Where to Buy Supplies for Hand Painted Coffee Mugs and Plates

Hand Painted Coffee Mug from Studio J Pottery
Hand Painted Coffee Mug from Studio J Pottery | Source

Making Hand Painted Coffee Mugs

UPDATED with info for plates, too!

In a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens, hand painted coffee mugs was included as a simple gift that everyone can do, and that everyone can enjoy.

Most people like either coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, and all three of those beverages are served in a coffee mug of sorts (or special tea cup, which you can hand paint, too). So why not try your hand at hand painting mugs? I remember doing so as a child, but they are made easier today with the use of paint markers, rather than traditional paint brushes.

Perhaps not so recently, hand painted PLATES have also come into the trendy gift giving fashion (I have given two away, personally). So this will cover supplies for plates, too.

You will need:

  • Mugs or Plates (or anything else you're painted)
  • Paint Markers
  • Traceable Patterns or a great artist's hand

Special Coffee Mugs

Although it's rather expensive, at $4.29 a piece for quantities of 4 or less, the 17 oz bakersfield coffee mug makes a great choice for a nice gift for someone special
Although it's rather expensive, at $4.29 a piece for quantities of 4 or less, the 17 oz bakersfield coffee mug makes a great choice for a nice gift for someone special | Source

Where to Buy the Mugs & Plates

Depending on how many mugs you are hoping to paint, you could buy them just about anywhere. I suggest going with plain white mugs that are thin but sturdy. But you could get any solid colored mug you wanted to.

In Town

Locally, Michael's sells some mugs, and other craft stores do as well. Even Walmart sells plain white mugs, sometimes at $1 a piece, which is cheaper than you can find online because you do not have to buy them in bulk to get that price.

The other nice thing about shopping locally is that you don't have to wait! You can buy all of your supplies at once and be done with the whole project in an hour.

Kroger (Fry's where I'm located) sells beautiful ceramic, plain white mugs and plates from time to time. That is where I picked up my plates.

Online

Buying online is not the best place to buy ceramics unless you need to buy hundreds at a time. Not only are there usually quantity minimums, but you have to pay shipping and take the risk of broken mugs.

If your heart is set on buying online, the following websites sell plain white mugs that you can use for hand painting and buying in small quantities will not bankrupt you:

  • Splendids.com: They have a nice variety of shapes and sizes of mugs, as low as 85 cents a piece when purchased in mass bulk. However, they are NOT inexpensive as a general rule. In fact, they're quite pricey. I would suggest purchasing their nicer mugs in smaller quantities. You pay more, but you'll still be paying less than $5 per mug when it's all said and done.
  • DiscountMugs.com: This online store is certainly cheaper than Splendids.com, and the selection is wider. They have a nice mug for under $3 in quantities of 12, and it's the same price for color as it is for white.
  • PromoLogoMugs.com: They sell coffee mugs at low prices, but you have to call for a quote or email using their Order Form, which is rather annoying. Still, if you'd like to try to find the best possible price, they are probably it.

An example of an easy-to-do painted plate that made a great gift.
An example of an easy-to-do painted plate that made a great gift. | Source
These hand painted mugs are so easy, it's almost criminal!
These hand painted mugs are so easy, it's almost criminal! | Source

Where to Buy the Paint

Option 1: Paint Markers

I suggest going with paint markers, which can be found almost anywhere and cost almost nothing. If you're just starting, try just using black markers. Black and white hand painted mugs are super easy and beautiful, and it's a nice way to ease into it.

In Town

Try Michael's, local art supply stores (including at local universities), and Walmart's craft section. Look for broad paint markers that include ceramics as one of the materials they can be used for.

Online

For the paint markers, buying online will help when it comes to getting the right kind of marker.

  • DickBlick.com sells all sorts of paint markers. For this craft, choose the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Paint Markers, which sell for $4.59 a piece.
  • MarkerSupply.com also sells Pebeo paint sets, but it doesn't sell the broad 150 markers. It does sell fine and medium sized markers, which are great for using colors (like coloring the petals on a flower). They sell for around $3.69 a piece.
  • Amazon.com sells the same Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint marker that DickBlick.com sells, but currently, it's more expensive than the one at DickBlick. It's not a bad idea to keep your eye out for deals, but don't get ripped off. It's unnecessary!

Option 2: Paint with Paint Brushes

If you want to paint with a brush, I suggest buying the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paints. They are the same quality of paint used in the paint markers described above, but come in little jars for use with a brush. You can buy them at both DickBlick.com and MarkerSupply.com.

Step-by-Step Instructions (Updated)

1. Begin with clean, dry mugs or plates (free of dust, too). You may want to wipe them down with alcohol as well; this removes any oils that you can't really see. Oils made the paint marker slide or appear unevenly.

2. (IF USING A PATTERN) Using a traceable pattern and a sheet of carbon paper, trace the pattern over the carbon paper onto the mug. Gently blow away carbon dust so the outline is clear.

IF YOU'RE DOING IT FREEHAND: Make sure to not touch the mug or plate everywhere with your fingers; it distributes oil. For plates, set flat on a table. For mugs, hold firmly in whichever hand you are not using to paint.

3. Using the paint marker or brush, trace over the outline with the paint OR draw your freehand image/letters, etc, gently wiping away any stray paint.

4. Once painted, set the mugs on a baking set and put them in a cool oven. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees.

5. Set the ceramics in the oven straightaway (do not wait for pre-heat). This is also true for glasses; it prevents them from cracking due to the quick intense heat. If you're in any doubt FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PAINT MARKER!!

6. Allow the mugs to completely cool in the oven (bring it all the way back to room temperature).

Now you will have dishwasher and microwave safe hand painted mugs!

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