{DIY Decor / Gift} Watercolour Mugs

7:00 am

I often get asked on my Sharpie Mug Video what alternatives there are available for decorating mugs. Some viewers aren't able to purchase oil based sharpies where they live, others don't have an oven to bake their designs into the glaze and I get it, you want alternatives. Why wouldn't you - they make fab gifts!

My answer is always to try porcelain or ceramic paints. In this case for today's tutorial, I'll be using Porcelain paint. These are a easy, quick option as they require NO bake time (or the brand I used anyway. Be sure to read the packaging before purchase), just air dry time for 3 days before they are dishwasher safe - simple. Simple yet, FUN!

What you will need:

Mugs (Mine are from a dollar store. Cheap and easy)
Porcelain Paint (Remember you can mix colours to create alternative shades!)
Painters Tape (optional depending on your design)
White Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol


  • First things first, remove the majority of any stickers or price tags that may be on the cup. Any remaining residue will come off in the next step
  • You're going to want to give any new mugs are really good wash in some hot soapy water
  • Following a good scrub, rinse them off and allow them to drip dry to prevent any fluffs from your tea towel sticking to the surface you are wanting to paint
  • Once dry, because I was wanting to paint right up to the lip of the mug, I've used painters tape around the inside rim of the mug
  • If you're making a similar design to me or you're mucking around with stencils etc, wait till all this work is done and do one final wipe down with either rubbing alcohol or I've even used a little White Vinegar on a cotton ball. This helps remove any grease left over from our handling
  • Then, you're ready to start mixing colours to get painting! and remember, different shades can be mixed to create to new colours. Red and white to create pink. Red and yellow to create orange etc...
  • To create the whole watercolour effect, obviously, each colour is watered down
  • You want to water these down enough that the colour runs off the brush when held upside down but strong enough that the colour pay off is still bold
  • When ready, simple place your paintbrush onto the surface of the mug and allow the colour to drip down the sides. You can even persuade the drip by rolling your mug in different directions to ensure an even coverage
  • Work you way around the mug and once happy with your design, simple place  them somewhere dust free to dry, in the direction of the drips. Read the instructions on the bottom to see just how long you need to wait until your designs are dishwasher safe
  • Carefully remove the tape and while the paint is still wet, use another cotton ball with a bit of your vinegar or rubbing alcohol to remove any excess paint from around the rim or bottom of the mug. This is why its a good plan to leave the mug handles unpainted so you can handle them a little after painting if need be
  • After around 30 minutes, they will be dust dry so should you wish to add more colour or layer your designs, this is the time to do so
I loooove how mine turned out. I tried a different design with each and every cup so the they are tied together by colour but individual and unique in their way.

Some porcelain paints may require baking. Usually, just like the Sharpie Mugs, this requires placing in a cold oven and bringing up to 180c, baking for around 30 minutes and turning the oven off. Allow the mug to cool in the oven. 

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