How to Personalize Your Mugs With Markers

February 8, 2019
Monotone mugs are easy to find at low prices, but they don't have to stay that one, lifeless color. Give them a special touch with markers!

Personalizing your mugs with ceramic markers is much easier than you might think. You don’t have to be a professional designer or have perfect fine motor skills. All you need is a simple design with simple lines.

This activity is perfect if you love DIY projects. You’ll get loads of satisfaction out of it too, because using markers will give you some cute, personalized mugs you get to keep around the house.

We suggest using markers that aren’t too fine- or wide-tipped. It’s hard to draw a straight line with either of those types. You should also keep some cardboard or paper on hand to try your marker out before you start working on the mug.

Below, we’re going to explain how exactly to go about this and give you some design ideas (what’s easy to draw, etc). Today we’re only focusing on using markers to personalize your mugs, but you can also do it with plates and bowls. 

How to personalize your mugs with markers

mugs with a black marker design on the handle

Choose the rig mug

The first step is obviously going to be picking out a mug. Most people do this with plain white mugs, but you could also pick out a mug with one or more colors as long as it doesn’t have images or words on it.

Personalizing is really pretty easy as long the surface is smooth and completely flat and free of bumps.

The benefit of choosing plain white mugs is that you’ll have a bit more freedom when it comes to your drawings and color choices. If you want, though, you can also pick out mugs that already have a simple design and add things to your liking.

For example, if a mug has an outline of a cat sitting down, you could draw in a starry background, and even part of the roof it’s sitting on if you have space. Or you could just add a word or sentence in a metallic color.

Choose a drawing or design

Once you’ve picked out your mugs, the next step is to think about how you want to personalize them. Lots of people choose to put inspiring quotes on theirs. If you like calligraphy, this is a perfect option for you.

You could also combine quotes with simple drawings like a sun, moon, cloud, tree, heart, etc…

mugs with a panda drawn on by marker

If you’re going to personalize the mugs for someone else, you could write different parts of a quote on each of them. So, when they’re all next to each other, the sentence comes together beautifully.

A similar option would be to do a series of drawings, like a vignette, where each mug is one part of a larger scene. This is a super cute and original option.

Instead of drawing right on the mug, we suggest you start by practicing on a piece of paper. That way, you can see if you really like the idea or not. If it seems like it might be too hard, you could try to make a stencil to make it easier for yourself. 

The steps to personalizing yours mugs with markers

  • Wash the mug well to get off any dust or grease. If it’s new or already clean, you can wipe it down with a rag soaked in rubbing alcohol.
  • Dry off the mug.
  • Place the mug sideways on a flat surface, hold it steady, and make your design. But remember not to draw on any parts that might be in direct contact with food or drinks, like the inside and the lip.
  • If you make a mistake, you can try to fix it with a cotton swab.

Final touches

  • Once your design is finished, you need to let it dry for 24 hours.
  • The next day, put the mug in the oven at 140ºF for 40 minutes. That will help set the ink and make it water resistant.
  • After 40 minutes, you need to let the mug cool off completely before you do anything with it.
  • If you want, you can add more drawings, but you’ll have to repeat this whole process.
mug with flowers and words on it

A great gift option

Personalized mugs are more than just a way to add some cute, beautiful mugs to your cupboard. You can also use them as a gift for special occasions.

There are also people who decorate all their monotone kitchenware with markers. You don’t have to do the same drawing, but there does need to be a common theme. For example, some people write the French expression, Bon Appetit in pretty golden lettering on their plates.

You could even buy one online that has a nice design already, and add the person’s name to it yourself. The options are endless!