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DIY Watercolor Mug

My mother is an amazing artist, and her favorite medium to use is watercolor. She would take me to the beach when I was little, and I can remember watching her paint the sky and the sea as I played in the sand close by. Watercolors are kind of like a force of their own. The pigments and water blend together to create a swirling ombre palette, and it’s hard to tell which way the color will move next.

I purchased some porcelain white mugs, and I wanted to see what would happen if I used a watercolor technique on them. The result is beautiful and simple, and you can use the mugs to sip a hot drink, or place around as a decor element. Here’s how I did it…

watercolor supplies

What you need:

Porcelain Mug

Porcelain Paint




paint mug

It doesn’t take much work to start getting the watercolor effect on your mug. Take a wet paintbrush, and dip it into whatever color porcelain paint you desire. The more water you add, the more the color will run. Start painting your mug. I started at the top and let the paint drip down to the bottom.

watercolor plate

Once your mug is completely painted and dry, place it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. This will allow the porcelain paint to bake so it doesn’t chip or come off when washing. Make sure all stickers are off of your mug before baking it!

watercolor mug in hand

And there you go! I love how organic the running colors look.


Aside from using the mug to drink from, you can also use it to hold dried flower petals, or use it to store rings or other jewelry on a dresser. It’s fun to create pretty little vignettes with these around your room.

watercolor mug decor

Have fun!

More DIY ideas from the BLDG 25 Blog.

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Hillary Mitchell -March 20, 2014, 7:45AM

my sister is getting married and I want to put together a handmade home ware basket for her, so putting these on the list!!

Lauren -March 20, 2014, 8:47AM

This is absolutely beautiful! So, so beautiful.
Thank you for this!!!

Grace | The Big Reveal -March 20, 2014, 9:39AM

I have been trying to come up with a dish to put in my bathroom to hold my rings and other jewelry, but haven’t been able to find anything in the right color. This is such a perfect idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

Juliette Laura -March 20, 2014, 10:38AM

Oh wow these are gorgeous! Definitely making some!

Sabra -March 20, 2014, 11:34AM

I may have to try this for a going away gift to my supervisor. Beautiful look and very unique. Thank you for sharing this!

Sabra -March 20, 2014, 11:35AM

I may to try this for a going away gift to my supervisor. Beautiful look and very unique. Thank you for sharing this!

Tiffany -March 20, 2014, 11:56AM

SO beautiful and seem pretty simple!! I love watercolor and do most of my drawings and such with it, so fun and creative!
Xx, Tiffany { }

Susan Jizba -March 20, 2014, 12:21PM

such a lovely project!!! I love the idea of picking your own color scheme to create such a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing.

Tori / My Om Life -March 20, 2014, 2:24PM

This has to be one of the most beautiful DIYs I’ve ever seen! So pretty! Thanks for sharing!

Much love,

Nicole -March 20, 2014, 2:59PM

love love lovee

Melody Sage -March 20, 2014, 4:39PM

Wow, gorgeous! I think this would also be cool overlaid on the patterns of vintage china. I am going to have to try it:)

Tereza -March 20, 2014, 5:33PM

These are beautiful! Lovely for gifts. Would also make great for candles

Katie -March 20, 2014, 11:11PM

These mugs are so gorgeous, I can’t wait to try making one!

xo Katie

Kelly @ Beauty and the Beach -March 21, 2014, 12:30AM

What a great idea! I love the idea of using it decoratively and more than just as a “cup.”

xx Kelly

Ella Wild -March 21, 2014, 8:17AM

can’t wait to give this ago. i needed something new to do… this winter is soo long.

Ella Wild xoxox

Visit my store at :
Or take a peek at my pinterest :

Barbra -March 21, 2014, 10:34AM

What a fun and simple way to make a pretty mug. A loooong time ago I got a white mug with the purpose of painting it. Then I forgot to do it. Now there’s no reason not to :)

Watercolor wallpapers and cases:

Erin -March 21, 2014, 2:06PM

So pretty! I love watercolor paintings. I’m actually trying to teach myself how to use watercolors and totally having fun with it.


Alejandra -March 21, 2014, 11:03PM

I wanna try this, but I’m scared of ruining porcelain. Would this work on a ceramic mug and maybe acrylic paint, instead?

lynn -March 22, 2014, 10:36PM

Beautiful!! absolutely beautiful!!!!! Perfect for gifts!!! I love it!!! :D :D

Kelsi Adams -March 24, 2014, 7:58PM

I totally did this and it worked with glass paint, which was fun. Cheers. :)

Mary -March 25, 2014, 10:14PM

I love this idea, it’s such a great way to store my rings!

Sonya -March 30, 2014, 10:05PM

This is absolutely gorgeous! I love it drips down by itself to give it a natural look!

Stephanie -April 1, 2014, 9:53PM

Did this with acrylic and baked it at 325 for 25 minutes which worked perfectly! Melted wax inside and turned it into a candle too!

Stephanie -April 1, 2014, 9:54PM

Did this with acrylic paint and baked it at 325 for 25 minutes which worked perfectly! Melted wax inside and turned it into a candle too!

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inbar -April 21, 2014, 2:29AM

LOVE IT! Would it survive the dishwasher?

Kendall -April 23, 2014, 12:40PM

I’ve been trying to make these mugs but am having trouble finding paint that works! I tried the acrylic paint and bake for 25 minutes that a commenter said had worked but when I sat down to actually drink my coffee the paint rubbed right off! So disappointing. Where did you purchase the porcelain paint or what brand did you use?!

Justine -May 11, 2014, 5:53PM

Yes — where do I find this sort of porcelain paint, and what brand should I look for? Help!

Carla -May 27, 2014, 4:58PM

beautiful nailpolish, can you tell me the brand and the name of the color please?
thank you very much

Canecas bh -June 6, 2014, 7:54PM

creative ideas to personalize mugs to your taste, practical and useful

Eli H -August 1, 2014, 4:34PM

i would love to do this but haven’t had any luck finding the paint*… what brands or store should i look for?
i am located in LA.

thank you!

MandaMess -August 13, 2014, 8:03PM

you need to use enamel paint, or glass paint it is often called. you can find these at your local chain craft store (michaels, joanns, hobby lobby) and big box stores (walmart, kmart) martha stewart makes a line of glass paint and Plaid makes a line of enamel paints. acrylic paint will not stay on ceramic/glass/porcelain the way enamel paint does, since enamel paint is made for this type of project and the oven heat set makes it more permanent.

Amanda -August 20, 2014, 10:52PM

I just did this with some Ikea porcelain mugs and some Martha Stewart glass paints. They look beautiful, and after I baked them for 25 to 30 minutes they felt like the paint had set and dried nicely. I just went to wash one however, and with one fell swoop of my sponge, half of the paint came off. And I’m not even using fancy dish soap; I’m using doc bronners.

Any suggestions on how to make the paint stay? Is there a sealant I should use or should I soak the mugs in some kind of acid first to open up the pores in the porcelain first?

Any help would be much appreciated


Deb -October 8, 2014, 11:17AM

What a wonderful idea for making original, personalised mugs! I will most certainly give this a try, as my kitchen ware is rather boring and some personalised mugs would make it a little more interesting ;)

Amanda -November 8, 2014, 2:44AM

I’m going to give this a go with alcohol inks instead. Hopefully if I don’t go too strong I’ll still get the watercolor effect.

Noa Finken -December 27, 2014, 8:14PM

Are these dishwasher safe??

Samantha Snyder -December 29, 2014, 1:10AM

Is it a specific porcelain paint you use for the water color effect, or can it be any porcelain paint?

Purva -May 25, 2015, 3:09AM

What porcelain paint are? I am from India where can I get them?

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