Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Summer Fun #81: Decorate China with Sharpies

 You can make your own personalized mugs or other chinaware using just a plain white china (we bought ours at Walmart), some Sharpie markersrubbing alcohol and an oven.
 This is a great family activity because it is suitable for all ages and abilities.

Wipe down the surface of your china with rubbing alcohol to make sure that every last big of oil and dirt is removed. You don’t want anything between the glaze and my markers.
 Make your design on your piece, making sure not to touch the surface with your fingers.

Be aware that the colors might change when they get heated in the oven. 

Place your mug in the oven when you start it so that it warms with the oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. 
 After thirty minutes, turn off your oven and crack your oven door and let the mug cool down with the oven to prevent cracking. 
Decorated Mugs Before The Oven.
They should now stand up to washing, even in the dishwasher.
UPDATE: Here is Katie's dragon mug after it was baked and washed a few times. As you can see, the colors changed some, fading from their original bright colors. Also the strokes of the pen are more prominent.
After washing them a few times, it becomes apparent that some of the colors come off more readily than others. The only part that is coming off of Katie's cup, for example, is the purple, and it is true that this same color is coming off the other cups with use as well, but so far the other colors are holding up. I don't know for how long, however.

This activity can be found at lots of sites, but this is the one we used:


  1. What a great idea! I didn't think sharpies can be used on china cups but they sure work for you guys. You've decorated very unique and beautiful mugs!

  2. Do they really with stand washing? We did this years ago as a present for my mum and dad but the pen came off in the first wash or at least faded significantly. I wonder what we did wrong?

    1. Making sure that you get all oils off the cup with rubbing alcohol is important, as is also the oven temperature. As you can see with my update, some colors work better than others.

  3. Funny - I have espresso cups sitting on my desk waiting for an opportunity to be painted, but we planned to use ceramic paint. Perhaps we'll give sharpies a try!

  4. Oh man! That is SO cool!!!!!!

  5. We did that for Princess' birthday one year, and it was a huge hit. The girls loved it.

  6. This works, but you have to use the right sort of Sharpies - oil based I think?


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