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

    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

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


  3. 4

    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).

  4. 5

    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.

    1. 5.1

      I was just thinking the same exact thing! I have a BFA in ceramics, and glaze has to be waaay hotter than that to actually melt, because it’s essentially glass with additional stuff in it. if higher gear helps, it’s because of what it does to the paint/ink, not the glaze.

  5. 6

    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.

    1. 6.1

      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!

  6. 7
    ShyeLynn Biddle

    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.

    1. 7.1
      Ivie Walker

      Try Dick Blick online store they carry all colors.

  7. 8

    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!

  8. 9

    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.


  9. 10

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

    1. 10.1

      Nope. The ‘stuff’ used in lipstick to hold the color on your skin will melt and burn right off. Probably leave nothing but a coating of ash on the cup.

    2. 10.2

      If you put red sharpie on your lips and kiss the mug really quick (before it dries) it should work. Lol!

    3. 10.3

      Why not kiss it in lipstick and colour over the kiss mark in red sharpie?

      1. Hillary

        But then the sharpie wouldn’t adhere to the mug well with the lipstick underneath.

    4. 10.4

      For something like this idea, where you want your actual lip print, I’d go in a few steps…
      1. Put on a dark or bright lipstick and press a sheet of plain paper to your lips.
      2. Place another plain sheet of paper on top and trace the lines with a pencil. If you tape both sheets up to a window or use a light table, or even your computer monitor, it will be easier to see the details of your lip print.
      3. Trace around the outline to build up the graphite. You will use this as a transfer on your mug.
      4. Tape your traced picture pencil side -down- onto the mug.
      5. Making sure not to shift the transfer, push the pencil hard and shade in the back of your design. The pressure will leave a reverse image of the outline on the mug. It’s very delicate, so be careful not to smudge before you’ve coloured in the design.
      6. Colour in your lip print with your marker of choice & bake!

    5. 10.5

      i’m sure that you could kiss a mug and then go over it with red sharpie.

  10. 11

    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 :(

  11. 12
    Ivie Walker

    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.

  12. 13

    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!!

  13. 14

    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!

    1. 14.1

      What a fun idea! Love the cake in a mug idea for a wedding and a party favor! Clever! I’d love to see pics, if you get a chance. Happy wedding planning!

  14. 15

    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.)

  15. 17

    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,

  16. 18

    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?

  17. 19
    dolores dulaney

    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

  18. 20

    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!

  19. 21

    Hi, I have just started experimenting using permanent sharpie pens on china. They don’t say ‘oil based’ on them at all have a lot of you are referring to. Mine say quick drying water resistant think.
    Are these the ones that everybody is using ?
    Also I have experimented with black ones and coloured ones the black seem to hold their colour a lot better than the coloured ones after I wash them.
    Any tips on using the coloured ones and does anybody know if they have different ingredients?

  20. 22

    Hmmm! I have just read on the Sharpie website under q and A that whilst the are aP registered non toxic, they don’t recommend them being used where they could touch lips or foodstuffs.
    That’s a shame as I had just experimented and done some lovely tea plates with cakes drawn on them, and some pasta bowls with recipes written on them!!

  21. 23

    All these people are saying opposite things ! I feel more confused than ever! Will just have to see how mine hold up I guess. I used oil-based Sharpie (2 coats), I baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (let it warm and cool with oven) now I’m doing a second baking for about 30 minutes (I was doing it at 350 but judging from comments above I turned it up to 425 for the last 20) then after it cools for about 24 hours I’m gonna do 2 coats of Krylon Crystal Clear Sealing Spray which is moisture-resistant.

    Sadly my beautiful red/pink sharpie has turned a dark purple in the oven :(. All the photos posted on pinterest are pre-oven and most do not mention that. Kinda disappointed…

  22. 24

    does not work–a lot of time wasted

  23. 25

    Doing this project now. Work just put in a Keurig Coffee Pot, and I needed “my own coffee cup.” I put my first and last name on it, lol. This is what I’m doing, and hope it works. I took one of my clean mugs. Don’t know the brand. Its purple, that’s why I chose it over the others. I wiped it down with alcohol. Put my name on it with black sharpie. Its now in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. I will then open the oven door, let it cool down in the oven, and probably go to bed, lol. I’ll look at it in the morning.

    Thanks for the page! Was perfect for what I was looking for! I will try to remember to update how it went.

      1. Ashlee

        So, I drank my first cup of coffee out of it a couple days ago. The sharpie stayed on great, maybe a little faded, but not bad. I just used black. Works perfectly for what I wanted! To not have my coffee cup stolen at work! No one wants one with my name on it, lol.

        Thanks again!

  24. 26
    Julie Holm

    Great site for beginners !! I do Mosaics, and occasionally need to add a bit to an animal’s face or some
    other situation. I would like to know if anyone has used the metallic pens, and what you think about
    these for touch up work. I have been reading all the reviews I can find about the different brands–it is
    hard to choose among all of them.
    Thanks for any information !!

  25. 27

    I have heard so many mixed opinions on what to do with this that I decided to go straight to an “expert.” I went to my local Pat Catan’s and asked what temperature and how long and so on and so forth and I was advised, as many before me have said, to put the mug in and let it heat up and cool down with the oven so that it isn’t shocked to the point it breaks. I was told that 350 for 30-35 minutes works. I have yet to try it but I just thought I’d share what I was told.

  26. 28

    Ok to use regular sharpies?

  27. 29

    Well ive tried twice now with the normal sharpies and im so dissapointed! Do i need a certain type of mug or a spray varnish? Help! I need them in 5days and am limited money wise after spending £12 on a packet of regular sharpies

  28. 30

    Can I use normal oil based paint not the sharpie markers?

  29. 31

    I have a question… Every time I use the color red and after I apply the spray glaze it gets this halo around it. I also should note that I can’t find the paint sharpies, so I am just using acrylic paint. Is that my problem?

  30. 32

    Is there any other way rather than baking it in oven?
    I just read the tips above. And some of it says just leave it
    For 2 days.. And it will be good. Is it true? ( pls reply) :)

    1. 32.1

      You need to heat set the oil Sharpie. If you have a way to heat them up to that temperature another way, then you could try it, but an oven is the easiest way. And yes, to completely cure, you need to wait 2 days before using.

  31. 33

    My granddaughter did this with the oil-based Sharpies and mugs that we bought at Target. They looked great until they were baked. The cups took on an aged-like tan color. She is heartsick – sixteen-year-olds don’t always take failure well……

    1. 33.1

      Agree. I also bought white target mugs and used oil based sharpie pens. I cleaned them with windex, decorated, let them cure for a week before putting them in a cold oven and setting to 450 for 30 mins. Half way through the process my vibrant colors turned to dark and earthy (brown, plum, dark green and rust orange). My mug also looked slightly tinged. Not sure where I went wrong. Let them cure for too long before baking? Baked at too high a temperature? Or maybe Target Threshold mugs aren’t the ideal brand to use for this project. Any-who, this is a Christmas gift to family members that my two year old daughter decorated and I’m sure they will love them since they were made with love. A cute DIY gift idea, just beware that colors may not turn out the way you think!

  32. 34

    I used oil based sharpies to decorate our mugs we are making as gifts. I like how easy it is to wipe/repaint. Made a test set, put in the oven to 350 for an hour, and had no changes in color. I am not sure why I baked as glaze will not melt at any temp my oven can do, but “setting” the paint seems important. The paint was harder for sure, but could still be chipped by something like a metal spoon. So I bought Krylon Acrylic Coating 1303A to seal the paint. Total fail, the sealer beaded and managed to cause the dried and baked blue oil paint to bleed in the process. I tried to seal another test plate with grout/tile sealer, we’ll see how that goes. I did purchase nice german made cups, not walmart china made so I am sure the glaze is superior, so maybe this is why the spray beaded? Any suggestions on what sealer you have used and has worked?

  33. 35

    I love this! Thank you! I am going to do two mugs as a gift and I want to insure that the Sharpie stays on. Again, thank you!!!

  34. 36

    WOW! This conversation is really confusing! Maybe I could just get the experts opinion of how to diy.

  35. 37

    This is awesome. I wanted to try sharpie mugs for christmas this year since I didn’t have much of a budget.

    Sounds like the best way is to buy cheap mugs, use ceramic pens or regular sharpies, then let it set for 48 hours, put it in the cold oven, set it at about 250 or 300, let it bake for 2 hours, then let cool in the oven. Then cover it with a new layer of glaze and bake that as directed. if you follow this it will last forever.

    1. 37.1

      Thank you, yapity! Just about tearing out my hair trying to summarize all the posts for a great test group of mugs. ♡

  36. 38

    Awesome tips. Are these microwave safe too after baking design in? Even if it’s silver or gold color?

  37. 39
    Wendy Morling

    I have just baked a porcelain cup with Sharp permanant markers decorating it for 450 degrees for 40 minutes and ALL THE COLOURS CHANGED so it does not look at all like I wanted it to look. So now will try not baking the remaining 2 mugs at all.

    Any other suggestions?

    1. 39.1

      The colours wont turn out well.test on a cup wut colours the original sharpie coloured changes to and use the outcome to determine the colours

  38. 40

    Just a question? Could I do this with the oil based sharpie markers, then spray a clear acrylic over top without baking them? I would think that would make them last a while because of the acrylic overlay.

    1. 40.1

      That would probably work if the acrylic sealer was rated to be used with food, and I don’t think it is. It would definitely be something to look into.

  39. 41

    Sharpies do not work. Even baked they will wash off. The word permanent is an industry word for “colour fastness” not how long it lasts on an item. Also non toxic DOES NOT mean food safe ! ! Non toxic only means if you or your child get a bit on your finger and happen to put same finger in your mouth you won’t die. But eating it is another matter. You can not put any brand of paint or paint pen where it comes in contact with food or your lip. All manufacturer websites will tell you the same warning, if you take the time to do research. .”not food safe”! Constant contact with water will breakdown the paint, utensils will scrape off the paint, dishwashers will ruin painted mugs Or plates, they must be hand washed

    Like mentioned in previous posts, oil based sharpies change colour when baked, red turns orange, green looks brown, yellow,white look burnt, black is really the only colour that retains its pigment when baked. Craft smart paint pens with stand colours when baked a bit better but green, blue and light colours like white or yellow still look burnt. No paint or paint pen is permanent on an item, they will all fade/wear off. I have bought and rigorously tested by hand washing every paint and paint pen out on the market to date..Maybe one day they will make a paint pen worth spending money on that will last and be colour true and food safe until then it’s a waste of money

  40. 42

    I used the oil based sharpies but the colors darkened when put them in the oven. I baked at 400 for 50 minutes. Maybe that was too long or too hot? I was following the advice from a website. Also can you recolour and bake them after you’ve baked them once

  41. 43

    I have terrible handwritting, is there an fix or technique anyone could recommend? I did a mug for myself and used scrapbooking stickers, this was a pain and still didn’t turn out the exact way I wanted it to….

  42. 44
    haley a

    Thank god for this post! I am making my boyfriend matching mugs for valentines day and his birthday (2 weeks later). I used plain markers, cheap mugs bought at target ($2 each, from the same line that does college dorm utensils) and baked at 425 for about 30 minutes. Then i cracked the door to let cool for 15. I couldn’t leave it overnight because I’m using my dorm buildings community room, and they will be stolen. I haven’t washed them yet but so far the sharpie only had slight fading in one spot. Hopefully after more than a month it will remain the same

  43. 45

    So…. basically do…. SOMETHING. And it might work…. or not.

    Welp, I’m off to Michael’s! Wish me luck!!

  44. 46
    Akila Jayakumar


  45. 48

    I have seen some Pinterest sites showing pics of plates that have been drawn on and baked. Is it safe to eat off those? What about the ones showing a pie plate – can you really bake in them after you’ve added the painting? I would be worried it might all come off in the food at some point.

  46. 49

    helppppp do I use the normal oven or microwave oven and 450° is it in farenhight cos I don’t know if my oven can reach such a high temperature HELPPP I need it by tommorow and I’m totally lost:(

    1. 49.1

      Conventional oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

  47. 50

    Very creative and nice designs displayed in this article. I got inspired by reading such articles to try out drawing my own diy ceramic mug using Sharpie pens and it worked perfectly!