How to Make Personalized Mugs at Home

diy mugs designs

Personalized ceramic coffee mug

Image from TeckWrap Craft Instagram Page

How to Make Personalized Mugs at Home

Personalized mugs are a thoughtful gift for your loved ones and friends, for whatever occasion. It’s affordable, easy to make, and of course, a touch of personalization brings a heartfelt message that will make the gift extra special. With a ceramic mug and several craft materials, you can buy online, or at a craft store, you can make a personalized mug at home. 

So if you’re thinking of creating a personalized mug, either to give to a loved one or for your personal use, in this post, you’ll learn how to make personalized mugs at home. Better to start planning and think of the design or special messages you want to place on the mug. 

How to Make DIY Custom Coffee Mugs 

Depending on the materials you have at home or crafts you can buy online, you can choose from these four DIY printing methods: screen printing, waterslide paper, sharpies, or by using adhesive vinyl. Here’s what you need to know about each process: 

1. Screen Printing

create your own mug

Screen printing on a coffee mug involves the use of grade enamel paint and a mesh screen. Screen printing is a long process as you’ll need to expose the image in the mesh screen. Aside from using a mesh screen, you can also use temporary adhesive vinyl as your stencil for the screen printing process. 

It’s a tricky process with the chance of the image to look distorted when not the mesh screen is not exposed correctly. Also, this printing process is suitable for simple designs. In other words, customization with multi-colored design might be challenging. 

2. Using a Waterslide Paper

If you have an inkjet printer at home, you can use a waterslide decal paper to print on your mug. Here’s the step-by-step process:

  • All you need to do is print your chosen image on the water slide decal. Make sure to change the settings of the printer to photo glossy paper. 
  • Then cut out the white edge outside the printed image. 
  • Next is to soak the decals in lukewarm water and wait for them to curl for about 60 seconds. 
  • Then wet the mug's surface, place the decal, and slide the white paper backing of the water decal right out. Make sure to squeeze out any extra water and any creases. 
  • Then, take a paper towel to dry it off. 
  • Lastly, place it in the oven bake mugs for 15 minutes on medium heat. 

Viola! There’s your mug. Expect a full-color and bright image. A water slide transfer is not as sturdy and bright as other mug printing options. Also, this procedure is labor-intensive and time-consuming. But hey, all good stuff comes with effort and labor of love, right? 

3. DIY Sharpie Mugs

Do you have unique artistic abilities? Why not personalize your mug using sharpie paint markers? Yes you can! This is even a great art project for the kids at home. 

Simply draw your design on the ceramic mug using oil-based sharpies, specifically glass paint markers. Use a pencil or masking tape to aid in carefully drafting your design. 

After you’ve added accent colors and you think your design is complete, it’s time to bake the mug. In your oven, bake the mug at 250 degrees for 20 minutes to let the paint set. 

Let it cool completely before using. Prints on DIY sharpie mugs can withstand being washed by hand or in the dishwasher without worrying of smudges or the design washing off. 

DIY Sharpie Mug Ideas

DIY Personalized sharpie mugs

Image from Max Pixel by RM_Design

4. Using Adhesive Vinyl

If you have a cutter plotter at home, why not use adhesive vinyl? It’s more permanent, the colors are vibrant, and the print grip is more sturdy than DIY sharpie mugs, direct screen printing, and water decals. 

If you plan to make a living out of personalized mugs, this is so far the best and most professional-looking option when printing on a DIY ceramic mug. There are many designs available of adhesive vinyl, and your work and crafting abilities are endless. 

Christmas plaid mug

You can choose Christmas Plaid vinyl for holiday gift mugs. For multi-colored designs, you can use Glitter or Opal permanent adhesive vinyl. Keep reading to learn the step-by-step process of how to custom mugs using permanent adhesive vinyl. 

How to Personalize Mugs with Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl? Sounds intimidating? Not really! That’s why you’re reading this blog: to gain knowledge and learn the step-by-step process of how to customize mugs using vinyl. So you can master its ins and outs and become an expert on making DIY ceramic mugs with consistent practice. 

diy christmas mugs

Not only that. When you master the use of vinyl using a cutter plotter, you can make a lot more easy DIY projects like personalized tumblers, Christmas ornaments, wood signages, and many more! But, first, you need to collect the materials required for this project. What you need are:

  1. A plain mug (preferably ceramic, avoid textured or powder-coated)
  2. Permanent adhesive vinyl (choose a style that suits your design), you can check out different designs of permanent adhesive vinyl at TeckWrap Craft
  3. Mod Podge (the dishwasher-safe version)
  4. A soft bristle brush or foam
  5. Transfer Tape (use the standard grip, not the strong grip)
  6. Rubbing alcohol and clean cloth (to clean the mug) 
  7. Cutting mat
  8. Weeding tool
  9. Scraper tool

Step 1: Choose Your Mug Design and Vinyl

The type of vinyl you need to purchase depends on your design in mind. So it’s important to decide which design you’ll place on your mug. For instance, if it’s for a Christmas gift, you can choose Christmas Plaid designs. 

Or you just want to personalize it with your loved one’s name; you can choose Texture Metallic or plain colors. If the design you chose comes in multi-colors, buying Sheets Pack in different colors is best. Once your design and vinyl are ready, go to your computer and open your cutter plotter’s software. 

Step 2: Cut and Weed Your Vinyl

how to weed your vinyl

Whether you have a Cricut or Silhouette cutter plotter, you can cut any kind of vinyl. Then, simply upload your design on the cutting machine’s software and adjust the size depending on how big you want it to be on the custom mug. 

Make sure to change the cut settings of your cutter plotter to either ‘Permanent Vinyl’ or ‘Adhesive Vinyl’. Next, load your vinyl on the cutting mat with the shiny side up, and wait for it to finish cutting. Remember not to mirror adhesive vinyl the way you would on an iron-vinyl. 

Next, get your weeding tool, flip it over, and peel the vinyl carefully. Weeding the vinyl means cutting off extra bits of the vinyl that you don’t want to transfer on the mug. Only include the vinyl that you want to print on the mug. 

Step 3: Transfer Your Design

how to use transfer tape

After weeding the vinyl, you’ll need to transfer the design into the transfer paper. Here are the steps:

  • Cut out a piece of transfer tape about the same size as the design. 
  • Remove the backing or white part of the transfer paper. 
  • Start transferring the design to the transfer paper, starting in the outermost corner of the transfer paper, working your way outwards to avoid the bubbles and creases on the transfer tape. Take note to never but the sticky side of the vinyl on your work surface, as this will mess with its stickiness and most likely won’t stick to the mug. 
  • Place the transfer paper over the design, facing down the sticky side. 
  • Use your scraper tool to ensure the adhesive foil attaches to the transfer tape. Make sure to pass it over the front and back to ensure it sticks and transfers well. 
  • Then remove the backing of the vinyl adhesive at a 45-degree angle.

Step 4: Apply the Vinyl to the Mug

After transferring the design to the transfer tape, it’s time to stick it to the mug. First, clean the mug’s ceramic surface with alcohol and a clean cloth. Make sure to remove any oil, dirt, or dust on the mug. Cleaning the mug is essential to ensure the decal sticks well and gets stuck permanently. 

how to apply the vinyl

If the mug surface is straight, you can continue applying the vinyl to the mug. However, if the mug’s surface is curved, you should make small nips around the edges of the transfer paper of the decal. This way, you can apply the design to the curved mug without any creases. 

Smooth it all down into the proper position to ensure it won’t move. When you’re confident that the vinyl has transferred properly to the mug, take off the transfer tape. Now you can see all your efforts are coming to life!

Step 5: Apply the Mod Podge Sealer

Now it’s time to seal the deal with the Mod Podge Sealer. Here’s the deal, the vinyl alone sticks well on the mug. However, with repeated washing over time, especially in the dishwasher, the vinyl may start to peel. That’s why you need a Mod Podge Sealer to seal the deal to ensure it sticks forever.

The sealer will ensure that the mug’s decal will hold up in the dishwasher’s heat. Don’t worry; a Mod Podge sealer is safe and non-toxic. So here’s how to apply the Mod Podge sealer on the mug:

  • Clean the decal surface once again using alcohol and a clean cloth. Make sure it doesn’t have any oil, lint, or even your thumbprint.
  • Coat the outer surface of the mug, except the handle and rim. Make sure the coating is evenly applied all over to have the same texture all over. 
  • Using a soft bristle brush or foam, apply a very thin coat of the sealer. Make sure the stroke is in one direction. Apply it quickly as the sealer dries quickly. 
  • Set the mug aside and let it dry for an hour. 
  • Repeat the process three times. That’s three layers of Mod Podge. 
how to seal vinyl on mug

How to Make Mugs with Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge

Source: YouTube Channel by Plaid Crafts

Why Personalized Mugs?

Now that you’re aware of the process and steps on how to make cute mugs, for sure, you’re excited about your next project. Customized mugs are an easy DIY gift that you can give all year round. Other than that, here are the pros to learning how to make personalized mugs.

  • Ceramic mugs are environmentally-friendly and more durable as compared to plastic and glass mugs.
  • Personalized vinyl mugs are thoughtful gifts that your friend or loved one will adore. 
  • Mugs can be used every day, that’s why this gift is special and at the same time useful.
  • This super cute DIY mug is a great idea for gift-giving on all occasions and has a lot of customization options. 
  • Personalized coffee mugs are easy to make, a fun project, affordable, and a profitable business idea you can do at home. 


1. Does Vinyl Stay On Mugs?

Yes, adhesive vinyl stays on mugs. As long as you follow the step-by-step process and correct materials mentioned above, the vinyl decal will stay on the mug’s surface for years to come and even after how many washes. In addition, the professional-looking results will last for a long time. 

2. How Do I Print Myself on a Mug?

To print a picture of yourself on the mug, transferring the design through waterslide paper is the best option. By using waterslide paper, you can also print other multi-colored designs like photos of your dog, flowers, a nature background, and many more. 

3. Do You Need Special Vinyl for Mugs?

Yes, you need special vinyl for mugs, specifically, adhesive vinyl or permanent vinyl. Adhesive vinyl is available in different patterns and colors. For example, you can choose from Rainbow Stripes, Christmas Plaid, Reflective Vinyl, Galaxy Vinyl, Glow in the Dark, Color-changing, and many more.



Make Personalized Mugs as Great Gifts Today

So the next time you think of giving a personalized gift for any occasion, DIY personalized mugs are the way to go. You can buy your materials online, have them delivered to your home, and do these personalized mugs in your kitchen or living room. Happy printing!

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