Tonawanda News

June 9, 2013

PINSPIRED: Sharpies and mugs -- don't believe what they say

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Some weeks the only good thing I think that comes from these Pinterest projects I test out for you, dear readers, is that I’ll save you all the time I managed to waste.

I’ve seen this project several different times and completed by several different DIY-crafters out there. 

The idea is that you can create personalized designs on ceramic mugs, plates or bowls using a permanent marker — they all suggest using a Sharpie. After completing your design, you then “set” the image permanently into the ceramic by baking it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

I was inspired by one blog post in particular to put my initials on a couple mugs using a stippling effect with the markers. I bought some stick-on letters sold in a package meant for kids’ science fair projects — boy I wish they had those when I was a kid.

It took several tries before I got the letters on the mugs straight. I used “DH” on one and simply “D” on another so both my roommate and I could feel comfortable using it. 

I then dot-dot-dotted all around the stickers heavily. By the way, this is not something done idly while watching a more plot-intense television show like, say, “Homeland.” A couple of my dots turned into lines, but hey, no one said I was a perfectionist.

After completing the two mugs, I popped them in the oven and let them bake as I watched the remainder of that particular “Homeland” episode (basically long enough for me to change my mind twice about whether or not I think Brody is, indeed, a terrorist). 

I set the mugs out to cool and just before bed threw one in the dishwasher and set it to run. I’d heard rumors that the Sharpie-decorated ceramics aren’t dishwasher safe and wanted to test that out for this column. 

By time I awoke in the morning, my “DH” mug was back to being just a regular ol’ white mug. Huh, I guess they really, really aren’t dishwasher safe.

I decided to try handwashing the second mug to see if it was harmful to the design. I only got one good swipe in with a rather soft dishwashing brush and already the “D” was smearing. That didn’t take much.

So lesson learned: ceramics and Sharpies do not a good match make.

Perhaps a more porous-surfaced coffee mug would have done the trick? A different sort of writing utensil?

Either way, I have two cool new white mugs — well, once I run the other one through the dishwasher — and some new colors of Sharpies to have on hand at work. The only thing I missed was some time ... and perhaps that one subtle clue that would have finally made up my mind once and for all about Brody’s true intentions.

Don’t waste your time, folks, skip this pin. You’re welcome.

Contact Sunday Lifestyle editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116 or follow her on Twitter @DanielleHaynes1. Find us on by searching “Greater Niagara Newspapers.”

• WHAT: Mugs decorated with Sharpies • DIFFICULTY: Easy • TIME: 20 minutes to decorate (or less) plus 30 minutes in the oven • RESULT: Don't pin it.