Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY Sharpie Mug - Does It Really Work?

So, I'm sure you've seen the Sharpie mugs all over Pinterest in the last couple of months.  They claim, "all you need is a marker, a dollar store mug, and an oven," but...the results seem to be varied.  Some say it worked awesome, others say it was a total fail.  So which is it?  Is it worth the effort to attempt this project, or will it be a total waste of time? 


I'm here to say that yes, it does work, BUT....maybe not quite as simplified as some claim.  
Here's how it worked for me.

I attempted this project months ago with just plain ol' Sharpie permanent markers and a couple of Corelle mugs I got at the thrift store.  I spent quite a while making a design, then I baked it just like the blog post told me to, and.....it was a complete failure.  It washed right off with just a hand washing in the sink. 

 So I did more research and found that in all reality oil based paint markers are really what you need.  These are a bit expensive, I think they were about $3.47 each at Hobby Lobby.  I used 40% off coupons so it wasn't SO bad, plus I figure these should last quite awhile and I can get plenty of uses out of them so they were worth it to me.  (You can find these in the artist's paint section at any big craft store.)


I also read that wiping down the entire mug with alcohol wipes is also a good idea to remove any grease or oils from your fingers that may be on it that would cause the ink/paint to not soak in to the glaze.

(source)

A few weeks after my first failed attempt I came across this image/post for BFF mugs, and it was my inspiration to try it again.  At the time, we were living in Ohio and were in the middle of preparing to move cross country back to Florida.  I was leaving a BFF behind, so this seemed like the perfect project to try out.  Fast forward many months to when I finally got around to actually doing this, and that'll bring you to today's post.  : )

  I started with a plain white mug from Walmart, it was a Better Homes and Gardens brand.  Something to remember about these is that, the cheaper the mug the better this project works.  The better quality the mug the better the glaze will be on it and it'll be more resistant to absorbing the paint/marker.  My dollar store didn't have any plain white mugs at the time so that's why I got one from Wally World.

The inspiration post said to practice drawing the states by hand and then use an eyeliner pencil to draw the outline on the mug, then do your marker/paint over that.  I wasn't confident in my state-drawing skills, so I went another route.


1.) I printed out an outline of each state and got it sized to fit the mug.
2.)  I shaded the back of each image with pencil lead.
3.)  I taped them to the mug and traced the outline with pencil.  Because of the pencil shading on the back of the image, it left the outline on the mug.
4.)  I traced over the outline with my paint marker, and drew a little heart where I had placed my dots.


I then let it dry a few minutes before I did my next step.


At this point I used the eyeliner trick to map out a pattern for my dash marks.


Then I went over the eyeliner with the paint marker, and once it was dry I wiped away any visible eyeliner marks. 


Here it is all painted and ready to go in the oven.  Now....let me share a bit of advice here.  As soon as my paint was dry, like 10 minutes later, I put it in the oven, but that wasn't the best idea.  Any areas where the paint had been a little thick ended up chipping off even after the baking process.  I had to fix them and re-bake it.


I should have, and what I would recommend for you, would be to let it dry for 24 hours before baking.


A lot of the posts that you see about these mugs say to bake it for 30 minutes at 350, but I recommend 425.  At 350 the glaze just doesn't get hot enough to absorb the ink/paint, so I did mine at 425.

I put it in while the oven was cold.  This allows the mug to heat up along with the oven so that it won't crack.  Start your 30 minutes once the oven reaches 425.  Also, once the 30 minutes are up, turn the oven off but leave the mug inside until the oven is cold.  Again, this is so the mug won't crack with any abrupt temperature changes.


One more thing I can tell you from experience is the colors can change on you.  The little hearts started out being a bright red, but after baking they had turned into a dark eggplant shade of purple as you can see above.  So just keep that possibility in mind if you decide to attempt a design that needs to have specific colors.


Once I fixed the chipping paint after the first bake and baked it a second time, I tested it out.  I washed it in a sink of hot soapy water just like I would any other dish.  It held up well.  I lightly scraped my fingernail all over it, it held up well.   I don't have a dishwasher so I can't tell you if it would hold up to that or not, but a regular hand washing was just fine.  

* Update - a couple of readers have come back and commented that theirs held up well in the dishwasher.  However, just to be on the safe side (and for the sake of the longevity of your mug) I would recommend sticking with a gentle hand washing. *

I filled it with some tea bags and sent it off to my friend.  It made her day!  : )
She did the last test phase for me, one that I forgot...testing whether the paint in the bottom of the cup held up against hot liquids.  She said she had Hospice on speed dial just in case she ended up drinking the "miss you" and suffered from paint toxification.  But not to worry, it held up just fine and medical personnel were not needed.

So...all in all I would call this project a success and now I know some tips for making things easier next time around.  

Have you tried this little project yet?  Was it a success or fail?  Any other tips you'd like to share to help others out?  Be sure to come back and let me know if this has inspired you to try one out and how it worked for you!



      
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303 comments:

  1. Must day I check your blog often and was thrilled to see a new post! Thanks for sharing this with us! I aleays see these linked parties on different blogs...that would be a good linked party "Pintrest Fails & How to make em work" :)

    Happy Fall,
    Sherri Smith

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  2. I love my adorable new mug! Your tutorial makes this seem easy and fun to do. The possibilities are endless.

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  3. What a wonderful idea. All of my bestest girlfriends live far away from me. I think this is a great gift idea. Thanks, Stephanie!

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  4. GREAT idea!!! I have a Grandson in Florida, so I think I will make one of these for him!!!
    Thank you!
    Hope things are going well for all of you!
    Blessings,
    J

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  5. That's really great! Thanks for the information.

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  6. Hi Stephanie, these are adorable. I think they look great.
    Jeannie

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  7. Have you had any feedback from someone who is able to run it through a dishwasher? I'm curious :) Great project! I'm looking forward to doing my own!

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    1. No, no feedback yet on how they hold up with dishwashers. I'm curious to know as well.

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    2. I've made one set and put them through the dishwasher on the normal cycle. They turned out great! I'm getting ready to make another set now.

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    3. I followed the instructions, oil-based, 425* etc... It held up through the dishwasher for ONE cycle. I got confident and washed it again... A little chipped off... Again... A little more... Needless to say, they are not dishwasher safe. But, still a great and cute craft. Just warn giftees to hand-wash.

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    4. Thank you so much for giving us feedback on the dishwasher, it's good to know!

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    5. Hi stephanie, i would like to ask. I only have microwave oven. Does it work? Please advice. Thanks!

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  8. Thank you! I'm going to go make a sharpie mug now...

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  9. Thanks for this post: all the pics and detailed instructions are VERY helpful!

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  10. I am going to make these this weekend and was wondering does it make a difference if you use a stoneware or porcelain mug?

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    1. I'm not really sure about the stoneware vs. porcelain mugs. All I know is that the cheaper the mug the better this project works. The better quality the mug the better the glaze will be on it and it'll be more resistant to absorbing the paint/marker. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out if you decide to try a stoneware mug.

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    2. My mug says it's not microwavable safe will it be ok if I put it in the oven before it heats up and let it cool down with the oven as well?

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    3. I'm not 100% positive about this, but I would think that it would be ok. Generally when something says it's not microwave safe it means that after heating it in the microwave it will be really hot to the touch, versus dishes that ARE microwave safe that stay cooler to the touch even after heating. But I would think that if it slowly heats up with the oven, and then slowly cools down that would be ok. If you try it out, come back and let us know how it worked for you.

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  11. I have bought stoneware coloured mugs to try this on... will let you guys know if it works

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    1. I tried it on stoneware mugs and worked just fine. :)

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  12. When you bake it, do you start the 30 mins once it gets to 425, or right when you put it in the oven?

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    1. I just did this and counted the 30 minutes from when it hit 425. Worked perfectly.

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    2. I agree, count from when it hits 425. Put it in a cold oven, set your temp, then start your timer once it gets preheated to 425. After the 30 minutes turn the oven off then leave it in there until it's cold again.

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  13. Hello, I have been peaking around your blog and just love it.
    I love these mug ideas. I just recently made one of my own and it turned out perfect.

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  14. hi! this was extremely helpful! i just wanted to let you know, the link that you say has tips and tricks no longer works. i keep getting an expired page! but thanks!

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  15. Hello! My name is Emma & I'm currently working on a Valentines Day Round-up for my blog Vildmarket.com. This is a great tutorial for these mugs & I was going to feature it on my round-up. Just let me know if you would rather I did not & I will take it down.

    Thank you in advance,
    *Emma

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  16. Hi! Thanks for the lovely tutorial :) Just wondering if I should bake the mugs individually or would baking them together be ok?

    Thanks!

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    1. I haven't tried it, but I would think that baking them together would be just fine.

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    2. I am seeing this post after I made my mugs. I had good results too. I did them at a lower temp for a longer time (2 hours at 250) but I did 4 at one time with no problem. I also did one at that time and temp, same results. I don't know if that is helpful or not because these are cooked faster at a higher temp, but it would seem to me that the same would apply.

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  17. Replies
    1. VERY carefully, lol! I held the very end of the marker with the paint end down in the cup, and very carefully wrote out the words and hoped and prayed I had done it right because I couldn't really see what I was doing. I messed it up the first time, but I just wiped it off with some alcohol, let it dry, and tried it again. I got it right the 2nd time.

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  18. do you how much does it last? ;/ i guess its not for EVER..

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    1. I have no idea how long they last. I would imagine they'll last close to forever if you're careful about hand washing them and not putting them in the dishwasher, but I really couldn't say for sure.

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  19. Whats the eyeliner trick? And are you positive it doesn't work with normal sharpie markers??

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    1. The eyeliner trick is that you use an eyeliner pencil to draw out your image, then you trace over it with the marker/paint. Once the paint is dry you can just wipe away any eyeliner marks that are still visible. You'll want to do that before you bake it so there's no chance of them becoming permanent.

      I can't say 100% that regular markers don't work, I only know that when I tried them they didn't work, and washed right off. I only baked them at 350 though, and never did try the higher temperature of 425. Who knows, maybe the higher temps would have worked. If you try it and it works be sure to come back and let us know!

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    2. can we bake it in microwave?

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  20. I hand washed mine after only doing one coat of marker and baking only once and some of the black rubbed off a bit. Now that I have just read your blog, I'm going to try doing a second and third coat of marker and baking a second time. Thank you for posting this!

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    1. You're welcome! I hope it worked out for you the 2nd time around.

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  21. Good post for sharing and it brings innovative and unique ideas and thoughts to do this kind of creativity and these mugs looks great and i appreciate all the endeavors done behind that. Good work Guys!!

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  22. Thank you so much for this post!!! I tried this so many times - had great ideas from my kids - only to have it all wash off. I took your advice, bought the oil-based Sharpies, etc and it worked! I'm going to use this as a school auction idea - thanks again!!

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    1. I'm so glad it finally worked for you and that I could be of help! Thanks so much for letting me know.

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  23. Hi! Thanks for the tip on the Sharpies! I tried a heart on the bottom of the mug just to test a bit and got the same result with the red, it turned a magenta-ish pink-purple. Are the photos at the bottom of your post the final product AFTER baking or before? And if they are the after, how did you fix the problem with the color changing? Any information you could provide would be helpful!

    Thanks again!

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    1. The photos at the bottom with the bright red heart were actually taken before I baked it. The eggplant purple color is what it changed to after baking. So yes, be very aware that colors do change during baking, except for black.

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    2. I baked mine at 250 for 2 hours with very little color change.

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  24. It seems to work so well! Thanks for the awesome review and that is such a gorgeous mug!

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  25. Found your site (a happy find!) while searching for the nitty griiy on the DYI Sharpie mugs. We want to use this idea as a simple craft takeaway at an upcoming Ladies Tea hosted by the women's ministry group at church. Thank you for all your great suggestions. We will have ladies from 5-105 & this seems doable for all...even me who doesn't posses a crafty bone in my body!

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    1. Oh that sounds like a such a FUN idea for a ladies gathering! And you're right, it's the perfect solution for ladies of all ages. I hope it turned out wonderfully for you.

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  26. My oven gets a bit smoky and an odd smell during the baking step, is this normal, or just my oven? Thanks!

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    1. Mine did get just a little bit stinky during the baking process, but not smoky. I would say that's probably not normal.

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

    Promo Logo Mugs

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  28. Do you have a recommendation for the best site to find outlines of states. I am going to try Maryland and it doesn't look very easy! Luckily the state my friend is moving to is PA, so I lucked out on that state. :)

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    1. I just use Google images and type in, "Outline of Maryland" or whatever the state may be, then just take your pick from whatever images it brings up. Some will be more detailed than others, but there should be a couple that are a bit more simplified.

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  29. Hey!
    I hope that you see this I know it's from a while ago!
    I used your method (thankyou for explaining SO throughly!) and it worked perfectly, I left the black for over 24 hours to set before I cooked it in the oven like you said and that was a few days ago, I tried washing I etc and it was great but today before I went to post it I realised that some of the black had scratched off a little bit, I checked it in other areas by scratching it and it wasn't coming off but a couple if other bits that I tried scratched of too (just tiny!) I touched them up with the pen again but I had to post it (it needs to get to Australia within the next week) I couldn't leave it and cook it again :(. When my boyfriend receives it if I tell him to put it in the oven again do you think it will damage the rest of it? Or will it just set the bits that I touched up? It looks so perfect but I don't want him to not be able to use it bevause he's worried it will scratch off :') xxx

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    1. I don't THINK it will ruin it if he bakes it again. It should just set up the paint that you added to it. Another thing he could try that I've read about since I posted this is, after it's baked spray a coat or two of a clear acrylic sealer over the design for added protection. I would cover/tape off the rim so that the sealer doesn't get on the part that goes in your mouth and then spray just the design with two coats of sealer. I haven't tried this method, but in theory it seems like it would work pretty well. Hope that helps!

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  30. Hi! I was really glad to see the mention of stoneware vs. ceramic or porcelain in this blog. I have purchased like 14 stoneware mugs from the dollar tree and have attempted this project with regular sharpies, oil based sharpies and painters pens. I have used the baking techniques of letting the paint dry for 24 hours and then baking at 350 for 30 minutes and the other technique of baking at 425 for 30 minutes after letting it preheat with the oven and then letting it cool down with the oven for several hours. with both techniques I let them sit 24 hours after baking before washing. the sharpie didn't last and after a good soak and applying pressure, the design came off. the oil based sharpies faired even worse. the design smudged off on my hand when I picked it up to wash it. The painters pen did the best but parts of the wording came off after soaking in water for a little bit. it was however difficult to scrub the rest of the design off so the mug was clean. I have considered using ceramic or porcelain mugs instead (even though stoneware is a type of ceramic) or using a spray on type of sealant. Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated because I really would like this to work because it's such a cute idea for Christmas presents and I have a lot of people to buy for......and I have no room for these 14 mugs. Haha. :)

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    1. I too would love to know how to seal it.
      I used the painters markers, on a simple mug from Walmart..... Ceramic I suppose....
      I need to ship this over to my boyfriend ASAP so I pray it worked! I afraid to test it out

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    2. I'm not really sure what to tell you, I don't know why it's not working for you. I made another one this week as a gift using a Corelle mug I got a thrift store and it worked just fine. My only suggestion would be to try something other than stoneware. Also, I have read that using a spray sealant helps. I would tape off the rim of the mug so that it doesn't get on the part where your mouth will go, but then give it 2 light coats of a clear acrylic sealer and see if that helps.

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  31. Hey there!
    I used PAINTERS Opaque Paint Markers. It says they're good for plates so I figured mugs would work as well. They can be used on fabrics, wood, paper, terra cotta, glass, ceramic, plastic etc....
    So today was the day that I baked my mug, after letting it sit for 24hrs.

    Now I'm nervous.... How do I test it without ruining everything if it didnt work??

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    1. Test it VERY carefully, lol! I usually just barely touch the edge of whatever design I've done to see if it smudges. If not, then I give it a light scratch with my fingernail, again just on the edge though. If that seems good then I lightly test it all over by touching it and then scratching it. If it seems ok then I cross my fingers, hold my breath, and hope for the best as I give it a hand washing.

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    2. I realize this is an old post, but I just bought the same markers for the same project. Did it work for you? Are they machine washable? Thanks for any information you can offer.

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  32. I'm thinking about doing this project with some teens at the library where I work, but I'm worried about putting the paint marker on the inside of the mug. I've heard that while it may not come off completely, there still is some risk of poisoning from the paint markers. Do you know anything about this?

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    1. Don't hold me to it because I'm sure there's always a bit of risk if you paint something on the inside, but that being said, the friend I made this cup for is still alive and kickin' a year later. :) But if you're not comfortable with doing that then just skip that part. It's a little bit difficult to paint down inside them anyways.

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  33. Hi! I love this idea, and tried it on a colored mug with black and white oil based sharpies. I'd done the craft before with 30 minutes at 350, but this time I did 30 minutes at 425. I don't know if you've tried it with white paint yet, but I wanted to let you know that my white paint burnt and came out brown. I went over it and re-baked it at 350. Perhaps 425 is the optimal temperature, but I would be cautious with lighter colored paints, because they will likely burn and come out brown. :(

    When using whites or lighter colors, as long as you let it air dry for 24-48 hours before baking, I think it should be ok with handwashing. Just wanted to let you know!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I just recently made one where I used white paint over top of the black paint (white polka dots on black letters) and the white turned gray. It still turned out cute even though they were gray and I was fine with it. I'm sorry yours turned brown though. :(

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    2. I have had other glass paint burn like that - and I really do think it is because it really needs to sit for a couple of days to fully cure.

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  34. Hi! Last year I tried the ole' "just draw on the mug with a sharpie" method and it DID NOT work. I worked long and hard for a mug for my best friend only to have it come off when she hand-washed it :( I am really happy I found your site but I have a quick question.

    How has the inside of your cup lasted? and also would you say it is safe to drink out of?
    THANKS

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    1. With daily use and therefore daily washings the design did start to wear off after several months of use. My friend that I gave this cup to is still alive and kickin' and the paint wearing off didn't harm her, but if you're very picky about what goes into your body then I would recommend leaving out the design in the bottom of the cup.

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  35. Great tutorial!! I just painted my mugs and am in the drying process. I used mainly gold, with just a little black and red. Any experience with the metallic paint pens? Also, the product insert with my mugs says "oven safe up to 250*" -- Do you know if your mugs said anything about the temperature? Do you think they'll be OK up to 450? I am so afraid they will crack!

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    1. Hopefully your mug was fine in the hot oven and didn't crack. I've tried a couple of different kinds of mugs and never had a problem, but I guess there are no guarantees. How did the metallic paint turn out? I haven't used metallic yet.

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    2. Did the oven safe mugs work? I have a platter that is oven safe to 450 degrees that I have not tried yet.

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  36. I tried these last night and they worked like a charm. Beware of the smell though. I would suggest opening windows in your house cause it can be quite overwhelming. Also, the colors change..

    Red turns into purple
    Blue turns into green
    Gold turns into silver
    Yellow turns into a light brown

    I will keep experimenting with the colors once my mugs are back in stock

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    1. Thank you for letting us know how the colors change! I knew that red turns purple and white turns grey, but I didn't know how the other colors changed. I haven't tried it for myself yet, but I've read that the Bic brand stays true to color and doesn't change with baking.

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  37. Hello! Do you put your mugs on a baking sheet to cook?

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  38. Hi, so glad I came across this BEFORE I tried it with a regular sharpie. I went out and bought the fancy ones (craftsmart brand, which they assured me are the same as sharpie or money back)...
    I want to make some as Christmas gifts but deff want to make a practice mug first. Question: has anyone tried white paint on black mug yet? That's what I have at home (and the markers I bought are a multi-color set) and I'm thinking that I wasn't to write a favorite book quote but wanted to check in before I start haha. Thanks for the tips so far :-)

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    1. In my experience the white turns gray, but that was with the Sharpie brand and it was white paint over top of black paint. So I can't say for sure how white paint would react on a black mug. Come back and let us know how it turned out if you try it!

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  39. Hey,

    I baked mine yesterday and had some fading and chipping. When you baked yours a second time to fix it, did you just draw over your old design and fill in the spots? Thanks!!

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    1. Yes, I just drew over the design and filled in where needed.

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  40. Are the fumes from the baking harmful?

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    1. Not entirely sure, but I'm still alive so it can't be too bad.

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  41. Can you use a microwave instead of an oven?

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    1. No, I would not recommend using a microwave for this project. I just don't think a microwave could get the mug hot enough to absorb the ink.

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  42. Runing out of time to do these. Really want to make them. So many suggestions. Please do these really work. Hate to give them and they rub of in a month. Xmas gifts for my sons corp of cadets members at college. Please honestly will oil based sharpie, baking and coating with sealant last even just getting them out of oven much less dishwashing.

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    1. The design will last for a few months with daily hand washing. It may fade quicker when using a dishwasher, but it also may last longer if not used daily and if always hand washed only. If you want something more permanent you might want to check into paint markers that are made specifically for ceramics.

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    2. Hi! So I've been researching these sharpie mugs and decided I would make one for my Grandma as a Christmas present. I was wondering if you knew how long it would take from start to finish. Also if the color changes in the baking process, what can you do to fix it? Hope you can answer this before Christmas Eve. Thanks.

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    3. Well, I guess the time it takes will depend on how detailed the design is you plan to make. It might take an hour to get the design just right, then you need to let it dry 24 hours, and then it takes an hour or so to bake and then a couple of hours to cool down.

      And as far as fixing any color changes, I'm not really sure what can be done. I have read that the BIC markers stay more true to their colors than the Sharpies do but I don't know that for myself, it's just what I've read. I typically just stick with black marker on a white mug to avoid the problem of color changes.

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  43. How did you correct the color change after you baked it? Cause I'm trying a diy mug and I used blue and baked it and it was a weird green color. Do you have any suggestions on how to fixed the color back to a bright blue again?

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    1. No, I'm sorry I don't know how to fix the color changes. That's why I typically just use black marker on a white mug to avoid the color changing problem.

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  44. Can it be any oil based marker/paint? Would one of the paint pens work?

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    1. I haven't tried any other brand besides the Sharpie, but I would assume that it could be done with other types of paint pens.

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  45. Following the above instructions, my gold metallic came out and very dark, ugly gray. Ironic considering the word highlighted was "smile". lol.

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    1. Yes, the colors do change with baking unfortunately. It's best to do a test run on a mug you won't be gifting to see what happens with the colors first. I've also heard that the Bic markers stay more true to color, but I haven't tried that for myself.

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  46. what if i don't bake the mug, will the mark still last and don't fade?

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    1. I haven't tried not baking it, but I would assume that the design won't last. Baking allows the ceramic or porcelain of the mug to get hot enough that the marker/paint melts through the glaze and absorbs into the mug. That's what helps it last. Maybe if you were using paint that was specifically made for ceramics you might not have to bake it.

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  47. if I write something on the base, do I put the mug in upside down?

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    1. I don't think it would really matter, as long as the entire mug is heating up and absorbing the design it should be fine, but just to be on the safe side you it certainly wouldn't hurt anything to put it in upside down.

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  48. I followed the directions exactly how it says.. when I baked them, all the colors turned a grey/silver shade, even the pinks, oranges, blues, greens...etc... any idea why and how to prevent this!?

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    1. I do know that the colors can change on you, I've had it happen before. But I don't know how to tell you to prevent it. I've heard that other brands work better and hold their color better, so you could experiment with that.

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  49. Hi, I did this project but I haven't baked the mug yet. We don't have an oven but we have an oven toaster. The mug fits but it's so close to the heat source (idk what you call them). Is it safe to bake them in an oven toaster, especially if it's too close to the heat source?

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    1. No, I would not recommend baking this in a toaster oven. That does not seem like a safe option at all. Maybe you could use a friend's oven for this project?

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  50. Just wondering if you bake both mugs the same time or if you did one at a time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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