How to Create a Custom Mug on a Budget

A customized mug is the perfect gift for a loved one! Write your favorite saying, apply a sweet picture, or simply decorate it to their style. This gift is also affordable! The average mug at Goodwill is less than $2 and is always in stock. 

To create a custom mug, you’ll need a few supplies.

  • A white or light-colored mug
  • A Sharpie (oil based) in your color of choice 

Optional: A stencil or printed saying to transfer to the mug

Once you have your supplies gathered, it’s time to get started.

Step 1: Create Your Design

If you’re going to freehand your design, this step is easy. Just begin drawing or writing and skip to step 3!

For those wanting to use a template for their design, it adds in just a bit more complexity.

See step 2 for using a template as a stencil.

Step 2: Use a Stencil to Create a Design

First, you’ll want to find the design that you like that can fit on a coffee mug. From there, print off the template and shrink it down so it can fit on a mug. After that, use a pencil to color all over the back of the stencil (not the side with words on it). The next step is to line up the template in the middle of your mug and tape it down. Be sure not to put it up too high where someone’s mouth may go. Next, color hard over the word using a pencil – the goal here is to have the lead rub off on the backside against the mug. When you’re done, gently remove the stencil and trace over the letters with your Sharpie.

Step 3: Let the Mug Sit for 72 Hours

Letting the mug with the marker on it sit and dry for 72 hours is crucial! It can be easy to get impatient about waiting three whole days, but it does make a difference in how long the design will last on your mug.

Step 4: Put the Mug in the Oven

Place the mug in a cold oven and let the temperature rise to 400 degrees. Bake the mug for an hour. After an hour, turn the oven off and let the mug come back to room temperature over the next few hours. This method keeps the mug and design from cracking!

Step 5: Enjoy Your Mug

Once your mug is removed from the oven and is cooled, it’s ready to use! After using it, hand wash this dish. Do not put it through the dishwasher or scrub too hard on the area with the design.

Post your creations to Instagram and Facebook and tag Goodwill of Central Iowa so we can see your DIY thrift finds!

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