How To Paint On Ceramic Mugs?

Painting is fun! It is a way to stay happy and create new things. And if you have ceramic mugs and you like painting, there is no need to explain how joyous it can be. It will be a fun thing to do if you know how to paint on ceramic mugs.

You can paint ceramic mugs using acrylic paints, paint pens, and nail polish. Drawing with acrylic paint or paint pens requires baking the mug in the oven. On the other hand, painting with nail polish does not need baking.

How To Paint On Ceramic Mugs?

Each painting method for ceramic mugs brings a different outcome. They are simple, interesting, and easier than you think. Today I will discuss a few such painting procedures and things you will need for the task.

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How To Paint On Ceramic Mugs?

Painting on ceramic mugs makes it livelier. It works as a creative and aesthetic decoration. It does not matter whether you paint flowers, birds, animals, or abstract patterns. As long as you like it, you have done it right.

You can paint your ceramic mugs in various ways. However, three common methods are: using acrylic paint, paint pens, and nail polish. So let’s check out how you can paint using these.

Method 1: Painting With Acrylic Paints

Painting Ceramic Mugs With Acrylic Paints

You will find acrylic paints anywhere. They are also inexpensive. As acrylic paints are water-based, they are suitable for painting any ceramic product.

Things You Will Need

  • Newspaper
  • Ceramic mug
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paint pallet/paper plate
  • Paper towel/soft cloth
  • Water
  • Oven

Step 1: Prepare The Workplace

Choose your working area and cover it with a newspaper. It is safer to use two or three layers of newspaper so that the paint does not touch any unwanted areas. And if the newspaper does not stay in place or keeps sliding, tape them down.

Step 2: Pour Paint On Plate

Pour about a grape size of paint on your paint pallet. Make sure to keep at least an inch gap between each color so that they wouldn’t mix.

If you need to mix multiple colors, use a separate brush to do that. If you do not have a paint pallet, you can use a paper plate and pour the paint dollops around the edges. Make sure you don’t pour a lot of paint at once.

Step 3: Draw Outlines

The paint glides easily on ceramics. So it is best to use a pencil to draw the outlines on your ceramic mug.

You can use painter’s tapes to create straight lines. And if any mistake happens, you can easily remove it with an eraser.

Pro Tip: Keep the design off the mug lip area.

Step 4: Paint The First Layer

First, dip the paintbrush in clean water. Then use a soft cloth or paper towel to try it. Then you can dip the brush in the paint color of your choice and draw on your ceramic mug.

As I have mentioned in the previous step, avoid painting the mug’s lip area. You can use thick or foam paint brushes to draw on larger areas and thin brushes for smaller areas or for drawing details.

Step 5: Add More Layers

After you have done the first layer of paint, wait for it to dry completely. Then add more layers of paints until you get your expected look. You can paint with clear acrylic paint using a foam brush to give the design a glossy finish.

Step 6: Dry The Mug

Place a piece of newspaper on a flat surface and keep the mug on it for 24 hours. Do not touch the mug when you are drying it like this. It will damage the design.

Step 7: Cleaning Up The Design

If you notice any smudged area, you can clean it up. Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and dab on the area. Do it until the paint vanishes.

But be careful when you are cleaning up like this. One accidental move can remove paint from other areas.

Step 8: Time To Bake!

Turn your oven temperature to 350-degree Fahrenheit. Then spread a baking sheet in the oven and place your ceramic mug on it.

Bake the mug for around 30-35 minutes. Once the time is up, carefully take out the mug and let it cool down.

Sometimes, paints contain instructions regarding baking. Make sure to check it out first in case there is any specific instruction.

Step 9: Wash The Mug

Finally, wash the mug with dish soap and water. Avoid using the dishwasher to wash it, as it can ruin the design. Clean the mug, and it will be ready to use.

Method 2: Painting With Paint Pens

Another way to paint ceramic mugs is using paint pens. It is pretty much similar to painting with acrylic paints. And paint pens are also available in stores.

Things You Will Need

  • Newspaper
  • Ceramic mug
  • Paint pens
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paper towel
  • Oven
  • Rubbing alcohol
Painting Ceramic Mugs With Paint Pens

Step 1: Prepare Your Workplace

This step is similar to the one in acrylic painting. Choose your working area and spread newspapers on it.

It is the best way to ensure the paint does not touch anywhere you don’t want it to. You can tape the newspaper down if it slides.

Step 2: Draw The Outline

Use the pencil to draw the outline for the design. It will ensure the painted design looks cleaner and flawless.

Avoid drawing on the mug’s lip area. If there is any mistake while drawing, use an eraser to erase it. You can use painter’s tapes if you need to draw straight lines.

Step 3: Time To Paint The First Layer

Use oil-based paint pens to paint on the ceramic mug. Paint the first layer on the outline you have created with a pencil. Whatever you do, do not use an eraser on the paint. It will only make a mess.

Pro Tip: Do not use a Sharpie to paint the mug because it will fade quickly.

Step 4: Add More Layers

Wait for the first paint layer to dry before you continue to add more layers. Doing that will help you get a better and colorful design. Avoid mixing color with this one as it will not turn out well.

Step 5: Make Corrections

After you have done the layers, inspect the design and see if any area needs correction. If there are any mistakes or smudges, you need to remove them.

Soak a Q-tip with rubbing alcohol and dab on the areas where you want to remove the paint. Make sure the soaked Q-tip does not remove paint from other areas.

Step 6: Dry The Mug

The next step is to air dry the mug. Place it on a newspaper on a flat surface and let it dry for 24 hours. Do not touch the mug or the paint when it dries.

Step 7: Bake The Mug

Now it’s time to bake your painted ceramic mug. Turn the oven temperature to 375-degree Fahrenheit. Place a baking sheet in it and place your painted mug on it.

Bake the mug like that for around 25 minutes. After that, turn off the oven but do not take the mug out of it. Keep it inside for two hours. Then take the mug out of the oven and let it cool down.

Step 8: Wash The Mug

You need to hand-wash it with dish soap and warm water. Using a dishwasher can damage the paint.

Method 3: Painting With Nail Polish

I think painting ceramic mugs with nail polish is the simplest method of all. I’m pretty sure you already have everything you need at home to paint the ceramic mug.

Things You Will Need

  • Newspaper
  • Ceramic mug
  • Nail polish
  • Small bowl
  • Toothpicks
  • Warm water

Step 1: Prepare Your Workplace

By now, you already know what to do here. Yes, prepare the workplace with newspapers. Though this method rarely makes any mess. But it is better to be safe.

Spread a few newspapers in the working area of your choice. You can add layers if necessary and tape them down to prevent the papers from sliding off.

Step 2: Prepare The Bowl

Now choose any bowl or Tupperware container. It should be big enough to plunge your ceramic mug.

Fill the container with warm water. Do not fill the entire container. Otherwise, the water will splash all over once you submerge your mug. Leave the bowl or container at least 3 inches empty.

Pro Tip: Nail paint tends to leave a residue. So use a bowl or container that you do not intend to use afterward.

Step 3: Pour Nail Polish

Pour a few drops of nail paint into the warm water. If you want to add more color, mix multiple nail paints. Be a little quick here so that the nail polish will not start drying in the water.

Step 4: Swirl The Nail Paint

Now use a toothpick to swirl the water in a random or zigzag pattern. Do it gently. Otherwise, the paint will start to clamp in water.

Step 5: Dip And Design

Hold your ceramic mug and slowly lower it into the water. Hold it there for 3-4 seconds and pull it out in the same way. Keeping the mug straight will protect the design on it.

Step 6: Dry The Mug

Place the mug on a newspaper and let it dry for an hour. And remember that you should not touch it when it dries.

Step 7: Wash And Clean

Wash the mug with water and dish soap solution. Then rinse it properly. Do not wash it with a dishwasher because it will ruin the paint.

3 Best Paint For Ceramic Mugs

Knowing how to paint on ceramic mugs is an excellent skill for sure. But you need the right paint to do that. Here I have picked a few effective and popular paint pens for painting ceramic mugs.

Artistro Acrylic Paint Pens, Set Of 30

There is no better choice than the acrylic paint pens from Artistro. These paint pens are not edible, but they are most effective when you use them for painting on various surfaces. In this paint pens pack, you will get a total of 30 paint pens.

It has 28 vibrant paint pens with two extra black and white pens. They contain highly pigmented ink to paint ceramics, rocks, fabric, metals, canvas, etc.

The ink dries pretty quickly, making them more perfect for painting on ceramic mugs. Moreover, you don’t have to stress about making a mess.

The pens’ extra fine tips are 0.7mm, which are suitable to draw details. So overall, you will get a flawless and glossy finish.

The paints do not contain any odor and are non-toxic. Nevertheless, it is best to keep them away from mug lips and food.

Neon Fluorescent Acrylic Paint Pens

Nothing seems more eye-catching than neon paints. And knowing your weakness, Artship has brought some mesmerizing neon fluorescent paint pens.

These are UV and blacklight-activated glow-in-the-dark paint pens. You will get 14 pens in this package. Half of them have medium tips, while the other half have extra-fine tips. It means you are getting double of seven different colors that will last a long time.

But are they only for ceramics? No, you can use these pens to paint on various surfaces, such as rock, glass, wood, fabric, etc.

As for the colors, they are vibrant, vivid, and permanent. These qualities are enough to enhance your artistic skill more by drawing on ceramic mugs.

They are water-based paints that dry pretty quickly. And as the pens are non-toxic and odorless, they are safe to use around kids.

Artistro Acrylic Paint Pens, Set Of 12

Here is another paint pen set from Artistro to make things easier for you. If you think that you do not need a 30-piece set, this 12-piece will do the job for you.

The pens have 2-3 mm medium point tips that work to draw anything you want. The pens glide smoothly across the ceramic surface. And once they dry up, they become water and smudge-resistant.

The best part of these paints is that they are water-resistant and do not smudge after drying. You can use the pens to paint on rocks, ceramics, glass, fabric, wood, and more. The colors are vibrant and will stay for a long time.

Though the paint pens are toxic and odor-free, it is safe to be careful with them. Avoid painting on the ceramic mug’s lip areas with them. And do not paint on food using these pens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What Kind Of Paint Will Stay On Ceramic Mugs?

Acrylic paints are known to be the best paint for ceramic. So if you plan to decorate your ceramic mugs with paint, acrylic paints are your best option.

But remember to read the label before you purchase the paint. Some acrylic paints are not for ceramic with glazes. So make sure you are purchasing the correct type of paint.

Q. Are Painted Ceramic Mugs Safe To Drink From?

Yes, it is safe to drink from painted ceramic mugs. However, it is also essential to know what chemical the paints or glazes contain. Many ceramic paints and glazes have lead, which is harmful to you.

It usually contaminates the food when the ceramic is cracked. So if you find out that your painted ceramic contains lead or is broken, it would be best if you avoided drinking from it.

Q. Are Painted Ceramic Coffee Mugs Safe?

Painted ceramic coffee mugs are safe as long as the paint does not contain anything harmful. One such element is lead, which can be harmful to you if it enters your body. So if you know that the glaze or paint on your ceramic mug contains lead, you should not drink from it.

Final Words

I believe you no longer have any confusion about how to paint on ceramic mugs. Now you know that painting on ceramic is not challenging. However, the magic trick is to use the right paints in the right ways.

No matter which method you use, touching the paint before it dries or gets baked is a big mistake many people make. Avoid doing any such thing that can ruin all your hard work.

And make sure the paint you are using is water-resistant and suitable for painting on a ceramic mug. Some paints come with instructions on how to use them on various materials. You can check it out before you buy any random paints.

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