DIY painted mugs are one of the most popular Christmas gift ideas because they are personal, versatile and practical. However, too often a beautiful handmade gift is ruined by the dishwasher, hot liquids, microwave use, or sometimes even just a dish sponge.
I’ve searched high and low for the best of the best tutorials to help you create DIY painted mugs that look and act just like the store-bought versions. These mugs can withstand both dishwashers and microwaves to ensure your artwork is made to last.
Dishwasher Safe: There are a few key steps to ensuring your mug is dishwasher safe. First, use a paint that is designed for glass. Glass paint is fairly easy to find and comes in every color of the rainbow. Second, paint in thin coats and be sure to let each coat dry before adding additional color. Once the paint is dry, bake it to ensure the design lasts through the microwave time after time. Keep reading for baking time details.
Real Permanent Pens: Not all “permanent” markers are really permanent when washed every single day. Even Sharpie markers will wash off in the dishwasher. The key is to find oil-based paint pens. Sharpie makes an oil-based paint pen, but it’s more expensive than the regular sharpie. You can bake these as well, to ensure that they stay on the mug. Markers like these on Amazon work great.
Know how to erase: Of course, the goal is to get your design to last, but you also need to be able to erase just in case you happen to sneeze in the middle of your design and Merry Christmas turns into Merrrrrr. Use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to erase any mistakes, let it dry completely, and keep going.
Wait! Before you shove your creation in the oven, be sure to wait at least 8, preferably 24 hours. This allows the paint to really dry and cure before it is baked.
Preheat/Postheat: When it’s time to bake, place the cup in a cold oven, and let it heat up to temperature. When it’s done, turn off the oven and let the mug cool completely before removing it. This ensures your mug won’t break in the baking process.
Baking Correctly: Every tutorial has slightly different baking instructions. For some it’s higher temps for shorter time, others are mid-range for 30-45 minutes, after testing nearly every temp/time combination, Destination Decoration found the best baking results came from a full two hours at 250 degrees. Hotter temperatures will likely change the tint of the colors, less time results in more color chipping in the dishwasher. Low temperature and longer time gives you the best results.