35. The Sharpie Mug Experiment

The Sharpie mug experiment...

This episode is subtitled: ‘A mug of my own…’

Do you have a favourite mug? I have one with blue tits on that I use at Tulips and it’s funny how nothing else will do when I’m there. We all have our own choices and, now I stop and think about it, I realise that they really do match our personalities.

Mine is nature so no surprises there. Gillian’s mug is blue, ‘ocean blue’ is what I’d call it but it’s one of those Pantone designs so the shade actually has a number rather than a name. Pantone is a standard used by printers to ensure they are printing the exact shade required and that’s Gillian’s work to a tee – plain and precise.

Jaz’s choice is less conventional, as you might expect. It’s more wild and creative than the rest of them and doesn’t fit as easily onto the cup hooks. It definitely stands out from the crowd!

Our latest recruit is Daisy who works with us on Saturdays. She’s quiet and sweet and I don’t think she quite knows what to make of us all yet. I’m not sure whether we’ll see the flare from her that we have in Jaz, but I’m pretty sure we can turn her into a competent florist in time. While she’s learning how to be creative there are many tasks that just require hard work and I’m pleased to say she’s even happy when she’s elbow deep in bleached water, scrubbing out the buckets ready for a new week’s flower deliveries.

On Daisy’s third Saturday with us, Jaz brought in a new mug for her that she’d taken the trouble to go and buy herself – a sure sign that our shy girl had been accepted.

When I’m at home I use any old mug, but wouldn’t it be good to use one that I’d hand-decorated myself?

salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's pawIt looks great in the photo at the top of the post doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled, though, you must read through to the end of these instructions before you have a go yourself!

I had an old mug used to say I ‘heart’ New York. It was a present from an old school friend who knew I desperately wanted to go there to see whether the roads really were filled with yellow taxis and rising steam, and to soak up the bustling atmosphere. Needless to say, I didn’t get there and my sights are set closer to home now – Spain is where I’d really like to go. Anyway, I must have had that mug for about 20 years (wow that’s scary, but very impressive that there are no chips!) and I’ve had a dishwasher for the last 10 years so it no longer carries the message. Perfect for trying the Sharpie mug project that you see so often on Pinterest.

I gathered together my supplies – methylated spirit to make sure there were no finger prints on the surface, 2 Sharpie pens and a sweet little design I’d doodled. Now, I know that most tutorials for this project say you MUST use oil-based Sharpie pens for this project (apparently they have a red band around them) but could I find any in the UK? No, not in the timescales I’d set myself, anyway. And, I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that actually you don’t need to. So I forged ahead.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

I gave myself some boundaries for the design by putting two elastic bands around the mug; although why I bothered with the one at the top I’m not sure. The bottom one was very useful though.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

Then I drew the black parts of the design all round the mug.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

Then the gold.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

As per some instructions that I’d read, I left it overnight to dry then baked it in the oven. You put it into a cold oven and let it warm up as the oven warms up. I set the temperature for 180°C (350°F) and left the oven on for half an hour once it had reached the temperature. Then I let it cool completely before taking it out.

The result was a lovely mug for me to enjoy a cup of coffee and a relaxing read.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

It’s charming and I love it.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

But, oh no! This is what happened when I carefully hand washed it.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

That’s no good. I decided to see what would happen if I put it in the dishwasher – as expected it was even worse.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

So there was nothing else for it but to scour it all away and start again.

The Sharpie mug experiment...

This time it’s not going to need a wash!

The Sharpie mug experiment...

But if you prefer to follow some better instructions and create something more robust, I suggest you look at this tutorial from Something Turquoise.


  • I found it most difficult to scrub off two little dots on each flower where I started and ended the petals (see the photo taken after the dishwasher). I’m assuming there is more ink there because my pen will have dwelled for slightly longer. So a bit more time/pressure around the petals would have helped.
  • There are many sharpie mug tutorials online and I suggest you review a few of them!

Salvaged Items:

  • Old mug

See you all again next week for something creative, and hopefully more successful!

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