The Milk Memoirs

One part chronicle, one part resource of all things breastfeeding and family life…with a good dose of fun,crafts & mommy realness

DIY Custom Mugs that won’t wash away – for reals!

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How many of you have you ventured down that path of making your own customized mug with the promise of “never fade”…”permanent”…Or, “won’t wash away”…So you pour your creative heart out and churn out a master piece onto that little mug, only to discover- oh hello- it actually does wash away. Is not so permanent, and has totally faded. In fact, is now gone altogether! Hands up, anyone?

Well, I’ve got my hand up too, by the way. I was a little bummed by this, but I think I may have found the permanent solution after all! Amongst the many crafts that I am yet to share with you, I did this pinteresty one for the kids as part of their Christmas Eve Box, last year. They loved the fact that they had their own personalized mugs. Sure it wasn’t exactly a master piece, but hey, it’s the love with which I made it, that counts –right? Right. So whilst the world was not exactly left a little poorer now that my artwork had completely vanished, I was a little saddened that my efforts (& love) were all for naught. The kids don’t even see it as their mugs anymore. It’s now just a normal communal mug that anyone uses.

And I’m pretty sure anyone who has put in any decent amount of effort into this craft would feel like all their time, effort and money has really just been washed down the drain. Literally. And that was just with normal hand washing – not even in a dishwasher.

So after doing some digging (when I really should be sleeping), I’ve discovered the little secret to permanency in your DIY customized mugs/crockery/glassware: Oil Based Paint Sharpies!

I’ve been using the regular sharpies for sometime now – for this and other crafts- but when I spotted these in store, I had to do some research on it’s possibilities! (where do I even find the time for such arb reading?!) They’re a bit pricier than the regular Sharpies – and in South Africa, the regular Sharpies are already a pretty penny! But I feel that they are worth it, based on the fact that I won’t be wasting my time on this craft, and future craft possibilities are endless.

So lets’ get to it:
Now depending on what design you want and what colours you want that’s all up to you.
You could use stickers to help you create a monogram, or a particular shape or name. Much like I created these custome t-shirts over here. Or you could go free hand, and just let loose.
I went for free hand, and use the gold and silver metallic paint pens.

What you need:

What you will need:Mugs & Sharpies are you base needs

What you will need:Mugs & Sharpies are you base needs

    • Optional, but recommended: Rubbing alcohol ( best to ensure your paint has no grime or grease that will make it fade. Also used to remove mistakes)
    • Cotton swabs (For alcolhol)
    • Mugs
    • Oil based paint pen Sharpies
    • An oven
    • Optional: Any other props you may need for your design, like stickers, etc.

Also optional: Your really creative hand. If you’re awesome at freehand fonts, UNLIKE me, then you have all my envy forever and a day. But your hand style will still make it an original regardless. Besides, you’ll always have me to make you feel better about your handwriting. 🙂

The secret weapon to it's permanancy is in these particular pens: Oil Based Sharpies!....You're welcome ;)

The secret weapon to it’s permanancy is in these particular pens: Oil Based Sharpies!….You’re welcome 😉


    1. Clean mug with soapy water.
    2. Dry and clean mug with rubbing alcohol (optional but recommended)
    3. Ensure completely dry before starting your design.
    4. Once design is complete ensure the paint dries for a good 8 to 24 hours before you even think of popping into the oven.
    5. Place mug(s) inside oven BEFORE turning it on. (To ensure mugs wont crack from temperature shock)
    OVEN 14641549971084_resized
    6. Turn oven up to 180’c / 350’f
    7. Only once oven reaches its temp and is ready (the light goes off), set your timer for 40 minutes. (That’s the time your mug needs to bake)
    8. After the 40 minutes has passed, switch oven off, open oven door and keep mug inside oven. (DO NOT remove) Allow everything to cool completely before removing from oven.

Et voila! Your own custom design mug for reals. Now all you need to do is pour yourself a cuppa something steamy in there! Next up, Im wanting to try glassware and some plates.
I’ve put this baby to the test with some handwashing already, and nothing has faded yet. Granted it’s only been two washes so far.(Will keep you posted should it change.) We don’t own a dishwasher (‘cause we’re all into self-punishment and the like), so maybe let me know how it works out for you if you did. But for now, I’m pretty fine with just gentle handwashing.

Anyhoo, they make cool little personalised gifts – I have a soft spot for handmade gifts. And am already thinking of a few reasons to whip up a few more of these.
Case in point: This past mother’s day…a little side gift found on the table for the grandmothers from the girls.


And just as they think their cup is empty, when they get to the bottom, they’ll see that their cups, in fact, runneth over…with love.

I hope you do too. Enjoy crafting!X

By the way, if you’re dead set on life time guarantees on no fade, then maybe you should check out your local pottery store where you can pick a piece, customize it and they seal and bake it in the kiln for you. Morgy and I made a bunch of pieces last year as gifts, including mugs, and had loads of fun –see here..


Author: mommabeartrax

Mother of two (and counting), pregnant with the third and have a sweet little angel in heaven. A very happy wifey, blogger, lover of life and laughter, a clumsy swimmer, loyal friend, Im funnier in my head than I actually am, I am a qualified HypnoBirthing Child Birth Educator, I get inexplicably excited about good food, baking & crafts. Although, I think baking and crafts are just trying to fill a void that my Kenpo and gym-rat days used to fill. Lastly, according to the rest of the world, I fix your printer. But I'm actually a Software Architect.

One thought on “DIY Custom Mugs that won’t wash away – for reals!

  1. Pingback: Christmas Eve Box – Our Family Tradtion | The Milk Memoirs

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