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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  1. 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.

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

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

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

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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?!

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

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

  10. hello,
    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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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


  13. 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 ;)

  14. 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.

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

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