Apartment 48 Knock Off: Animal Portrait Mugs

10 Jul

animal-portrait-mugsAre these not the absolute cutest mugs you’ve ever seen? I saw them over at Apartment 48 and LOVED how bright and happy they were and that they looked hand drawn. I’m a tea drinker, and I can never resist an adorable little mug to drink it out of. Well, unless they’re $18 plus shipping. Then I can resist. Besides, I’d seen a tutorial on Pinterest that I was dying to try, and for a grand total of ONE dollar, I thought I’d give this a shot.

For months I’ve seen people talking about sharpie mugs on Pinterest. Some have had fantastic results, others – not so much. I found a pretty thorough tutorial at DIYopolis that had all sorts of tips and tricks. So, for further details on what to do and what not to do, head over there. Now, I secretly love the smug looking giraffe best, but I only had a black sharpie on me, so it was the panda this time.

I should probably start by saying that my sketching/painting/doodling skills are pretty abysmal, so there was NO WAY I was going to be able to freehand this. So I scaled, tweaked, and printed off a copy of each of little portraits. (If you’re interested in, the file with these scaled to about 3″ tall: here you go.)


I picked up a mug at the dollar store (the tutorial said the cheaper the better) and thoroughly cleaned it and wiped it off with rubbing alcohol. I was careful to not touch any part of the mug I was planning to mark with my hands, as the oils apparently cause issues here.


Since I couldn’t trace the pattern on the mug any conventional way I could think of, I tried something new. I punched holes along the lines of the design with a push pin and then colored over it with the sharpie.


This worked pretty well, it formed a sort of connect the dots on the mug that would help quite a bit. Now, this was not an easy thing to “color.” The round mug is kind of ridiculously awkward and I have NO idea how some people on Pinterest are able to draw, let along write in any even way on these things. The handle was probably the worst. But, I was patient (even if it goes against my nature) and I think it turned out pretty decent.


Following the tutorial, I put the mug in the (cold) oven and set the temperature to 425 degrees. Once the oven got to temperature, I set my timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I shut the oven off, and left the mug in the cooling oven for about an hour.


As you can see, the marker faded pretty significantly in the oven. The tutorial had warned about this and I decided to wait for it to cool and do a second coat. After another go round in the oven, it came out MUCH darker, and just like I wanted.


I tried washing it by hand and nothing is even smudging. I’m kind of in love with my little panda and cant wait to have a cup of tea tomorrow. I also can’t wait to try this technique again. For $1, the possibilities are really endless here. I’ve seen people use their cricuts, stickers, and real stencils making all kinds of sharpie mugs and I’m looking forward to trying some other options.

Apartment 48 Animal Portrait Mugs


– White coffee mug ($1)

– Sharpie (on hand, $1 or less in stores)

– Rubbing alcohol (on hand)

– Printed stencil (if you’re as awful at drawing as I am)

Apartment 48 cost: $18

Total cost for me? $1




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