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DIY Sharpie Mugs

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Sharpie mugs are all over Pinterest, but do they really work? This awesome step-by-step tutorial not only shows you how to make them, but proves exactly which markers won't wash off! Such a fun & easy project and an awesome DIY gift idea!

For the past year or two I’ve been seeing these Sharpie mugs all over Pinterest. And every time I see them, I think, “those are so cute. I should totally try that! They look SO easy!” But then I started noticing a lot of comments on those Sharpie mug photos, most of them complaining that while these darling little mugs are indeed the easiest craft ever, the marker is not actually wash resistant when applied to ceramic. And who wants a coffee mug they can’t wash?

But then I was on a hunt for some cute mugs for my new office and I couldn’t a single one that I liked, probably because in my head I was envisioning all those cute Sharpie mugs I had been drooling over. I finally decided to give it a try, doing my own research along the way.

I found out that that the plain old regular Sharpie markers do not work at all for this project. The trick, I discovered, is that the markers must be OIL BASED, not water-based. Thus, if you want to attempt this project, be sure to ONLY do it with the oil-based Sharpie paint markers

Even so, as my field testing proved, these cute little mugs will NOT be dishwasher safe. They do just fine with soap and water but the dishwasher means a sure and sudden death to all your artistic effort. That said, they really are a fun & easy DIY project and turn out SO cute without much effort. The possibilities are practically endless, as my Sharpie Mug Pinterest Board will attest to, and they would make a fantastic gift idea for almost anyone. (Just make sure to include washing instructions!)


LWSL reader Ana shared the following comment on Facebook: “I used oil based paint markers and even after curing them, they smudged when they got too hot. Instead I bought DecoArt glass paint markers, followed the directions to a T and I have washed it in the dishwasher several times, no smudges or washing off.”

Gather mugs and oil-based Sharpies to make these adorable DIY Sharpie mugs.

Here is what you need:
Plain mug
Sharpie paint oil-based markers or DecoArt glass paint markers
pencil (optional)
masking tape (optional)

Use tape to mark off the design areas on your DIY Sharpie Mugs.

Step 1: Wash and dry your mug, if new. Decide on a design and prep design with masking tape, if necessary.

Sketch your designs on your mug with a pencil before you use a Sharpie to fill it in.

Step 2: Use a pencil to rough out design for any words or lines. Remove masking tape.

Use a fine-tip oil-based marker to draw the designs on your DIY Sharpie mug.

Step 3: Carefully draw design with Sharpie paint markers.

You can use colored oil-based markers on your Sharpie mug as well.

Step 4: Add accent colors, if necessary.

Once your DIY Sharpie mugs are painted, they simply go into the oven to set.

Step 5: Bake dishes at 350 degrees for 20 minutes to set paint; let cool completely.

This "Like a Boss" Sharpie mug was so easy to make and is the perfect gift.

This DIY personalized coffee mug would be an excellent present for anyone on your list.

Finally, remember that these will NOT be dishwasher safe! Be sure to hand wash ONLY!

Sharpie mugs are only safe for hand washing. They will fade in the dishwasher.

P.S. For more cool design ideas, be sure to check out my dedicated Sharpie Mug Pinterest Board!

Sharpie mugs are all over Pinterest, but do they really work?  This awesome step-by-step tutorial not only shows you how to make them, but proves exactly which markers won't wash off!  Such a fun & easy project and an awesome DIY gift idea!


  1. Holly
    February 10 at 09:33AM

    This is awesome. I have been wanting to try this for awhile but was afraid it wouldn’t work. Thanks for testing it out. Just ordered my markers!! 🙂

    • Anonymous
      October 6 at 05:02PM

      Do you just bake it in a normal oven?

      • Ruth Soukup
        October 6 at 09:49PM

        Yes, you can “bake” the mugs in your home oven. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      December 22 at 12:04PM

      I have never made anything like this before and wanted to give it a try. Does the sealer go on before you bake it or after?

      • Anonymous
        April 10 at 12:57AM

        do you have to put a sealant spray on at all??

      • carla
        December 11 at 07:55AM

        No you use the periodic table.

    • Mel
      September 23 at 01:37PM

      I made a mug for my bestie. I purchased a $3 porcelain mug for the local discount store. I use a regular black sharpie – wasn’t sure it would work. After drawing the design, I let it dry for a couple hours. I then put it upside down in the cold oven set to 350 for 30 minutes. After the time was up, I left it in the oven overnight. I was excited to see the design didn’t drip off in the oven 🙂 I then handwashed it – expecting the design to rub off – IT DIDN’T! YEAH! I handwashed it about 4 more times. I plan to buy the paint pens to see how they work as well.

  2. February 10 at 10:01AM

    I must admit – I’ve never heard of this craft before!! My girls would go crazy for it! I wonder if it would work the same on glassware??… I’m adding this to our things to try list :-)!!

    • Janine Passero
      April 4 at 10:28AM

      I tried this myself to be sure it worked before buying everything for my daughters friends to decorate at her sleepover birthday party; It worked perfectly! I bought a white mug from dollar store, and decorated it using oil based sharpies-
      Once decorated, I waited about 1 1/2 hours (let it dry longer if you have the time; I was too anxious….) then put the mug in a COLD oven, set temperature to 350 and baked it for 30 minutes. Once timer went off, I turned off the oven but kept the mug in it overnight.
      I washed it by hand- and it didn’t ruin the design. Then I put it through the dishwasher and that was fine too!

  3. February 10 at 12:42PM

    I love this idea! I may do this for/with my bridesmaids 🙂

  4. February 10 at 02:29PM

    I recently made some of these with the metallic oil based sharpies, and have put them through the dishwasher several times without the design washing off in the slightest. I guess it could be a difference in our dishwashers, or the kind of detergent we use…?
    I posted about it on Saturday

  5. February 10 at 09:01PM

    I love this idea and all the specific tips to make it work. Over Christmas I made these as part of a white elephant gift swap. I included a Starbucks via in each mug and a super soft throw blanket. It was white elephant because I wrote I (heart shape) Thrifty Little, my blog, because I knew that about 3 of the 25 women in the group read my blog and they would think it was hilarious. I also didn’t tell my husband about the mugs and when he saw it, he laughed so hard that I would do that. Everyone fought over the blankets and my friends got a good laugh about my silly little mugs. lol I want to make some next year a Christmas gifts following the directions outlined here.

  6. Anonymous
    February 11 at 01:32AM

    Very cool. Thank you for sharing! Life is so colorful and fun because of the people like you 😉

  7. February 12 at 07:43AM

    I made some of these, but found that a higher temperature helps quite a bit with the permanent-ness. Check out this blog write up (not mine, but very helpful) with quite a few tips on making these even better!

  8. February 13 at 08:50AM

    This is so helpful, Ruth! I’ve made sharpie mugs before and was so sad to see my artwork wash away. Pinning this and I’ll be trying it again with the right markers!

  9. February 13 at 12:35PM

    That’s the first I’ve seen the DecoArt glass markers mentioned – awesome! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and this is the best tutorial I’ve read yet. Your mugs turned out adorable too!

  10. February 14 at 12:41PM

    I am so happy I found this article as I am going to make the “He Loves Strong Coffee” and “She Loves Green Tea” for a wedding present! Such a cute idea. Glad I didn’t attempt without reading this first!
    Ps. I LOVE your photographs and the cute words on them! Which program do you use for editing your photos? Love your site and ebook “How To Blog For Profit”. Convinced my husband to buy me a fancy camera after reading how important the photography is for a blog. I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and told him it was a major business investment. LOL Thank you Ruth!

  11. ally
    April 4 at 02:17PM

    Sooo….”Like A Boss,” huh? I think that maybe you should look up that phrase… you’d be surprised at the origin of it.

  12. May 26 at 10:41AM

    I blog often and I seriously thank you for your information. This article has really
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    • Albert Einstein
      December 24 at 11:05PM

      Ok, I’m going to nix nearly every one of these “experts” by proving a regular sharpie works just fine. After applying artwork with a REGULAR sharpie, bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Once cooled, put directly to the dishwasher. Done.

  13. June 6 at 10:22AM

    Hey are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  14. July 10 at 06:33PM

    Interesting Read

  15. September 9 at 10:26PM

    This is great! I did it for my boyfriend and I’s one year anniversary and put on his mug “Mr. Right” and on mine “Mrs. Always Right” and it turned out so good!! I LOVE it so much!

  16. September 21 at 12:11AM

    Great blog you have here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days.
    I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  17. September 27 at 10:35PM

    Wow, marvelous weblog format! How lengthy have you ever been blogging
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  18. Keldon
    September 28 at 04:11PM

    Best way to store Sharpie Paint Pens to keep them in great working order ? Upright? Flat? Down? in drawer? in a cup?

  19. Faye
    October 4 at 06:10PM

    I’ve been looking for a good post about DIY sharpie mugs and was really excited when I saw yours!
    But I followed your directions and I can still scratch off some of my designs with my nails, is this normal? Can you ever get th scratch proof or will I have to except they may get damaged one day of they get scratched by accident? Helppp 🙁

    • Bee
      November 2 at 01:13PM

      it is more time consuming but it is actually best to let the oil based sharpie paints sit for 72 hrs before baking so the paint can better molecularly adhere to whatever surface it’s on, I’ve been doing these sharpie type crafts for awhile now and has seen a significant difference in the resilience of the paint when I let it sit for a few days before I bake them (put in oven before turning on) 250 degrees for 2 hrs and let sit in oven to cool. color should remain the same (higher temperatures tend to make blues,greens and reds turn tan and alters other colors, usually black is the only one that remains unchanged)

      • Bee
        November 2 at 01:14PM

        have seen*

  20. October 17 at 04:42PM

    Hi there, this weekend is nice designed for me, because this occasion i am reading this
    wonderful educational post here at my home.

  21. Jayne
    October 17 at 06:51PM

    I would be less concerned about whether these are dishwasher safe, and more worried about whether they are FOOD safe. I’ve yet to see a marker or paint pen that is labeled for such a use. Even those marked non-toxic are not considered food safe. If in doubt, consult the manufacturer.

    • Anonymous
      November 9 at 01:04PM

      The markers are on the outside!!!!!

      • Anonymous
        November 9 at 05:12PM

        Yes, but the pattern goes all the way to the top, so the paint or ink could easily come in contact with a person’s mouth while drinking from the mug.

      • Anonymous
        November 20 at 11:27AM

        Found on the Shapie website faqs

        “While Sharpie markers are AP-certified non-toxic, we do not recommend using them on areas of items that may come in contact with food or the mouth (such as the rim of a coffee cup). Sharpie markers are only recommended for use on ceramic or glassware when the product is being used for decorative or display purposes and not intended to come in contact with food or the mouth. If you intend to design a mug or a cup using Sharpie markers and then use the mug or cup, any such designs must be at least one inch below the rim where a person’s lips could touch.”

      • Amber
        September 9 at 04:03PM

        I want to write a cute message inside a mug at the botton. Do you think the decoart marker would be safe to use inside? Thank you!

        • Ruth Soukup
          September 10 at 02:32PM

          Just be sure to check the package for safety and usage instructions.

  22. Ashley
    November 25 at 02:12PM

    I’ve been hearing that the mugs have to heat up with the oven. Do they have to heat up with the oven and then bake for 20 mins?

  23. Anonymous
    December 9 at 01:52AM

    What do I bake the mugs on?

    • Ruth Soukup
      December 9 at 03:08PM

      I baked them on a cookie sheet. 🙂

  24. Anonymous
    December 10 at 12:51AM

    I just designed some mugs for the first time using oil based sharpies. I didn’t read the part about having to bake them afterwards? What if you have to wait till the next day to bake them? Will that still be ok? We have some issues with our oven

  25. Anonymous
    December 10 at 10:31PM

    Hey I am a 9 year old and I love art. I want to do this project but this will be for my mom’s coffee and also it is a secret. It’s for X-Mas. So looking to it.

    • December 22 at 11:52PM

      To Ruth: Ma’am, I read your story. It is really deep. I have dealt with similar issues, but I didn’t tell anyone. I am all done now, I am clean, and your blog actually helped me a lot. I love sharpie mugs and I promise to try them out! You are so inspiring, you show people that it is possible to move on and get your life back, or make a new one! In this last year I have made a lot of friends and I am proud to say that I FINALLY HAVE A LIFE AGAIN! My friend/sister (thats how close we are) is having some issues as well, so I directed her to your story (not to put you on the spot, just trying to help her) and told her that she could get better. She’s been clean for a while now too!
      Thank you for being brave.

  26. Anonymous
    December 18 at 05:46PM

    If you mess up with sharpie paint markers before baking, use nail polish remover to “erase” your mistake quickly and cleanly!

  27. January 5 at 09:00AM

    Thank you so much for this post! From your experience I decided to go with the DecoArt markers and they turned out amazing! I posted about the process on my blog!

  28. Heather Kruszynski
    February 12 at 10:34AM

    Hello, I have tried doing these diy sharpie mug 3 times now and get the same results! The paint rubs right off when I touch it! What Am I doing wrong?!? I went to Hobby Lobby and got oil based sharpies, cleaned the mug with alcohol before decoraring then AND this last time I even wore gloves thinkong maybe the oils from my hands were the problem. I have preheated the oven, put them in, waited and then let them cool in the oven. Please help! Thanks!

  29. Karen
    February 12 at 07:51PM

    Did you use any type of sealer when finished?

  30. April 15 at 11:53AM

    I must have accidentally used the right kind of marker, because I never had issues with ours?
    Lucky I guess! LOL:)
    Thanks for the great info!

  31. Anonymous
    June 18 at 12:14AM

    Hi Ruth. Do you guess that a Sharpie die based alcool ink can be used for paint mugs? Thanks in advanced for your attention.

  32. Kristina
    July 6 at 08:04PM

    Do you bake the cups in the oven as it’s cold and let oven and cups heat up together or preheat oven and throw cups in there once given temperature is reached? I’ve read people do it either way but not sure what’s better.

  33. Athena
    August 26 at 03:08PM

    This is awesome! Do the glass paint markers off gas when you bake the item? I want to try this but I’m not sure about baking them in the same oven I cook food in. That’s also why I haven’t tried polymer clay yet.

  34. Kat
    September 10 at 06:05PM

    I’ve purchased oil based sharpies and let dry completely and drew on a cheap mug, baked for 30 min at 400. Most of the colors faded badly. There’s so many tips that are different. Is there something I need to do to make the color stay nicely ? Or did I do something wrong?

  35. Anonymous
    October 12 at 09:25PM

    Do Deco color sharpies work on mugs?? I’d rather get that in a set of colors, instead of just one black Deco Art. Does Deco color work the same- no smudging?

    • Ruth Soukup
      October 14 at 10:51PM

      Not sure if the Decocolor markers would smudge or not? It says they work on porcelain. 🙂

      • Betsy Singleton
        May 30 at 06:13PM

        The paint always stays on my mugs but the red turns maroon and all of the blues turn green. Any ideas on how to get reds and blues to stay true?

  36. February 22 at 01:19AM

    Hi Ruth
    Wow! This is a really great idea, i love how it’s so easy yet so beautiful.
    I have my own little list that I’ve compiled with more great ideas like these

    You might want to check it out. Anyway keep up the good work!


  37. April 9 at 07:18PM

    Those home made will all wash off, I have tried everything, sharpie, enamel paint, so on, you just need to do it professionally. My mugs will Not wash off at all!! 🙂

  38. Cindy
    May 10 at 06:27AM

    Hey! I love your blog.. By the way.. I really want to try it too.. But unfortunately I don’t have any oven because I live in some kind of homestay.. So they don’t provide ovens.. Can I still make these?

  39. May 11 at 08:33PM

    Really nice post, thank you! I would love to share it with my blog readers at The DIY Hacks

  40. Angelita
    December 12 at 05:48PM

    If I cover the mug with mod podge after it dries in the oven will that allow it to be dishwasher safe?

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  42. Wendy
    April 7 at 09:27PM

    Can you use oil based paints instead of markers?

  43. Anonymous
    August 7 at 12:32PM

    I need to remove baked on writing. How can I do that?

    • Ruth Soukup
      August 7 at 03:53PM

      You could try soaking the mug and then use lemon oil on the writing. 🙂

      • Anonymous
        August 10 at 02:55PM

        Thank you! I will try that.

  44. Anonymous
    November 8 at 02:06PM

    Will the design smidge prior to baking?

    • Ruth Soukup
      November 9 at 09:09PM

      The design should not smudge. 🙂

  45. November 27 at 08:00AM

    The “Like a boss” mug is really funny.

  46. Anjali
    November 30 at 07:57PM

    A number of years ago I used modge Podge on these mugs but I can’t find the instructions again… they worked really well and went clear when heated

  47. Avery
    December 3 at 02:30PM

    You can also use a dishwasher after decorating. You put it in at 350 for 30 minutes.

  48. December 7 at 05:08PM

    I recently had some children over. We used the heat press to make some Christmas mugs. Had I have known about the pen I would have used that instead.

  49. Denise
    December 11 at 05:55AM

    I get my mugs at the dollar store or at garage sales , I also use plates and do hand / foot / paw prints for people with the names /dates of the places or kids or pets and on the bottom of the item I always put the year it was made and by who .

  50. jane rabosa
    December 24 at 01:29PM

    hi, I just want to ask if i can cure it using microwave oven, we dont have an oven for baking. thanks..

    • Ruth Soukup
      December 24 at 08:07PM

      I would not recommend curing them in the microwave.

  51. Kristen
    March 7 at 11:41AM

    Do they’d have t be porcelain mugs? Have you ever tried stonewear or other materials?

  52. March 21 at 12:43AM

    Wow!! Brilliant tutorial… Wonderful sharpie mugs.

  53. Anonymous
    September 13 at 10:01AM

    What’s the difference between a normal sharpie and an oil based one?? And how do I know which is which??

  54. November 1 at 05:05AM

    Great information…and beautiful collections. Recently i purchased from …this one look so good.

  55. November 1 at 05:06AM

    Beautiful collections. Recently i purchased from …this one look so good.

  56. November 1 at 05:06AM

    Beautiful collections. last year i bought from …this one look so good.

  57. November 1 at 05:07AM

    Beautiful collections. Liked it !

  58. November 1 at 05:07AM

    Amazing..loved these mugs

  59. November 1 at 05:10AM

    Loved to get them 🙂 will highly recommend to buy this winter .

  60. November 22 at 04:06PM

    These are super cute thanks for sharing! Just an fyi that this information helped give me to the idea to develop a little toy mug drawing robot 🙂

  61. May 30 at 02:00PM

    Thank you for sharing the Do It Yourself Ideas for Mugs. This post is truly very interesting and giving us amazing ideas.

  62. Lindsay
    June 13 at 10:46AM

    Hi there! I just got a photo printed onto a plain mug. I bought an oil-based marker to write some nice things on it (I’m cutting it close for Father’s Day). Do you know if it’s safe to put the mug with the print photograph on it in the oven? Thanks!

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