DIY: Easy Watercolor Mugs (And A Cleared Hot Coffee Review + Giveaway)

DIY sarpie mugs that actually last - Pocketful of posiesThis is not a sponsored post and Pocketful of Posies was in no way compensated by Cleared Hot Coffee to publish this article.  Cleared Hot Coffee did provided the bag of coffee used in the giveaway at the bottom of this post all other coffee was purchased at regular pricing for personal use.  All DIY projects are my own made with products purchased by me.  This post contains other affiliate links.  For more information about our policies visit our Policy Page.

With Memorial Day a short week away I wanted to give a shout out to a 100% Veteran owned and operated company that has made their way into our everyday lives. Cleared Hot Coffee is a small Seattle based coffee company that hand roasts all of their coffee in small batches. They can ship any where in the world and they even accept donations to send coffee to the men and women of our armed forces that are currently deployed.

After hearing about Cleared Hot Coffee from a friend we decided to give it a try.  As a military family we are always looking for ways to support other military families and what better way than buy purchasing something we already use every day. (Sometimes several times a day).  I have to say that we are completely hooked on this coffee.  It has a great flavor and that nice jump of caffeine to get us through our insanely early mornings.  I think it is safe to say that Cleared Hot Coffee has found a new permanent home in our pantry.  For your chance to win a bag of Cleared Hot Coffee and two of our adorable patriotic Easy Watercolor Sharpie Mugs scroll down to the bottom of this post. 

Easy Watercolor Sharpie Mugs   

Have you ever had a project in mind that you knew exactly how you wanted it to turn out and it seemed like it was all going to be so fast and simple, and then you mess it up over and over again?  That was this project for me.  It’s not that this project is by any means hard.  It is actually extremely simple, it’s just the matter of getting all the steps in the right order at the right time.  I won’t tell you how many times I tried to make this before I got it right but it was more that a few.  The great news for you is, since I made several stupid mistakes along the way, I can now tell you exactly what to do, so your new mug turns out perfect on your very first try!

This all started because I was looking for a cute new coffee mug  and after having no luck buying one I decided to make my own.  After finally figuring out the best way to make these adorable mugs I need up making several different designs.  In this post I am going to show you how to make my adorable watercolor iKat mug.

project recipe

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I started with a simple white mug I purchased at Target, some blue painters tape and an awesome set of Sharpie Markers I purchased from Amazon (after searching several craft stores they have the best price).

First I cut my painters tape in half and started laying out my design.  This part that took the longest only because I was attempting to layout a geometric pattern on a round mug.  Tip: For faster results I recommend not wrapping your tape around the bottom of the mug until you are finished arranging all of the pieces.  This will makes the design easy to adjust as you move around the surface of the mug.

Once my tape was arranged in a pattern I was happy with I got out my sharpies and began to add the ink.  Start with the first color at the outer most section of the diamond and work in.  Apply a moderate amount of ink on the mug but don’t cover the entire space. Leave about 20%-30% open space between scribbles, this will get filled in later.  Let the mug dry for  5+ minutes in between each color.  Once the ink is set continue layering in the next color.  Tip: For best results use high contrasting colors and leave a little bit of space between each color, this will make it easier to blend the colors later without ending up with a muddy mess.

After all of the ink has been added it is time to remove the tape.  I had a tiny bit of ink seep under my tape but since this is a watercolor project I thought it added some interesting character to the design.

Next grab the rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, it’s time to blend!  Dip the cotton swab into the rubbing alcohol and then dabb of the excess on a paper towel.   Start swirling your design in small motions working on each color individually.  Be sure to allow a couple of minutes of dry time between each color.   Always get a new cotton swab when you move on to a new color. Tip: Hold the mug by making a fist then place your hand inside the mug so you are not touching the outside of the mug.  The ink is very deceiving after the alcohol is applied.  It will look dry but is still easily smudged even after a few hours of dry time.

Now the hard part,  waiting!  Let your mug dry for at least 12 hours before baking it, remember rubbing alcohol is highly flammable.  Once the mug has had enough drying time place it in a cold oven and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.   Open the oven and let it cool completely before removing the mug. Tip: It is very important to only bake it at this temperature and length of time when using colored sharpies otherwise the ink will fade. You will notice my iKat mug faded a little because I baked it too long at too high of a temperature.  I was disappointed initially but now that the project is finished I prefer the muted colors.

Note: The next step is crucial to making the image stand the test of time and dishwashers.   I made a sharpie mug a couple of years ago using only the baking method and I found that it didn’t hold up at all.

Once the mug has cooled completely apply a small amount of the Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge with a small foam brush.   The Mod Podge will streak a little, but I found that it only added to the mugs hand painted charm.    The bottle recommends applying 2-3 coats with 1-2 hours of dry time between each coat.  Mod Podge also recommends letting it cure for 28 day before running it through the dishwasher.

That’s it! It’s a relatively easy process and one that doesn’t have to be completed all at once.  I let my mugs sit for a number of days in-between each step with no repercussions.  Which makes it a great nap time project.

Are you ready to enter to win?!?

The Giveaway!

Pocketful of Posies has teamed up with Cleared Hot Coffee for a Memorial Day Giveaway!

We will be giving away one bag of Cleared Hot Coffee and two adorable Patriotic Water Color Sharpie Mugs that I made using the above technique.  The winner will be contacted by Pocketful of Posies via email and/or any social medial account(s) used to enter in the giveaway. For additional rules and information continue to scroll to the bottom of this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Additional Giveaway Rules and Information

Once the winner has been contacted by Pocketful of Posies their winnings will be sent to the address provided by the winner.  This prize cannot be traded or exchanged for cash value.  Once the package has been sent in the mail the winner will receive the USPS tracking number.  Pocketful of Posies and Cleared Hot Coffee will make every preparation to make sure the prize arrives safety however neither company or their owners are responsible for the condition of the package or it’s contents once it has been placed in the mail.    There is no purchase necessary to enter this raffle and your personal information will not be sold or redistributed to any other companies.

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out our latest project!  I would love to hear what you’ve been up to in the comments below!

Shop my styleIf you like the look of my Watercolor Sharpie Mugs I’ve rounded up  few fun watercolor coffee mugs just for you!

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If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends, remember sharing is caring!

DIY sarpie mugs that actually last - Pocketful of posiesA few more great reads


70 thoughts on “DIY: Easy Watercolor Mugs (And A Cleared Hot Coffee Review + Giveaway)

    1. Thank you Amy! I really like that they are looking out for our troops and sending them a little bit of home too!

  1. Awesome project!
    Did you let your mug cure for 28 days before using it? And do you bake it after you put the modge-podge on too?

    Kristin //

    1. Hi Kristin!

      They are still curing but I can tell you I have been using them and hand washing them. I can tell you they are already holding up way better than Sharpie mugs I have made in the past using only the baking method. I only baked before applying the Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge not after. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!


  2. I love your pattern ideas! I’ve seen lots of ideas for sharpie words, but never patterns like this. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This project is wonderful, thank you for sharing. Thank you for information about Cleared Hot Coffee.

  4. This is seriously the coolest idea of DIY mugs I’ve seen! I can’t wait to try this out!

  5. These mugs are SO pretty! I have a couple that I bought forever ago to draw on, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. This idea really has me inspired, though!

  6. I’ve never seen this technique before and I love it! I’ll definitely be trying it out. I’ve used sharpies on mugs before, but they always wash off after a few months. Maybe the dishwasher safe mod-podge is the secret I’ve been missing! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    Olivia (

  7. This technique is SO STINKIN’ COOL! I’ve tried using just the straight-up Sharpie writing on white mugs, but I nearly broke my microwave trying to convection oven it to completion. This has such a cool look to it…seems like it’d be the best personalized gift!


    1. Thank you Erica! I hope you give it a try! I would love to see the design you come up with! There are so many great directions to go in!


  8. Your mugs are just divine! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful creativity on The Inspiration Board at homework.
    Have a wonderful and creative day!
    carolyn ~ homework

  9. I love this idea! Your final watercolor effect is stunning. Definitely trying this out in the future, so thanks for the great tutorial and tips! Oh, I’m also featuring you at this week’s Merry Monday! Thank you for linking up with us, and we hope you’ll join us again! 🙂

  10. Love these mugs!!! Thanks for sharing at the Motivational Monday party last week – I hope you’ll swing by and join us again this week!


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