DIY: Hand Painted Mug

I’ve been wanting to try porcelain paint for a while, and it’s just as amazing as I anticipated. You have to give it a try. The holidays are coming up, and hand painted coffee/cocoa mugs would make great gifts!

DIY coffee mug

porcelain mug (mine is from CB2)
Pebeo Porcelaine 150 outliner (available at Amazon) There are transparent porcelain paints that you apply with a brush and outliners which are thicker and opaque. If you want to achieve the ink-like look that I did, go with an outliner.

How to:
1. Make sure your mug is clean and dry.
2. Paint! I tried using a tiny brush, but it didn’t work very well. I found that squeezing the paint straight out of the tube and onto the porcelain worked best. It looks a little gloopy in places, but I really like the overall effect. If you mess up just wipe the paint away with a wet paper towel. Some porcelain paints are not recommended for surfaces that come in contact with food. So just to be safe, don’t paint the inside of your mug! 
3. Once you’ve finished your masterpiece let the paint dry for 24 hours. Then, bake your mug according to the paint package instructions. After baking turn off the oven and leave the mug inside until it has gradually cooled to room temperature. After you bake it the paint is dishwasher safe.

DIY coffee mug


  1. Shawn

    Wow, that looks great and seems like a fun easy project to do. Thanks once again for an inspiring project that I can try.

  2. Ria

    I have decorated several mugs with the Porcelain pens, but you should have indicated the warning on the product : These markers are not recommended for use on surfaces that come in contact with food.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Oh thanks Ria, I didn’t see that warning on my paint packaging, but I will add a note above.

  3. Melissa

    awesome!! Gotta remember also to use an oven safe mug.
    And- in regards to the comment above- if it can’t come in contact with food, maybe its not best to put your lips on it? Or is this maybe a different product than the “pens” she used?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      The paint I used (linked above) said it was nontoxic. I really don’t think putting your lips on after it has been fired would be a problem. I just wouldn’t paint the inside of the mug to be safe. It seems to me that a warning like Ria’s would refer to using the paint on a dinner plate or something similar. In that case as you eat and scrape silverware across the dish, it would be possible to ingest paint if it chipped off.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Yes, you use your regular oven. It may vary depending on what brand of paint you get, but mine said 300 F.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Awesome! It seems to have gone viral. If only I could come up with enough projects like this to post one everyday!

  4. Jane

    Question: For people that want to attempt this but are not the greatest freehand painters, is there a way to pencil in a drawing first and then go over it with paint? You think it can work?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Maybe you could try drawing your pattern on with a dry erase marker first?

  5. Grace

    I’ve been looking for the right DIY gift for my boyfriend’s mothers birthday. This is perfect! She’s a big coffee drinker and loves handmade stuff. Thank you! One question, how do you know if the coffee mug is safe to go in the oven?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I didn’t know if my mug was oven safe, I just tried it! If you let the mug cool to room temperature in the oven after baking that should help prevent heat damage.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I’d guess around 5 mugs or so. I didn’t use much of the tube, so maybe even more!

  6. Lucent Imagery

    OH this is just beautiful and I adore the photos. I don’t think my hands are steady enough to do this, so I will admire from afar! If I didn’t have my adorable grandfather’s shakes for up close work, I would definitely do this for christmas gifts.

  7. Angie

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s been years since I used porcelain paints(by Pebeo), and they work great!
    They are dishwasher safe, but I think it shortens the life of the painting. I have a coffee mug I painted 5 yrs ago, it went in the dishwasher occasionally and the paint has started to chip off.

  8. Lynne

    I have used this paint on flat white ceramic tiles bought at Home Depot. What I did was to put the paint on and then spray it with a fine spray of water (you can buy little fine sprayers at craft store). It made the colors run together in a really pretty way and after drying, I baked it and now I have these tiles as ‘hot plates’ for my coffee pot when I take it off the coffee maker heating element. You could also use these decorated tiles in lots of other ways!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

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  9. Lisa

    I want to try this for a Christmas gifts of my staff. I was thinking of purchasing some of the mugs from the Dollar Tree and then decorating myself. These would not come with instructions as to baking. Are you refering to instructions on the pen? Would you happen to know the specific temperature and time that I should bake the mugs for in this case?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      The baking instructions are specific to the porcelain paint, not the mug you paint on. Baking instructions will be on the paint packaging.

  10. Melis

    For non-freehand painters: CARBON PAPER! I printed off designs/patterns that I liked and traced over them with a pen, placing carbon paper in between the design and the dish. After tracing over the design, the carbon paper left a “copy” for me to then paint over! After baking, the carbon washes off fairly easily!

  11. Yvonne

    I used this technique years ago on mugs I purchased at Walmart, to this date (12 years ago), I have used the mugs, microwaved them, dishwasher them and the paint is still intact… I did it freehand and I also used stamps. Need to try this with a more contemporary design!

  12. Samantha

    Fantastic idea! I will definitely be making my parents some gorgeous mugs very soon! :) One question to anyone who may happen to know. I saw that you can get the Pebeo Paint at Michael’s. Could anyone tell me how much please? I called but the woman wasn’t sure & I wanted to be sure before I made the 30 mile journey. :) Thank you!!

  13. Michelle H

    Beautiful mug! I love Pebeo paints. I had the same concerns as some of your other commenters for a project I was working on and so I emailed Dick Blick about their recommendations for use on mugs and this is the response I got:

    “This medium is for decoration purposes and we suggest keeping the paint application below the lip line on mugs. We do not recommend drinking from a mug that would have this area painted. This is a general rule applicable to the majority of media applied due to the risk of contamination and reactions between liquids (hot or not) and the application.”

    Based on that response I would be hesitant to drink out of a mug that was painted right to the lip. Perhaps there is a way to modify your beautiful design to end just short of the lip? Maybe create a band in the middle of the pattern with white space on the top and bottom? Anyways, your mug is beautiful!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks for looking into that Michelle! I’m going to keep drinking out of my mug, but it’s good to know Dick Blick’s official recommendation. :)

  14. Hannah

    I have a confession to make. I totally did this last year using this same design and it looks pretty similar to this mug (I did add some color to it though) !! I wish I could post a picture so you can see it… it got a lot of compliments. Thanks for lending me your creativity when I was completely lacking it. :)

    oh, and I did mine at a paint-it-yourself studio. painting all those lines was a lot of work…

  15. vd'o

    Hello, I found your Blog in Pinterest and I am very happy for this ;D
    The photos are excellent and the ideas more. Very well explained everything.
    Your blog has turned into one of my favorite ones. Thank you

  16. kate

    okay…I LOVE these and just got all the goodies to make a few…but mine turned out awful!!! How did you steady your hands!? The slick rounded surface of the mug made the paint all squirrley and mine looks like 2yr old arts and crafts time while yours is so steady and even!! Need tips/tricks!!!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Hmm… I think just rested my elbow on the table to help steady my hand. It does take a little practice to perfect your stroke, since it’s weird to paint on such a slick surface. After practicing on my mug for a bit until I felt like I had the hang of it, I rinsed the practice paint off and then did my final herringbone pattern.

  17. Rebecca

    hey, I really love your mugs and am thinking about making them for Christmas presents! So, I am wondering how much paint it took you to make one mug? Like how many mugs you could make with each tube of paint? Thank you for your wonderful idea!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I’m not sure exactly. My one mug didn’t even use half the tube. I’d guess you could do at least 5 with each tube? It’s hard to say for sure.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Yes. I purchased it from Dick Blick (link above in the post) for less than $10.

  18. Tammy

    I tried the sharpie on a mug and the only part that lasted was what was drawn on thick. The thinner lines washed off even after baking

  19. Carina

    I just love your mug! I have just bought supplies to try myself, – i hope i have a steady hand like yours…. Thanks for sharing your idear! And merry christmas.

  20. Chelsea

    I am thinking of doing this project myself, I LOVE these. I’ve had them on my favorites bar for a while. How is the cup holding up for you since you made it? Is the pattern still there, any fading, etc?

  21. Steve

    I’m interested in doing this but I’m wondering about “baking”? Did you just bake it in the oven or do you need a kiln?


  22. Lara

    hi! This idea is so great and fun to do.i was just wondering if i can use oven toaster or microwave oven? If yes, how long will i cook or heat it? Thanks

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I’m afraid I’m not familiar with either of those products, so I’m not sure if they would work or not.

  23. Jessica

    Hi! I loved your mug so much I tried it and it came out great! I got the mug at Dollar Tree so it was inexpensive. My friends all want to buy these from me so I supposed I would ask if it would be okay if I sold a version of your beautiful mugs in my Etsy store? Thanks!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Sure Jessica! As long as you use your own design rather than my pattern you are welcome to sell them in your Etsy shop. :)

  24. Erin

    Hey! It the mug already glossed? And the paint stays on after baking? I’m thinking about doing this for a birthday present. Just need to know if I get a mug already glossy or not. Thanks! Email me the answer too please!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It’s just a plain standard porcelain mug, so it will have a shiny finish when you begin.

  25. Diane

    Hey, I noticed it’s been awhile since you posted this. Have you been using and washing the mug? If so, how is it holding up? does it still look the same way, or has any of the design come off?

    would really like to know!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      After three years the paint is still perfect and un-chipped. I always put it through the dishwasher too!

  26. Delialah Burns

    Can I use this to decorate instead of the paint?

    Pebeo Porcelain Anthracite Black 150 China Paint Fine Tip Marker Metal Glass

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