DIY Painted Mugs That Won’t Wash Away

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away |

You’ve all heard or read how to draw your own designs on a coffee cup then bake it in the oven to make it permanent. And half of you have probably tried it only to see your beautiful masterpiece wash down the drain – literally – even though you followed all the directions, used an oil-based marker, and gently hand washed the darn thing.

Well I have the secret solution just in time for the Christmas gift-making season – these magical glass markers from DecoArt!

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away |


I know they don’t look like anything different but I promise they work miracles. I bought mine at Michael’s but you can find them at most craft supply stores or online.

I won’t bore you with a “draw-n-bake” tutorial since they’re all over the internet (this is one of my favorites although I don’t know anything about the markers they use) but I do want to share some tips I discovered when working on these mugs for a client. (My first custom project! Go me!)

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away |


First things first. If you’ve been burned on a DIY marker mug before you might be a bit gun-shy to try another. I get it. I was too. I recommend doing a test draw then. Turn your mug upside-down and make a mark on the bottom. I wrote the year. Then bake it and wash it. Once you’re sure it’s really going to be permanent you can get down to serious creative business.

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away |


Before you start drawing gather up a few items from around the house. These supplies, along with some warm soapy water for drastic cases, are your “erasers”.

  • rubbing alcohol
  • cotton balls
  • cotton swabs
  • paper towels (I cut mine into little squares so they’re easier to work with.)

Let’s say you’re writing “Merry Christmas Uncle Joe” on you mug and you accidentally end up with “Uncle Joo”. No worries. Simply dip a cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol and carefully wipe away the mistake. It may smear the ink and seem a mess at first but that’s ok. Just keep dipping and wiping until your mistake and any smears or haze are gone. Let it dry, then grab your marker and try again.

You can use the cotton balls and paper towels the same way. It all depends on the size and detail of your mistake.

What if you totally screw up and think it’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen? Just go to the sink and scrub your mug with warm soapy water. Voila! You’re back at square one with a new blank slate.


So you’ve finished your masterpiece and now you’re itching to pop it in the oven and make it permanent. WAIT! The ink needs to cure for at least eight hours first. Set it aside, go to work, run your errands, drink a few pots of coffee – whatever you need to do – then come back and get your bake on.


There are a few baking rules which are all printed on the back of the marker for easy reference.
1. Don’t preheat your oven. Put your piece in first then turn on the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Set your timer for 40 minutes AFTER the oven has come to temperature, not when you put the mug in.
3. Don’t take your mug out when the timer goes off. Instead, turn off the oven and open the door. Let the mug cool as the oven cools.

Again, all this info is on the back of the pen in case you forget. So convenient.

DIY Painted Mugs That Won't Wash Away |

I hope you decide to give these markers a try. I’m so happy to finally find something that works although I will admit I haven’t tested any pieces in the dishwasher yet. I’m content to wash mine by hand just to be safe. I’m planning to try some plates next then glass canisters. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.


24 thoughts on “DIY Painted Mugs That Won’t Wash Away

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    • Hi Nicole. Any mug should work although I’ve read on other blogs/sites that cheaper, lesser quality mugs may work better. Supposedly the glaze finish on them is thinner and less protective which allows them to “absorb” the ink better? I don’t know if it’s true or not but it sounds logical. I used mugs from IKEA for this project.
      laughing abi recently posted…1950’s Tanker Desk RedesignMy Profile

  3. how did it go after you washed them? I really want to make a mug for a friend but I want to be sure the marker will stay on!

    • It’s been almost a year since I did these mugs and sadly, they have faded over time. They still look good but you can definitely see where some of the writing is wearing off.

  4. So glad I saw this post, I’m literally heading to michael’s now for paint and decided to check Pinterest for the best paint. I’ll be getting these now thanks!!

  5. Hey… I know you mentioned rubbing alcohol for cleaning up mistakes I was just wondering if rubbing alcohol will/has effected the design after the baking/cooling process…..
    I ask because I came across dishwasher safe modpodge and thought about giving that a whirl to see if I could make my design/s dishwasher safe or last longer to some extent- the caveat is that you are supposed to “clean ceramic surfaces with rubbing alcohol prior to application” ….theres no use doing that if its going to ruin the very design you are trying to hang on to.
    My designs with oil based marker + baking seem okay with a one time cleaning of alcohol… just wondering if you had tried something similar using this marker with dishwasher safe modpodge?
    Thanks for your input 🙂

    • That’s what I usually do. It makes the mugs/items more stable when putting them in/taking them out of the oven.

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