I drink tea most mornings out of boring white mugs, so I decided (in honor of our Disney World trip in 32 days, woo!) that a bit of Disney spirit was in order!
How cute is that thing?!
You can decorate plain white mugs in tons of ways; they’re one of my favorite things to buy when I go thrift shopping because I know I’ll find a way to upcycle them.
DIY Minnie Mouse Mug
It took about a week to make this mug, but that’s only because I wanted the layers of paint to really dry before I painted over them again, and because the mug has to dry for 2-4 days before you can bake it to seal the paint. If you discount drying time, the actual painting part only took about two hours. So if you have a few free minutes over the course of a few days (and a safe place to let your mug dry), you can easily paint your own fun mug!
The only slight bummer is that the paint I used isn’t food safe, so I couldn’t paint the inside of my mug pink like the one from Disney. But this thing is so cute anyway it hardly matters!
- a plain, oven-safe mug
- ceramic paint (I used DecoArt’s Gloss Enamels paint in Baby Pink and Black)
- stencil material (or adhesive vinyl, or contact paper, etc.)
- rubbing alcohol
- cotton balls or cotton pads
NOTE: You could also easily make a matching Mickey Mouse mug with red polka dots instead of pink. Just don’t add the bow at the end!
You can sort of tell from this picture, but this mug is HUGE! It holds at least 2 cups; love it!
I used clear contact paper and my Cameo to make stencils for the polka dots and Minnie’s head. If you’re interested, you can download the Silhouette cutting file here, or download a PDF version of the template if you plan to cut it out by hand.
Next I cleaned my mug with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. Read the instructions on the back of your paint bottle to be sure, but that’s what my paint said to do! Once the mug was clean, I started sticking polka dot contact paper stencils all over it. Make sure to press down around the edges of the stencil so paint doesn’t seep under when you start painting.
I just sorta eyeballed the placement and estimated because I didn’t want the polka dots to line up perfectly. And I kept the Minnie Mouse head and bow stencils aside at this point, because they go on in a later layer once the polka dots are all finished.
Just one quick note, if your paint isn’t food safe, that means don’t put it anywhere that will touch food or your mouth! Obviously I couldn’t paint the inside of the mug and still use it for tea, but I also had to make sure there was a polka-dot-free area at the back of the mug near the rim so I could drink from the cup as well!
Once your stencils are on, start painting!
I did a very light coat of pink paint in all of the polka dot stencils, and I also painted the handle freehand. Then I let it dry for about 4 hours. After four hours I did a second light coat of paint and let it dry for a full 24 hours. I left the stencils on for this because the paint will stick to the stencils a bit and if you pull it off too soon you will peel away the paint from the mug as well!
The next day I started to peel off the stencils. And my paint was definitely still stuck to the contact paper as well as the mug. But there are a few tricks to making sure your lines stay crisp and clean when peeling the stencils off:
- Always peel the stencil back on itself, across the painted design. I couldn’t get a picture because I needed both hands to do this part, but if you peel up one edge of your stencil and grab it between your thumb and forefinger, you can slowly, gently pull your hand and the stencil across the painted design in the middle of the stencil. Basically just fold the stencil back on itself and peel parallel to the surface of the mug; it will come off much cleaner than if you peeled up and away from the mug towards yourself.
- Cut open your stencil to make peeling it off easier. If your painted shape is a circle, you need to peel off the stencil in a circle. So peel up one corner of your stencil, then use an Xacto knife or pair of scissors to cut the stencil open so you can peel around the circumference of the circle rather than take the whole huge stencil off at once.
- Don’t freak out too much if paint seeped under the stencil or if you peeled off a bit of paint along with your stencil! It’s all fixable!
See how the pink polka dot stencils are all cut open? It makes it so much easier to peel them off that way.
Once the polka dots were painted, I positioned the Minnie Mouse head stencil and painted it in black. Again, I let it dry for about 4 hours, did a second coat, and then let it dry overnight. And again, I carefully peeled off the contact paper the next day.
Unfortunately, removing the stencil this time was a little trickier because the stencil had stuck to some of the painted polka dots. But again, DON’T FREAK OUT! I definitely pulled off about a quarter of the paint from three of the overlapped pink polka dots, but it’s easy to touch up later!
Because I was tired of pulling off stencils at this point, I just painted her bow on by hand instead of using the stencil I cut out. Still turned out cute I think!
Once all the layers were painted on, I did a few touch ups. If you peeled paint off along with your stencil or missed a spot somewhere, just take a tiny brush and add a bit more paint. If your paint seeped out from under the stencil anywhere, you can scrape it off gently with the blade of an Xacto knife.
I spent about two hours touching my mug up because I’m a bit OCD, but you can do however much or little touching up as you think necessary!
Then I let the mug dry for 4 days. The back of the pink paint bottle said 48 hours, but the black paint bottle said four days, so I figured I’d play it safe. Then I put it in my oven, turned it on to 325 degrees, and set a timer for 30 minutes. Follow the directions on your paint bottle here, but mine said NOT to preheat the oven before baking it; just put the mug in a cold oven and cook for 30 minutes, letting it warm up with the mug already inside.
Once the 30 minutes were up I opened the oven door (and locked the kitties in the bathroom because they are SUPER curious about the oven!) and let the mug cool in the oven with the oven door open.
And voila! An adorable Minnie Mouse mug, ready for coffee or tea or whatever!
The paint says that it will be dishwasher safe, but I always wash my mug by hand just in case. The paint has stayed for years with just hand washing!
Make Your Own Minnie Mouse Mug!
- Use stencil material and a Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine to make a simple stencil. You can download the Silhouette cutting file that I used here, or download a PDF version of the template if you plan to cut it out by hand.
- Clean your mug with rubbing alcohol and cotton balls to remove any dirt and oils.
- Position the polka dot adhesive stencils on your mug, making sure to press down firmly along all the edges so no paint seeps under when you paint.
- Paint the polka dots with a light coat of baby pink enamel paint.
- Let the paint dry for 4 hours, then apply a second coat if necessary.
- After the paint is fully dry, carefully peel away the stencils. If the paint starts to peel away with the stencil, let the paint dry overnight first.
- Position the Minnie Mouse head stencils where you want them, then paint with a coat of black enamel paint.
- Let the paint dry for 4 hours, then apply a second coat if necessary.
- After the paint is fully dry, carefully peel away the stencil. If the paint starts to peel away with the stencil, let the paint dry overnight first. If any pink polka dot paint comes up when removing the stencil, you can fix it when touching up.
- Touch up the paint as needed with a small paintbrush, or use an Xacto knife to remove any paint that bled under the edges of the stencils.
- Set the mug aside and let it cure for 4 days.
- Place the mug in a cold oven, then turn it on to 325 degrees and set a timer for 30 minutes. (Be sure to double check and follow the directions on your paint bottle here.)
- After 30 minutes turn off the oven and open the door. Leave the mug in the oven with the door open until it is fully cooled.
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