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21 Tips for DIY Sharpie Marker Mugs

DIY Sharpie Marker Mugs at Craftaholics Anonymous

Images from Savvy SugarA Beautiful MessJust Imagine, & Tuts+. Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post to help keep this blog running!

21 Tips for Sharpie Marker Mugs

One of the most popular crafting trends right now is to use a Sharpie marker to add designs to mugs. {I’m sure you’ve seen them all over Pinterest, just like we have!} There are tons of swoon-worthy sharpie mug designs and ones that replicate high-end store mugs. It is definitely a fun things to do! But there are definitely tips and tricks to make your Sharpie + mug crafting experience a success. Jouan asked:

“I painted on mugs for Christmas. I used oil based sharpies and I baked them for thirty minutes at 350 degrees like most websites say to do, but it is coming off already. Is there someway to make the paint dishwasher safe?”

Answers below taken from this thread on our Craftaholics Anonymous Facebook Page

How to DIY Sharpie Marker Mugs Successfully

1. “I have done this before too, the best result are to let the sharpie dry completely for 24 hours then bake at a low temp oven like 225 for 2 plus hours. Even then I would still hand wash, I wouldn’t use the dishwasher. Also I used regular sharpies and it doesn’t come off. Good luck!” – Ellie B.

Pebeo Porcelaine Markers
Image from Amazon

2. “I haven’t found any process with sharpies that work. But I used Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Paint Markers
and they work great and do not come off. You can find them at Michaels or Amazon.com. I have even put them in the dishwasher. Stayed on great.” – Tonya D.

3. “It didn’t work for me! I just got a paint pen. They work perfectly fine and not any more expensive than sharpies.” – Amy F.

4. “Put them in the oven THEN turn it on to 450*. After it gets to temp, set timer for 45 minutes. Turn off but leave them in the oven til completely cool.” – Danielle C.

5. “I monogrammed plates and cups with Sharpie oil based markers and did not bake. Let dry for 48 hours been in dishwasher many times and none of mine have come off at all.” – Pam F.

6. “Here is what I find that works. Cheap mugs, Walmart are best. Regular sharpies. Wipe first with alcohol to remove any residue. Careful not to touch drawing area with hands. After putting design on, wait 24 hours. Then put in cold oven. Turn temp to 425 and set timer for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes turn off oven, leaving project in until it’s completely cool. Hand wash then do a test run in the dishwasher.” – Valerie M.

savvy sugar
Image from Savvy Sugar

7. “I read an extensive article about this somewhere. First, cheap mugs work best due to the inexpensive glaze used. Put mugs in COLD oven, turn oven to 450 (not 350). The glaze needs to re-melt to incorporate the marker into it!! AFTER oven reaches temp, bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven off.. LEAVE MUGS IN CLOSED OVEN (not yelling, just important). Cool for 15 min, slightly crack oven open and let cool over night. This should properly incorporate the ink with the glaze.” – Tracy B.

8. “There are markers meant specifically for ceramics and those I’ve had the best luck with. Over a year and they aren’t chipping.” Lindsay T.

9. “This method worked for me! Essentially I took off the glaze (with etching cream, but maybe sandpaper work too?), baked on the sharpie, then re-galzed with krylon spray. has been in the dishwasher for months and no fading etc.” – Janet B.

a beautiful mess
Image from A Beautiful Mess

10. “No. The only paint that works is glass paint baked on. Been there.” – Michelle W.

11. “Probably covering with polyurethane and hand wash only!” – Judi J.

12. “I have heard washing the mugs with Windex first helps.” – Tricia M.

13. “Not true (at least in my case). I bought porcelain paint markers specifically for this. Major fail and they were not cheap whatsoever. The sharpies worked and I already had them.” – Danielle C.

… More crafter tips for DIY Sharpie Marker Mugs

14. “I only handwash mine. A few months back I got a mug for a door prize and it washed off on the second go through the dishwasher so when my kids got some for Christmas I’ve made them hand wash, no scrubbing, only and so far they’ve stayed.” – Marzolf N.

Image from Tuts+

15. “You can get enamel/glass clear medium and paint over it with that and re-bake. That may help if that doesn’t work, then probably nothing will.” Kathy M.

16. “My aunt did it one year, I think she used car paint for scratch fixes. Not sure about the baking part. They lasted for years!” – Maria D.

17. “Use the markers meant for ceramics and porcelain. The oil based sharpies last for a bit but ultimately fade too. The claims are related to hand washing and who has time for that. Glass based paint too. I have used glass paint on other things and it has never faded. But don’t use on food dishes.” – Penny F.

18. “Martha Stewart Decoupage – I did glitter mugs. The decoupage needs to cure for 28 days but after its top rack dishwasher safe. I haven’t had any problems!” – Hollias E.

19. “I did these for Christmas gifts. Mine has been through dishwasher a dozen times for sure. I used oil based sharpies. Washed mugs first, put them in cold oven and heat to 425 for 20 minutes and left them in there until they cooled down. The cheaper the mug the better as it sets better in the glaze. But I haven’t had a hitch.” – Amanda W.

Mr Right Mrs Always Right
Image from Just Imagine

20. “Clean glass with rubbing alcohol first. Oil base isn’t for glass. Use Folk Art enamels paint applying with a brush or paint pens for glass only! You still have to bake for 30 minutes but let sit for 1 hour before you bake.” – Rosalie M.

21. “Use a clear coat enamel. The paint pens tend to chip pretty quickly. I do a lot of glass work with them and have the same result.” – Jamie F.

21. “I haven’t done it, but I heard the sharpies hold up much better if you let the design set for a couple of days before baking the dishes.” – Jennifer W.

Phew! So many awesome tips and tricks and different ways to do it! Have you done Sharpie Marker Mugs? What tips/tricks would you add to this list? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

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  1. 1
    susan says:

    How timely. I just decorated a white mug yesterday and had issues. One that wasn’t covered above is that the colours changed. Like my sky blue pen turned green and red turned yellow after baking.

    So my tip would be to test your colours on the bottom of the piece, if it matters what colours things are. I.e. I really didn’t want my red heart to turn yellow.

    I am going to decorate a plate using some of the above ideas.

  2. 2
    Smasim says:

    I LOVE this post, it’s a complete guide.


  3. 3
    Kathy Brian says:

    I love this!

  4. 4
    Gen says:

    Do NOT use Porcelaine pens! My mother bought me a bunch for Christmas and they clog up super easily, I only got one use out of them (oh, and then that came off).

  5. 5
    Pat says:

    I can tell you with all certainty that the glaze of a ceramic coffee mug DOES NOT MELT at 450 degrees as mentioned above. The paints may need heat to cure, but ceramic glaze does NOTHING at 450 degrees.

  6. 6
    Samantha says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this for SO long!

    I always use Sharpie paint pens so I have tons on hand to try this out – but I wonder – is there any worry about that medium being cooked in the oven? Will bad toxins be released when that Sharpie paint is cooking and getting really hot? This is the only reason I haven’t tried this yet.

    • 6.1
      Emily says:

      I was worried about this too, but I did some research and I think the health risks are very low.

      I checked out the MSDS (material safety data sheet) on Sharpie’s website: http://msdsop.newellrubbermaid.com/downloads/SharpieOilPaintMarkers_30501.pdf
      The mug should be allowed to dry before heating. The medium (alcohol and an “oil”, propanol) is highly flammable! Think Molotov.
      The medium also evaporates very quickly in air.
      There are no listed inhalation/respiratory or biological hazards on ChemSpider, where I researched the propanol.

      The MSDS for the gold marker’s pigment (bronze powder, containing copper and tin only) is a little different, but not to worry. It implies respiratory hazards for large-particle ingestion: not a problem for a pigment dissolved in alcohol (a very effective solvent).

      The markers are also certified safe for kids at this organization: http://www.acminet.org/, although that wouldn’t cover extreme heat (my bet). If you are really worried, you could probably contact them and ask their scientific board to tell you!

      All of this leads me to believe that it’s fine for your health (and kids’, pets’, neighbors’) to make these mugs.

      Happy crafting!

  7. 7
    ShyeLynn Biddle says:

    Just a heads up, Michaels no longer carries Pebeo Porcelaine Paint Markers. I went in today and the women told me they haven’t stocked that brand in 3 years.

  8. 8
    Tawna says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I loved the compilation of tips and experiences. Really helped me–so much so that I shared it on my crafting blog: makeitscrappin.blogspot.com under my Stencil Vinyl Mug and Shirt post. Thanks again!

  9. 9
    Maria says:

    I am just getting into working with oil based sharpies for my etsy shop. when i baked plates that had red, blue and yellow on them, the colors either darkened or faded. am i doing something wrong? is there a way to fix them by drawing over them and baking them again maybe? need some help on this one.


  10. 10
    Mandi says:

    Does anyone know if this works with lipstick instead of sharpies?? I’d love to do a kiss mark with red lipstick!

  11. 11
    Gretchen says:

    I tried this at a meeting a few months ago with off brand markers – it faded significantly in the first wash. Today I tried it with a little one for mother’s day gifts. I bought the oil-based sharpie paint pens and put it in the oven, then turned in on to 425, baked for 30 minutes, and let cool in the oven – as many had suggested. I can’t yet speak to fading, but it appears to have “burnt” the design. The colors were vibrant when drawn and are now muted dull tones :(

  12. 12
    Ivie Walker says:

    Question I baked the Sharpie paints at 430 degrees Fahrenheit and my yellow turned gold and orange and red turned rust. Brown turned color of orange and red. I am very disappointed. Did I bake at to high of a temperature? Hoping to get a reply back. Everyone has been raving about Sharpie paint and markers so I decided to try it. Disappointed. I agree the Poreclaine 150 paint is much better. I used it years ago. Going back to it.

  13. 13
    Caty says:

    I just took two painted mugs out of the oven and they look OK, but the color of the Sharpie in which I wrote has completely faded. One was written in red and now it is a faded shade of orange; the other one was blue and now looks like a very sad gray…
    I don´t have time to get new mugs and do it again, because my husband´s birthday is tomorrow, so they´ll have to work for this time, but I´d love some advice for the next time I want to try it.
    Thank you!!

  14. 14
    JP says:

    I’m so glad I found this site! We (I am) are going to be decorating 125 white mugs for our September wedding. We’ll be serving ‘cake in a cup’ instead of slices of cake, then the guests can take their mugs home with them.
    Thanks for the great tips and tutorials!

  15. 15
    Heather says:

    I found that the oil based pens (Sharpie & other brands) survived fine through washing – hand & dishwasher – but smeared when touched with oil – from hands, cookies, etc. Think that’s where the alcohol rub down and then not touching it comes from.Based on my experience with 5 different plates, I would not decorate anywhere where food, liquid or other oils were going to touch (i.e. not the rim of the mug or bowl.)

  16. 16

    I have been planning to try this craft, glad for these tips, pinning!

  17. 17
    Melissa says:

    Hi everyone,

    Could you possibly tell me any stockists of the oil based sharpies in london or online? I can’t seem to find these anywhere!

    Thanks so much,

  18. 18
    Durga says:

    Hi! This project looks so fun! And this list is very helpful. I wanted to make these mugs for a few friends who are moving. But here in India, we don’t get Sharpie’s or the porcelain pens. :( Any other alternatives? We do have those glass paints. Would those work just as good as the porcelain pens?

  19. 19
    dolores dulaney says:

    I refurbished a dog picture inside of my pets water bowl but now I wonder about any toxic elements that may contaminate the water from the permanent marker pen…Would appreciate any knowledge concerning same.
    thank you

  20. 20
    Brittany says:

    I just did this, used oil-based sharpies, let it dry for 24 hours, then baked in oven for 30 minutes (letting the mug heat up and cool down with the oven), used it, washed in dishwasher last night and used it again this morning. It looks fabulous and I am so excited to do more!