Saturday, June 30, 2012

Personalizing A Ceramic Mug | Trial Run

  Hello out there, Coffee Readers!

  Today I'm going through a trial run on a product for a lovely friend. She had a pretty sweet ceramic platter that was her guest book at her wedding. You can check it out here at her blog Pink, Passion and Pearls. She just needs a way to make sure that what was written on her platter is safe and protected.  If you have any better ideas than what we are coming up with to protect her treasure, please let us know!

  I had a glaze that I bought a year and a half ago for my first Valentine to Tyler, which was a ceramic to-go mug that I personalized and gave to him.
The Coffee Mug Valentine I made Tyler for Valentine's Day 2011

On the Valentine Mug, I had used paint pen instead of sharpie and my ceramic mug had a full glaze, while Veronica's platter is very glossy. To ensure that when we painted the glaze on it didn't wash the sharpie off, I wanted to test it on something else first.  I decided to buy a cheap mug at Dollar Tree with a glossy finish, write on it with sharpie, and give it to Tyler.  Boys like presents, no matter how romantic and cheesy they are. Okay, well, Tyler leads me to believe this.  :P

First, I wrote on the mug a cute little message to favorite part being that the handle says, "Darling, hold me every morning." Get the pun? Hehe

Darling, hold me every morning

Then, in keeping with the same process that Veronica has already fine to her platter, I baked the mug after writing on it for 30 minutes at 350°.

Then, I added three coats of Studio by SCULPEY Satin Glaze.  I bought mine at Hobby Lobby.

Make sure to put thin, even coats, and wait 30 minutes between each coat before adding another. (Read below and find out I'm not very good at doing this, however I suggest it.)

After it dried, I noticed my "glaze" had left some little dots.  It could be that my glaze is kind of old and has formed those with time.  I do not remember those dots on the original mug I mad for Tyler.  However, I did notice both last time and this time visible brush strokes from where I painted it on with my paintbrush.  It has not impaired the style of anything I have used thus far, however for something important (like a guest platter), I would do further testing with a new bottle of glaze before trying it on the real thing.


  Especially since this was a trial run, this section is to describe the problems I ran into.

  • On the left was the only place where I had a problem with the sharpie coming off.  My theory is that because it is on the bottom of the cup, the finish could be different or that somehow the sharpie did not heat evenly and become "permanent" Pinterest claims.
  • On the right, I ran into some issues with my glaze having lumps and crystallization.  I believe this may be due to old age of the glaze.  

Firing the glaze: on this part, I had SEVERAL issues arise, after I finished it.

  1. The glaze came out kind of browned.  
  2. Remember the chunky spots in the glaze I told you about earlier?  Well, those spots are browner than the rest of the glaze.
  3. This glaze will turn a color if you pick it up with a pot holder while it is still hot to go take pictures of your results because you are in a hurry.

  • One nice thing about the glaze is that after being heated, the brushstrokes were much less apparent.  It seemed to have a very smooth and consistent texture overall.
  • The places that did have chunky spots in the glaze, or places where I created chunky spots because I was too impatient to check that I spread each coat really really thin and really really even around the whole cup.
  • Check your creation in the oven once in a while!  I sort of forgot my cup after it had been in there, and didn't look at it until at least 30 minutes after setting it in.  I used a different oven than the one I used the first time I used this glaze, and I'm sure I checked it very often (knowing my impatience) and that cup stayed nice and white. 
  • I was also too impatient to wait until the cup cooled to pick it up and look at it.  What is the most logical way to hold a 350° cup?  A potholder, right?  Well, with this glaze apparently it can transfer color a little too easily, so my suggestion is to leave it on your cookie sheet or whatever you sat it on in the oven until it is completely cool, and then play with your new creation.
  • While I have given you my best theories about the problems I ran into, one more simple theory is that the mug was from the Dollar Tree.  While I have no idea what types of ceramics and glazes they use for their products, it is not a high quality product.  My first bake (with just the sharpie) I did notice a slight change in the red color of the band at the top.  While I think many issues can be blamed on my impatient spirit and the fact that my glaze is kind of old, there is also the potential it is due to a low quality cup.
While it seems this trial run was not successful like the Valentine's cup, I'm not ready to give up yet.  Since Tyler's mug has held up well to dishwashing, and the color remained white, I'm convinced I maybe should try purchasing new glaze or better quality dishware before baking once more.  I was impressed with the quality the first time, and I'm going to see if I might be able to solve some issues and become impressed with it again!

That's all for now, Coffee Readers!

My Cup of Joe for this project:  Coffee Ice Cubes, a little Cold Coffee, and your favorite liquid creamer. :)


  1. Hhhmm thanks friend! I don't know if we should re-glaze it or not...Maybe we will just plan to not use it as much haha

  2. With just the sharpie on it with no protection...I personally wouldn't recommend actually using it or washing it. I'm afraid that sharpie would come off. I might try it again on something else, because the first time I used it it worked out fine. I'm not sure if it was that I was less careful or that the glaze is old, or the cheap cup. You could also give the store where you made the platter a call and see if they have any clear glazes that are better quality, and maybe they could put it in the kiln again for you. That might be a safer bet.


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