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DIY Sharpie Mug 2.0 | Christmas Gifts 2014

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It’s hard to believe that my blog post about my experience with the sharpie mug craze is over two years old now and has gained an insane amount of popularity. I still to this day get hundreds of views from that post and see comments from fellow crafters looking for advice on their creations. I am, of course, no expert on the topic, but I did want my first post to be a sort of “did it work or not” post for others to use as a reference, and I’m happy to say that it has done just that.

Thanks to all of that, this year when I decided to give a sharpie mug as a gift, I thought I would document the process. I was especially excited because I had to get creative after being unable to find a good white coffee mug, and chose to use a black one with a metallic Sharpie oil-based paint pen instead. This has surely been done by others, but I have never seen it myself, and after so many of my readers mentioned troubles with colored pens and the like, I was curious about how this would work out!

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My best friend and I are currently living in different states and I have always loved the state art that shows two places being connected by a dashed line. I also really liked the quote “together forever, never apart, maybe in distance but never at heart.” So, I found some state stencils online and printed out a few different sizes on heavyweight cardstock, chose the one that worked best, and used double sided tape to stick it to my mug. I then traced around the states and removed the stencils – easy as that! There was some bleeding of the paint under the stencils, as you can see in the pictures, so I used a Q-tip dipped in alcohol (a great trick suggested by a reader!) to clean up the edges. Then I freehanded the line, the hearts, and the quote.

I let it sit overnight before sticking it in the oven. I placed it in the cold oven, turned it up to 350 degrees F, and timed it for 30 minutes. Then I let it cool in the oven overnight.

I really like the way it turned out After letting it sit for a few days after it was done, I tried to scratch at the Sharpie, and it seemed pretty solid. I should also point out that I had no discoloration or fading after baking my mug. I placed the states and the quote quite close to the lip of the mug because I intended this mug to be for decoration only, perhaps on a desk to hold pens (my friend is a teacher), and I made sure to let her know when I gave it to her.

While we’re on the subject of Christmas gifts I gave this year, my friends & I did all homemade gifts this year since I’m a poor college student and was trying to survive the holiday on the little that I had. The second gift I made this year was Instagram tile magnets, and they were so fun, so easy, and so inexpensive!

Insta SuppliesI decided to do this after coming across this blog post on Pinterest. I already had some Mod Podge and photo paper lying around that I had picked up from the Dollar Tree, so I ran out the next day and got the sheet of tiles (36 of them for around $2-$3) and the roll of magnet tape. I saved Instagram pictures from my friend’s profile (which is really tricky – the only way I found to do it was taking a screenshot and cropping) and used Word to create a sheet of them. I printed them at home on photo paper using my own printer, cut them out, and got to work. I used a flat watercolor paint brush to lay down some Mod Podge on the tile before carefully placing the paper and then painting on another layer of Mod Podge. Streaks and bubbles are no issue, since they generally disappear as the Mod Podge dries clear. After letting them dry for several days, I cut small pieces of magnet tape and stuck two pieces firmly on the back of each magnet.

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These six are the first ones I did using my own pictures because I wanted to test out the process, and I think they turned out so beautifully! After making six for myself and six to give to my friend as part of her Christmas gift, I have 24 tiles leftover – so I’m looking forward to making some more of these for my parents and other family members and friends!

Finally, I did some crocheting over break since crochet hooks are the only needlecraft tool I could bring home with me on the plane. I made a beanie as a gift for my friends fiance, because he wore the last one I made him until it fell entirely apart.

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I used this pattern that I found – where else – on Pinterest. Clicking on the picture will also take you directly to the pattern. I was looking high and low for something that looked really nice but wasn’t too “girly”. This one fit the bill perfectly and was so easy to make. I used Red Heart Soft yarn, which is a new favorite of mine, and did it in a crimson color. I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures of that hat being made or completed, but I made another hat using the same pattern and got a few pictures of me working on that.

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CircleI got this yarn from Hobby Lobby a few years back and really only purchased it because it was named “Danielle”. The yarn is SO pretty and made a gorgeous hat. I made it for myself, but ended up giving it away to my 17 year old neighbor on Christmas Eve because it looked like something she would be able to rock – and I was right, she looked so great in it!

I also made a couple of crochet headbands as the final touch for my best friends Christmas gift. I hadn’t intended initially to give her those because I have already given most of my friend crochet headbands as gifts, but right before the holidays I saw some pictures of her wearing the last headband I made her and it was clearly falling apart and needed to be replaced. Luckily, those are easy to whip up, and this time I made her two so she doesn’t have to wear one to death!

Hope you all enjoyed this post! I know they are getting farther and farther apart these days, but I unfortunately can’t craft or blog regularly while also being a full time grad student, so I just do it when I can, and I think that makes them more sincere and put together anyways. :] Thanks so much for reading and as always, happy crafting!

DIY Sharpie Mug

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There’s a trend going around the world of craft blogging right now, especially on websites like Pinterest & CraftGawker, & that is the DIY mug, decorated using only a sharpie, which you set by baking it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I’m a coffee-holic, & can never have enough coffee mugs in my life, so I was determined to give this one a try. So, after going through some trial & error, I wanted to do a sort of “review” on my experiences with it & how well it actually works.

I had seen this project done with both a regular Sharpie & a paint Sharpie, but the first thing I tried was an original Sharpie & mugs I found at the dollar store. There are various how-to’s & reviews of how this went for people out there on the interwebs, but this was one of my favorites because her creations are just so darn cute.

I drew my inspiration for the design from this blogger. I just thought it was so gorgeous & I’m really not that creative usually. It actually turned out pretty good considering that I have no hand-eye coordination or talent when it comes to drawing or creating anything with a paper [or ceramic] & a pen. So I stuck it in the cold oven, turned it on to 350, waited til it got up to temperature before timing it for 30 minutes, & then turned off the oven & let the mug cool in there.

After letting it cool & then leaving it to sit on the counter for a few days beyond that, I had my mom hand-wash it while she was doing dishes. Immediately the ink became cracked & faded. I also tried using it for my coffee & found that where my lips touched became faded very quickly as well. Not so great. I was pretty disappointed.

I was determined to make this work somehow, so I decided to try another technique I had found by Wild Olive, which involved using a Sharpie Oil-Based Paint marker instead of a plain Sharpie. I actually used the same mugs, I just used a Mr. Clean bleach eraser to get my previous designs off of them, which wasn’t very hard to do. I also chose to brush rubbing alcohol onto the cleaned surface & let it dry before attempting my new designs, because after doing some research I found that that’s something you do when using actual ceramic paint to make it stick better. I created a similar design to the one I had originally done in regular Sharpie, as well as a text quote that read “All if fair… In love & War”. I put it in the oven for 30 minutes on 350, & as far as I can tell, this technique works much, much better. The Paint Sharpie is made to be used on things like this [it even says so on the package] & it’s really obvious. Not only is the design more opaque, but it looks and feels a lot more permanent & professional. I created mine a few weeks ago while at home with my family, & just recently used the text one for my coffee. I had no issues hand washing it the first time around, but only time will tell.

Overall, I would tell you to not even waste your time trying to use a plain Sharpie on a mug or other piece of dinnerware. If you’re truly interested in creating a personalized work of art that has the potential to be used and stand the test of time, spend a little bit of extra money on a Sharpie Paint pen, or other similar pen. It works MUCH MUCH better! 

After my failed experience with the original Sharpie, I got super interested & almost obsessed with finding something that would work & be mostly permanent on ceramics. What I really wanted to find, but had hardly any luck with, was the Porcelaine paint that I have heard such good things about. I found a little bit at Michaels, but it was all on clearance, which means mostly cleared out, & they didn’t seem to have any more of it. BUT, on that note, they had other ceramic paint [Delta PermEnamel] on crazy clearance [like $.79 a bottle] & I went a little crazy & bought TONS of it. I also got a few starter kits that came with surface conditioner [basically rubbing alcohol, which is where I learned that trick I mentioned earlier], a bunch of small pots of color, & glaze. It was air dry, so you didn’t have to bake it in the oven, but you have to let it dry for 21 days before use. So I made some fun mugs with that paint, & hope to create more & possibly sell them on my Etsy.

I hope this post was helpful for anyone considering trying out the DIY Sharpie mug idea, or anyone interested in getting into ceramic painting! It’s so much fun & not a super expensive hobby to take up. I really enjoyed learning something new, & I hope you give it a try as well!

Dani

PS: Please check out my latest post on this subject here.

Coffee coffee coffee [How to make a latte at home without an espresso machine]

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I’m writing this post because I have to tell you guys about my miracle latte.

I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a coffee addict. A coffee-holic. I can’t go a single day without a cup [or several] of coffee. But don’t confuse me for a coffee snob. I love coffee too much to be especially picky about it, which is why this discovery is so wonderful. I hope this post can be a help to my fellow snob-free coffee lovers, especially those who, like me, can hardly afford to purchase their daily latte & can relate to actually paying for it with change from their car/couch/purse/friends on several occasions.

My best friend gave me $50 to spend ‘irresponsibly’ for my birthday. I chose to purchase [after a lot of serious decision making, because a few seasons of Friends also sounded very appealing] a stovetop espresso maker & everything I would need to go with it. I spent the weekend in my hometown with my family, so mom & I made a trip to the local Bed, Bath, & Beyond to purchase my prize. Unfortunately, they only sold six- & nine-cup Bialetti’s in store, so I had to special order a smaller one & come to terms with the fact that I would not be hand-making myself some latte’s that evening. But, after purchasing two bottles of flavoring & a pound of espresso, I decided to try and make some latte’s anyway.

I’m sure I’m not the first to do this, but all those time I did a Google search on ‘how to make a latte at home without an espresso machine’, nothing like this ever came up. Basically, all I did was brew espresso in a coffee pot, with a few scoops of espresso & a small amount of water [since you only need maybe 2 or 3 oz of espresso for your beverage], add an ounce of flavoring, heat & froth some milk, & voila – I had a latte, & it even tastes like a latte that you would get at your local coffee house!

I used a shot glass & measured out a few shot-glass-fulls of espresso to my cup, along with a shot-glass-full of flavoring. I heated milk in the microwave for 3 minutes [don’t forget to take it out & stir it at 2 minutes so it doesn’t explode on you] & then used a hand blender to froth it before using a spoon to hold the foam back while pouring the milk into the cup of espresso & flavoring, then I added a dollop of foam to the top. Tonight I actually tried using my coffee press to froth my milk & WOW, if you like thick heavy foam, this is the way to go. The hand blender seems to take a lot longer, is a lot messier, & makes a much thinner foam. I only had to pump my coffee press once or twice before realizing I already had an inch or more of foam. They also sell a variety of milk frothers at department stores that you can look into, but if you have a hand blender or coffee press, there’s no need!

I’m sorry for my lack of pictures. Since I was home, the few I got was difficult enough. Maybe I’ll get to take some better ones when I get my Bialetti.

I got my espresso at Winco, a local discount grocery store that I absolutely love. A pound was only $7.00. I got the coffee flavoring at URM for about $3.50 each, which I thought was an amazing price & why I ended up purchasing two bottles.

This is a picture of the first miracle latte I made. Doesn’t really look like much but just TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. Seriously.

I also took some pictures of the other things I got for my birthday from Jessica & her boyfriend Cookie. They both graduated last weekend & left town for good yesterday, which I’m absolutely still in denial about. But anyways, Jessica gave me a scrapbook of our four years together, which was amazingamazingamazing, & Cookie got me two seasons of Friends that I was SO EXCITED about. It really just makes me want to buy the other 8 seasons, but I have to remind myself that that would be very irresponsible, & I already spent my $50 of guilt-free money. SIGH.

 

Also, I got my test swatch of clothing labels while I was home for the weekend & I’m a little sad to say that they didn’t turn out. But it’s okay – perfect, actually – because while I was home, I realized that I wanted to have some sort of image as part of my logo. It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to use a lilac, because it has some meaning to me since my hometown is the ‘Lilac City’ & we always had them in our yard when I was growing up. I think I remember my favorite flower being lilacs when I was much younger, & a boy that “liked me” when I was in 3rd grade picked some & brought them to school for me. Plus, I always see birds, scrolls, & other random [but adorable] things used, & I wanted something somewhat unique. So, I did some redesigning the last couple days & came up with an Etsy banner and clothing label logo that I like much better.

It also looked much more promising when I uploaded it to Spoonflower than the last batch did.

So, I’ll have to reorder them soon. I suppose this is the exact reason you order a ‘test swatch’ first. Hopefully this batch will work out & this will be my permanent logo – but I’m not worried, I think it will be.

 

Thanks for reading & happy Mother’s Day [a couple hours late]!