White porcelain mugs or cups
Porcelain pens in a variety of colors (such as Porcelaine 150
Newspaper to protect your work surface
Optional: pre-printed templates or designs, transfer paper, tape,
Most moms have simple expectations when it comes to Mother's Day
presents. All we really want is a big "thanks for everything you
do" and a homemade token of appreciation.
This year, you can really "wow" the moms in your life by
creating personalized gifts they can put to good use each and every
day. Invest in just a few materials and make personalized coffee or
tea mugs. The lucky recipients will think of you each morning as
they sip from their one-of-a-kind mug.
Begin by purchasing some white porcelain mugs or coffee cups.
Try an inexpensive source like IKEA or Cost Plus World Market to find mugs that are
perfect for this project. Visit an art supply store such a Blick Art
Supplies to find porcelain pens. Pick up pens in a variety of
Gather your artists together and get to work! This project can
be very free-form or more structured. On the one hand, you can
encourage the kids to create original designs right on the surface
of the mug. Be sure to press the tip of the pens into test paper a
few times to get the ink flowing before you begin. If you make a
mistake, don't worry. You can rub the pen off before it dries and
start all over again. Be sure to have the artists sign their work
and indicate the date and occasion.
If you desire a more "polished" look, you can apply a
pre-printed template or design to the mug. Find an image you'd like
to apply to the mug and print it in black and white. Using a piece
of transfer paper (available at craft stores), you literally can
transfer the design to the mug and then use the porcelain pens to
trace over it to make it permanent. This works well for simple
images such as an initial, monogram or simple saying.
Place a piece of transfer paper bottom side down against the mug
and place the design on top. Tape the paper in place. Use a
ballpoint pen to trace over each element of the design (press
hard!). Remove all of the paper, and a white imprint will remain on
the mug. Use the imprint as a guide as you trace over it with
Once you are happy with your design, place the mug on a baking
sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes to make the porcelain
pen writing dishwasher safe (this is an adults-only job, of
course). Note that although the porcelain pens purport to be
dishwasher safe, advise your gift recipients to hand wash these
precious items just to be on the safe side.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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