Inexpensive and easy to make, chalkboard mugs are ideal for any tea or coffee aficionado on your list. You can also decorate them as presents for cocoa-loving kids, as they’re perfect places to write sweet little notes, and they make great teacher’s gifts as well. This is a great weekend craft project that only requires a few simple supplies, and can be a fabulous DIY project for the whole family.
What You’ll Need
- Ceramic cups or mug(s)
- Porcelain chalkboard paintin a hue that’s different from the mug(s) you’ve chosen (yes, it has to be porcelain chalkboard paint; the kind you use for walls won’t work)
- Masking tape
- Measuring tape (optional)
Cover your work area with newspaper, as this kind of chalkboard paint is very difficult to remove from most surfaces. I’d actually advise that you keep a damp cloth handy to wipe up any driblets or spills as they happen, especially on skin.
Use strips of masking tape to delineate the space that you plan to make into a chalkboard. You could tape off the top and bottom to make the middle section chalky, or just mark out a square. If you’re feeling fancy, you could even create an interesting border, cut that out of masking tape with an x-acto or utility knife, and then place it on the mug. Whatever you choose, be sure to press the tape down firmly and securely to minimize any “bleed” from the paint.
Once the tape is in place, use the paintbrush to slather chalkboard paint in the space you’ve marked out, and then allow the mugs to dry completely. Wash the brush thoroughly if you’d like to be able to use it again. Should you find that the mug needs another coat of paint, you can apply another one, but be sure to let that dry completely before moving on to the next step. (It’s recommended that you let them dry overnight.) Once dry, remove the tape. If you find that the edges are a bit ragged, use a fine brush to clean them up with a bit more paint, and then let that dry completely.
After the paint has dried, preheat your oven to 300F, bake the mugs for about 40 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the mugs to cool down inside it. This will “set” the paint and ensure that it won’t flake off in the microwave, dishwasher, or sink full of sharp, clunky bits.
TIP: if the mug you’ve chosen is a light color, you might like to write either your name or a cute little message on the glazed bottom of the cup. You can use a Sharpie marker to do this, and when you bake it to set the chalkboard paint, the marker will become permanent as well! You can even use Sharpies to add extra decorations around the painted area, if desired.
When you’re ready to give it as a gift, wrap some sticks of chalk in tissue paper and tuck them into the mug, then wrap it all beautifully. If you like, you can present the gift along with a small jar or bag of homemade dry hot chocolate, cider, or chai.
An avid permaculture gardener, locavore, and novice (but enthusiastic!) canner, Lana Winter-Hébert joins Inhabitat after spending the last decade working as a writer and event guru for non-profit/eco organizations. In addition to her work with this site, she writes features and blog posts for Vegan Cuts, Green Pigeon, and several event planning websites based in London, UK. Currently, Lana divides her time between writing, and doing collaborative projects with Winter-Hébert: the design studio she runs with her husband. Best described as “endearingly eccentric”, she spends any spare moments wrestling with knitting projects, and devouring novels by obscure Czech writers. A Toronto native, she has recently chosen to leave that splendid city in favor of a tranquil lakeside nook in rural Quebec, where she and her Sir co-habitate with two hand-raised sparrows that live in their writing-desk.