Pinterest Test: Sharpie Mug — Fact or Fail?

Is the Sharpie Mug an epic #craftfail? Find out!

When our good friend The Pintester asked us to try a pin and see how it goes as part of The Pintester Movement, I KNEW I had to try the Sharpie Mug. So many crafters out there have tried the Sharpie Mug, with various degrees of success and failure.

Which camp do you think I fell into?

The Sharpie Mug Inspiration

The Sharpie Mug, as first posted on A Beautiful Mess

First, some background on the Sharpie Mug. This project first became popular through the adorable and aspirational lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess. Those girls just can’t do wrong! The project, published in June of 2012 as His and Her Sharpie Mugs, became a viral hit on Pinterest, and many crafters attempted to duplicate the project.

Although Elsie & Emma can do no wrong, their followers, it appears, CAN indeed do wrong. Search for “Sharpie Mug Fail” on Pinterest and you’ll get an eyefull.

Now I know for a fact this project CAN work. And I think I know where a lot of crafters go wrong. It’s a common CraftFail problem: doing a project without reading the instructions.

Since my suspicion is that a lot of the failers failed to read the directions, I decided to recreate this mistake to see if the project would fail for me too.

Note: If you want to make this project and NOT FAIL, Diyopolis has a lot of tips and tricks for the Sharpie Mug.

The Sharpie Mug: Pintertested

Here’s my Sharpie Mug after one washing in the dishwasher:

Is the Sharpie Mug an Epic Fail?

To make the mug, I just relied on the photo and caption I found on Pinterest: Just write on a dollar store mug with a Sharpie for a permanent, personalized mug!

I did NOT clean, bake, or otherwise try to positively influence the mug.

I wouldn’t call this an EPIC fail, although I am pretty sure the words will wear off further with each washing. In fact, I can kinda smudge the ink with my finger:

smudging the sharpie mug -

Next time, I’ll try it after I read the direction, but for now, I’m calling this version (my version) a craftfail.

So how about you? Have you tried any Pinterest projects? Are you ready to join the Pintester Movement?

16 Responses to Pinterest Test: Sharpie Mug — Fact or Fail?

  1. pintester says:

    Thanks Heather! I really appreciate it– and I’m glad all of us aren’t alone in our pin fails!

  2. Pingback: The Pintester Movement: Craft All The Things! | Pintester

  3. Cheryl says:

    I’ve tried this with varying success as well. I made several mugs that I bought from Ikea for $.99 and sent them all through the dishwasher first. Made sure my hands were clean before I started, and the mugs dry. On one I used sharpies, and made a really elaborate mug, including things on the handle. And on the other I used marvy uchida paint pens. Also super elaborate. I was POSITIVE the sharpies would fail lol. When I was done, I baked them at 375 for 45 mins, turned the oven off and let them cool inside. Tossed them both back in the washer, and clutched my heart when they were done, lol. The paint pen was perfect, no loss in color, or ink on the mug, and so was the sharpie…I used both of them for a week to see how they held up and washed several more times. The Sharpie certainly fades faster if you wash it in the machine instead of hand wash. And the high traffic areas that I dared to decorate as well are most certainly wearing quickly. BUT same with the paint pens which were rated for the material the mug is made out of. What I noticed is that the more I hand washed, the better it held up of course, and the more I avoided decorating on high traffic areas, the better it all holds up. Oil breaks down sharpies and paint markers. If you use lots of lotion, have oily skin in general, or even lip balm, all of these things break down the marker or the paint. And I can tell you that when I tried to correct an error on one mug by using acetone to remove it…speaking of epic fails, it did not do a darn thing to remove the paint lol. I think this is one of those crafts that requires a lot more thought than it’s simplistic posts on Pinterest suggest lol. Great post! Sorry it was fail-ish for you!

  4. Katie Lynn says:

    Honestly I just cannot see this as working. Part of the instructions say that it doesn’t seem to work on certain mugs (I’m assuming it has something to do with the original glaze). I just use my vitrea glaze pens (which I have had for years and still work perfectly) and bake them on. The pens can be a bit of an investment but if you purchase them with a coupon at a big craft store they’re really not that expensive.

  5. Darlene says:

    Oooh, I’m glad to know the Sharpie mug can work! I think I will have to try this now and also try to follow ALL the directions.

  6. xb says:

    I have wanted to make this for a while. It seems easy from the instructions, guess it is not as easy as it seems…

  7. Jamie Budak says:

    I tried this project and it worked nicely. I’m one of those people who researches projects to death before trying them though. I just wrote a post about it. I did it on glass though. So if all the fails have something to do with the glaze, that might be why it worked on glass.

  8. Sarah says:

    I wonder if these mugs would survive better if they were top-coated? Of course, it’s hardly a ‘Sharpie Mug’ if it involves top coat. Still, I like the idea of the Sharpie to do the art work, as I think it would be easier for a terrible artist (such as me) to achieve mediocre (rather than flat-out awful) results with a Sharpie rather than with paint and brush. I have a cupboard full of awfully boring plain white mugs so I might have to do some experimenting. :-P

  9. I tried this project multiple times, followed the exact directions, all on different finished mugs and each time the writing still washed off

  10. tinosoft says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

  11. pinnergilr says:

    you have to bake it at 450 in oven it usually should work, if not try again mine made it through the dishwasher.

  12. ezDesigner says:

    Pinergirl: You baked at a higher heat for the same amount of time?

  13. Lacey says:

    Hi.. So it is possible to use colored paint pens successfully?

  14. I hand painted glassware for a living and Sharpies do NOT work . I have tried this numerous times . They wash off even baking and glazing with a clear acrylic still does not protect the marker . I see this on pinterest everyday .. How embarrassing would it be if you gave these as a gift and they washed off. Please do not use these. Sounds easy but not permanent my job would be a breeze if this did work :)

  15. Emily says:

    I’ve made many of these and have not ice experienced an issue. My cousin has the one I made her a year ago and though it has some fade it still holds up. I think many people are too eager and don’t let the mug sit. I’ve always baked mine at 475 for 30 min and let them sit overnight. When I give them as gifts I always say it would be better to hand wash. Always used plain sharpies and never had a problem!

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