Baked Sharpie Mug – How to make it work

Last year I did a post about the Pinterest Fail Baked Sharpie Mug. After many comments from you lovely readers I decided to give it another go and see if I could figure out why exactly it failed.

A lot of you mentioned that you had the same problem as I did. The sharpie looked great, but washed off with any sort of scrubbing. I did try a few of your tips such as:

  • Start by putting the mug in a cold oven and allow the heat to slowly raise to 325.
  • Turn the oven off and allow the mug to cool completely in the oven.
  • Using a different mug to see if I got different results.baked sharpie mug fail homemakerchic.com

Unfortunately none of these really helped. I know other people have said these tips worked. Maybe, I’m a doofus. I really really wanted to believe it, but for whatever reason they didn’t work for me. The one thing that sort of helped was spraying the mug with an acrylic sealing spray. It actually worked great, but sadly it caused the sharpie ink to drip and bleed and ruined my adorable design. Now my “Good Morning Lord” mug has taken up residence as a dandy little make-up brush holder in my bathroom. πŸ™‚

However, there was one tip that was the gem that turned this Pinterest fail into a WIN! (sorta)

YOU MUST USE AN OIL BASED PAINT SHARPIE.

Honestly, I could have told you that from the start. There isn’t really anything particularly impressive about using a product that is designed to draw on porcelain to draw on porcelain. Am I wrong? I mean its a great idea to make personalized pottery, but the whole reason this craft seemed so appealing was because I could do it with plain old sharpies that I had laying around the house. I was holding out hope that there was no secret and that it really could be done with standard sharpies, but alas it just won’t work (not permanently anyway). Anywho, I wouldn’t have tried making my own designs on ceramics if it weren’t for this Pin, and for that I’m thankful.

The good news is that these oil based markers are only about $3 at Michael’s and even cheaper with a 40% off coupon. So I picked up a few and tried it out.

I decided to use a school project as the guinea pig. I had an assignment to do a self-portrait, so I decided that I would draw myself in sharpie on a serving platter, and use it to bring in cupcakes for the whole class to enjoy. I even drew silly little self portraits on picks to stick in each cupcake. Cupcakes never hurt when you’re striving for an A. πŸ™‚ So here’s the finished product. I sprayed it with acrylic sealant also, just for extra protection and it turned out perfectly! 20130310-222906.jpgIt’s washable and everything (hand wash, don’t put it in the dishwasher). My mom even used it to serve Roast Beef on Christmas day. (UPDATE: We now realize that that was a bad idea since this spray is NOT food safe. I’m on the lookout for a food safe spray. I have found this non-toxic brush on sealer on Amazon, but I have not tried it so I’m not sure about the quality. Let me know if you try it!)

photo 1

Here’s to making things work!

self portrait cupcakes homemakerchic.com

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87 thoughts on “Baked Sharpie Mug – How to make it work

  1. muddledmom

    Love it. My daughter did her science fair project on whether permanent markers are really permanent. Guess what? They aren’t! Not on all surfaces anyway. She tested them on different surfaces and the marker washed right off anything glossy. Good for you for finding a fix because that’s a really neat craft for kids to do at home.

    Reply
  2. Katie

    Thanks for getting to the bottom of this!
    My motto with Pinterest has always been, “if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably is.” But I’m glad to hear that you had such success with the oil based Sharpie and that it was so inexpensive!

    Reply
  3. Erica De Leon

    Ok yes I need a solution I was going to fry on mugs for my sons 1st Bday party and did one with reg. sharpies but I am going to try tr oil based and hope that it works! Seeing ur results gives me hope that it will!!!! Ty I will let u know if I have a successful turn out πŸ™‚

    Reply
      1. Clarissa

        What brand and type of sealer are you using that is both food and dishwasher safe?? I am trying to find a good sealant to use as I am selling glassware items..

        Reply
  4. Jill

    when you used the oil-based markers, did you put the mug in the cold oven and leave it in until it was cool as well? Or just bake at 350 for 30 minutes as Pinterest says?

    Reply
  5. now at home mom

    I would love to give this a try for Valentine’s day, but I don’t have an oil based sharpie around, glad you specified which Sharpie I should use! Will get it on my next trip to Michael’s! The servant platter came out great too!

    Reply
  6. Anne W.

    Thank you so much for this post! I made some oil-based sharpie mugs last night based on your tips … I’m just wondering what acrylic sealant you used because I want to treat my mugs before I use them.

    Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      I can’t remember the exact brand I used but I believe it was a decoupage sealer. I wanna say it was Plaid brand. It was at Michael’s in the spray paint aisle. I can look and see if I still have it and I’ll let you know if I find it.

      Reply
      1. A

        Ok so I went to Michaels and they wouldnt give me the sealant because it was toxic… so my question for you is, how did you get a non-toxic sealant?

        Reply
  7. livlovenutella

    Is the sealant that you used safe for food and drink? I assume so since you said that you’ve used the platter with food, but is it on the label that it is safe? I’m making a mug for a friend using an oil-based paint pen, and I cannot find a sealant that is non-toxic for the life of me!

    Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      It doesn’t say anywhere on the can that it is food safe. I have not found anything other than polyurethane that is food safe. I just kinda decided it wasn’t that big of a deal for the twice a year that the platter is used in our home.

      Reply
      1. Jess Felt

        HOw did you keep the color from fading while being baked…my bright blue turned greenish brown after being baked 😦

        Reply
  8. Christine Lofton

    I was inspired by a similar post on Pinterest and had plates (bought atTJJ Maxx) and oil-based sharpies at our wedding reception for guests to sign. I figure I will appreciate this more often than a signed book. My plan is to hang them. Do you think I should still bake them to “set” the ink? What about spraying with the sealant? We won’t be using them, they are for decoration only….

    Reply
  9. Julie S

    Loved this idea for Christmas crafts and gave it a try with some dollar store plates and the Sharpie oil-based paint pens. They looked great before baking but the colour darkened considerably during the baking process. Red became brown etc..

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Betty

      Julie, the same thing happened to me. Every oven is different – it works for some on a high heat and others on a lower heat. I had to start from scratch with mine and put it on a lower heat. Even when cool and dry, the paint still scratched off a little. I went to Michaels and asked what seal spray would work best and they gave me a Krylon acrylic gloss spray. Unfortunately it goes on rather unevenly (small bubbles) but Im hoping it looks better when it has completely dried and that it was worth it in terms of durability. It is still drying so I am hoping for the best! Good luck to you.

      Reply
  10. Chemical Freakout

    I’m still a bit worried about bake it in the oven. Due to toxins. On sharpies Site it says it’s not recommended to be written on places where food or mouth contacts. So that when I got to think If I put it in the oven then that going into contact with food the next time I cook.

    Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      I do agree that it shouldn’t be used for something that will come in direct contact with food. However the harm in baking it would most likely be in the vapors it would realize I would think. Once the vapors have dissipated I think you’d be fine. I’d say stay out of the kitchen and keep small children away while baking.

      Reply
  11. Kristen

    I have been doing mugs lately and am finding that my colors are fading and/or changing drastically. Have you found a way to prevent that? I am struggling to keep things blue or purple, they fade to green.

    Reply
  12. Jammie Eisenchina

    You can also just purchase the DecoArt glass paint markers. They are designed for use with all ceramics and are permanent once baked and don’t require any sort of {potentially unsafe} acrylic spray coat. I make and sell mugs using the ceramic paint and all of my customers have been happy, even the ones that use them regularly. After all… what’s the point of spending the time and money in a great piece of functional art if it isn’t really functional?!

    Reply
  13. kayla

    Is this sealant food safe? I need one that is? I know you said you used it on a mug and a plate (both of which you eat off of) but I just had to check since its a gift for a friend and I don’t want to poison her. Thanks.

    Reply
  14. Pingback: Simply Stamps Top 5 Holiday Gifts On A Budget - Simply Stamps | SimplyStamps.com Blog

  15. Nisha

    When I put my mugs into the oven for 30 mins. Once I have taken them out all the colour has faded and gone grey and darker than they were before. Did this happen to you if so how do you prevent it?

    Reply
  16. Nisha

    When I take my mugs out of the oven after 30 minutes the colour of the sharpie turns into a darker colour and it goes all grey. Did this happen to you if so how did you prevent it to not happen again?

    Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      After 30 minutes I leave the mugs in the oven and allow it to cool completely. I’m not sure if that helps with color, but it seems to help with permanence. Are you sure you’re using the right markers?

      Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      The sealant that I used wasn’t a good one. It eventually chipped off after being washed over and over again (the design stayed put underneath thank goodness!), and it wasn’t food-safe. I’m looking into something better and will let you know what I find something that works!

      Reply
  17. Natalie

    Hello! I just want to ask if the acrylic sealant you used is safe for constant use? It’s because I’m planning to design my own mug and if it’s possible, paint the insides of the mug. Thanks! πŸ˜€

    Reply
  18. Jennifer

    I have had nothing but bad luck trying to do the sharpie mug. I bought the oil base sharpie, I baked it and sprayed it. The sharpie still came off. I even had the glass crack on me after I took it out of the oven after it had cooled off. Please help.

    Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      You might want to try the DecoArt Glass paint markers. Some people have had better luck with them than the Sharpie brand. Also make sure you’re using ceramic or clay mugs. They have more grit to them and the marker stays better. You probably won’t have much luck using clear glass. It is much too slick and the marker won’t stick. Hope this helps! Here is a link to the markers… http://amzn.to/1PFV2oi

      Reply
  19. Homemaker Chic Post author

    Yes I mentioned that it is not food safe. I am on the lookout for an easy to find food safe sealer. I only recommend using this for the outside of mugs, or for decorative items. Thank you. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  20. Claire

    What color do you recommend using to get a bright red after baking, as I have heard the red turns brown or deep purple?

    Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      This isn’t a perfect craft and some colors just won’t work as well as others. My recommendation would be to try using a marker designed specifically for painting on ceramic and baking. They are probably a lot more expensive. Even though the sharpies work for this purpose, they aren’t really designed for it. This is a low budget version.

      Reply
  21. Britt

    I tried the sharpie art on plates with oil based sharpies (no sealer) and everything still faded. My bright colours all look rusted. No bright greens, blues, purples and pinks… I’m so disappointed! Spent so long on them… I guess I will have to try a sealer next time…

    Reply
  22. Britt

    I just tried a similar idea on plates. Didn’t use a sealer, just the oil based markers and everything still faded! All my pretty blues, greens, purples, pinks and bronze… So disappointing… Will have to try a sealer next time for sure..

    Reply
  23. Tonya

    I got dollar stor mugs, oil based paint sharpies, stickers, did the dots, it all looked great, then when I tried to remove the stickers to bake them any dots of paint touching the stickers peeled right off of the mug and stuck to the stickers! What happened? Did anyone else have this problem? Is there a particular type of sticker I should be using?

    Reply
  24. Anj

    Hello! I attempted my first diy mugs for Christmas this year using oil based markers. The design came out great and I had them in the oven for about 6 minutes or so until I had googled fine bone china and it stated not to put them in the oven. Now I’m looking for another way to preserve the design before use, would a food safe sealant be sufficient enough? Does it need to be this type as it is on the outside of the mug? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
  25. Tristansmommy

    I want to do these as a craft for our moms group but i had a question; is it safe to use your oven for food after you’ve baked sharpie marker in it? I know there are lots of things (like those poly clays) that once you bake them in your oven, you can no longer use the oven for food. Will it be the same situation?

    Reply
    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      I’ve never heard that about poly clay. I really don’t know the answer to that. I can’t see why the ink would cause any damage to the oven. I could definitely say if you’re concerned, then let your oven air out for at least 24 hours before using it for food.

      Reply
  26. Anj

    Hello! I attempted my first diy mugs for Christmas this year using oil based markers. The design came out great and I had them in the oven for about 6 minutes or so until I had googled fine bone china and it stated not to put them in the oven. Now I’m looking for another way to preserve the design before use, would a food safe sealant be sufficient enough? Does it need to be this type as it is on the outside of the mug? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
  27. Amiee L.

    What about the Mod Podge dishwasher safe gloss? Not sure if it’s food safety, but since it’s dishwas6safe, I would think it was. Worth looking into to save your platter.

    Reply
  28. Dawn

    Any hope for mugs already drawn with regular sharpie? Daughter made it and it’s absolutely adorable, but when I used it the design started to come off just by drinking out of it.

    Reply

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