good pens. There are so many paint pens out there that claim to work on porcelain and such but they really don’t. The other problem is that if you pick up any type of dishes they often don’t work because they have been glazed and sealed. Another thing that paint pens don’t mention. The mug I used in this post isn’t glazed and still porous allowing the paint to adhere to the mug. But if you go on Pinterest it sure seems like a project like this should be the easiest of easy, doesn’t it.

  2. Tiffany

    August 26, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I tried this method because I had this paint from when I painted one of my bird houses and in 95 percent sure that it was the same paint so I was wondering that if you put it in the oven too long does anything to stop it from setting properly because I feel that is what I did wrong.

    • the Bellie

      August 29, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Tiffany, not sure exactly what might have gone wrong. You need to put the mugs in the oven, then turn it on, then bake it, then turn it off, and leave the mugs in the oven until the oven is completely cool. Maybe one of those steps was skipped?

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