How to Make Cheap Mugs
Mugs can be decorated in a variety of ways. Painting is a great option for cheap and easy decorating. The key is to use oil based Sharpies (not regular sharpies) because they set better on the ceramic surface and will not wash off when washed.
You can also print a colorful graphic or even your family photo on a mug with dye sublimation. This printing technique is also very affordable.
1. Repurpose a plain mug
If you have some old mugs that are a bit chipped or broken, don’t throw them away. You can easily repurpose them and create a cute and thoughtful gift for friends and family. Whether you use them for hot cocoa, coffee, or tea, these repurposed mugs are sure to be appreciated by anyone who receives them.
Mugs are easy to paint and decorate with Sharpies or other markers, but be sure to choose oil-based Sharpies for best results. It’s also a good idea to practice on paper before drawing on your mug. After drawing, allow the mug to dry completely before baking. Make sure to hand wash your mug instead of throwing it in the dishwasher, as this can ruin the design.
Another option for decorating a mug is to print a design on vinyl and transfer it to the mug. This can be done with a vinyl cutter such as the Silhouette or Cricut, but you can also cut a simple design by hand. Before transferring the vinyl, be sure to “weed” it, which is the process of cutting away any parts of the design that you don’t want transferred to the mug.
2. Paint it
You might have seen Sharpie painted mugs all over Pinterest where people use basic markers to paint patterns, words, or even pictures onto ceramic dollar store mugs and bake them in the oven. It’s a great idea to give a custom, personal gift for friends and family without spending a lot of money.
Before you start painting, clean your mug in warm soapy water and dry it thoroughly. Then, put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and rub it over the mug where you’ll be painting it. This will remove any residues that might encourage your paint to not stick.
If you’re using paint pens, make sure that they are described as “ceramic safe.” It’s also helpful to draw the design with a pencil first to make sure that it’s straight and neat. Then, apply the first layer of paint and wait for it to dry. You can continue to add layers of paint until you get the look that you want.
3. Bake it
Make a simple, basic mug cake that can be customized to any flavor or topping you like. It’s made with just a few ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry or refrigerator and bakes in less than a minute in the microwave.
This particular mug cake recipe uses a combination of flour, sugar, milk and cocoa powder. It also calls for baking soda, which acts as a leavening agent, to help the cake rise and to add some fluffiness. Finally, a little bit of salt is used to enhance the cake’s sweetness and a pinch of vanilla or other extracts can give it extra flavor.
The best part about this mug cake is that it can be drawn on with oil-based Sharpie markers. This allows the designs to set and stay on even after many washes. You can also find ceramic paint markers at Michaels that are similar to the regular Sharpie markers, but when baked in the oven they will hold up much better and won’t come off in the dishwasher (*). If you want to use this method, be sure to choose a mug with straight sides so your design can look good.
4. Personalize it
Whether you’re creating a mug to promote your business or just to brighten up a friend’s day, the final product should be as attractive as possible. To make your mugs stand out, choose original shapes and designs. Mugs shaped like mushrooms, for example, are a fun and unique design trend that will intrigue your friends and family members.
The next step is to personalize your mug. You can use a special porcelain paint or purchase one from a craft store. Ensure that your mug is clean and dry before you start painting. You can also personalize your mug with stickers or other decorations.
If you’re using a cutter plotter, first place the vinyl design onto the backing with the shiny side down. Then, position your mug and secure it with a strip of masking tape across the middle (this is called a “hinge”). Once your design is secured to the mug, peel off the transfer tape and apply it with an application tool or your fingers.