How to Paint Ceramic Mugs

    by Kylie Keeler

    About the Author

    Kylie Keeler has been freelance writing for more than 12 years. She has consulted and written for a number of publications and websites on Walt Disney World travel and Florida travel in general. Some of her former clients include Gannett Publications, and various private clients.


    While you can usually find painted ceramic mugs in most boutique gift shops, creating your own allows you to customize the mug with your own designs. You can add names, favorite sports teams’ emblems and even inside jokes. With undecorated mugs selling for mere dollars at discount shops, painted ceramic mugs also make a perfect and inexpensive party favor. The only limit when decorating ceramic mugs is your own creativity and the dimensions of the mug.

    Things You'll Need

    • Plain ceramic mug
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Lint-free towel
    • Acrylic enamel paint
    • Small craft paintbrush
    • Oven

    show more

    Clean the mug’s surface with rubbing alcohol and your lint-free towel. Most paints will encourage you to start with a clean surface and rubbing alcohol will remove any grease or other unwanted substances from the mug without leaving a soapy film behind.

    Choose a design you know will fit comfortably on your mug. As well as size, consider color harmony. For instance, hot pink will probably not complement a hunter green mug.

    Paint your design onto the mug’s surface using your craft paintbrush. Allow layers to dry before applying more colors. Clean your brush between colors to ensure you don’t accidentally mix shades and blend.

    Place your finished mug in a cool oven and set the oven to 300 degrees. Do not warm the oven before placing your mug inside. Doing so can cause the mug to heat up too quickly, which can cause it to crack or shatter.

    Allow the mug to bake for 30 minutes.

    Turn the oven off after the mug has baked for 30 minutes. Allow the mug to cool down with the oven, as taking it out can cause it to cool too quickly.

    Remove the mug from the oven and enjoy.

    • Use your painted mugs as stocking stuffers during the holiday season. Fill the mug with wrapped penny candy and place in a clear cellophane bag. Gather the bag around the top of the mug and tie off with a decorative ribbon.
    • Wash the mug by hand to preserve the design.

    Photo Credits