Nicole here, from the Wardrobe Code.
You know, I couldn’t understand less those who love to hate on Valentine’s Day.
Yes, it’s a commercial holiday, invented by greeting card companies. Yes, that feeling for your loved one should continue year-round. Yes, most Valentine’s Day candy is kind of gross.
(Although, you can never go wrong with either See’s or Godiva.)
But I actually quite like Valentine’s Day. Of course, I love my husband all year, but it’s like Valentine’s Day gives me a special day to declare my love – just in case he forgot. Maybe it’s also – at least, for us – that Valentine’s Day falls right after both of our birthdays, that makes it kind of special.
However, Valentine’s-haters will be glad to know that we don’t usually take the commercial card and candy route. Instead, for 7 years, we’ve opted to do things like write love notes and make dinner at home. We try to mix it up, do something different each year – but without any pressure. Valentine’s Day just seems to come easy to us.
But, this year, I wanted to do something a bit more special.
While on a recent trip to Goodwill, I browsed through the housewares section and noticed row upon row of plain white ceramic mugs. Instantly, I recalled a project I saw on Pinterest which involved crafting a custom design with a Sharpie marker.
And, just like that, my idea for Valentine’s 2014 was born.
How to Make a Custom Sharpie Mug
First, start with a plain white ceramic mug. Find the best quality you can – but any Goodwill of Orange County store should have plenty of good selection.
Next, gather up Sharpies in a variety of line weights, as well as rubbing alcohol to fix any mistakes you make. I use these small wipes, but a cotton pad or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol works just as well.
You definitely want to use a Sharpie-brand marker, because their oil-based ink works best for this application.
Next, you want to choose what kind of design to put on your mugs. Since I’m doing a Valentine’s “his-and-hers” type gift this year, I chose monograms.
Monograms are a good choice for any gift for a variety of reasons. First, they’re not related to any season or holiday – so they can be enjoyed year-round. And also, monograms are so personal that the item usually becomes a treasured gift for the recipient.
To find monogram examples, I just went to Google.
From there, you just have to put pen to mug. I like to draw fine guidelines around the design which I can erase later with rubbing alcohol.
Here’s a secret: don’t sweat making this look perfect – because it never will. The whole idea behind these mugs is that they look handcrafted. So don’t put all kinds of pressure on yourself to produce something which looks like it was made in a factory.
It won’t happen and you’ll just be disappointed. So let go of any expectations of perfection, and just roll with creating an imperfect design.
Now, onto my mug.
Since I gave my husband a very masculine monogram, I wanted to make mine a bit more feminine and really capitalize on the “loopy” L of my last name.
However, to avoid making a monogram that was a giant, scripty mess, I chose to make my first and middle names in a plain, serif font.
Once you’ve finished your mug design, you’ll need to set the ink in the oven. Here’s how you do that:
- Place the mugs on a cookie sheet and place in a cold oven
- Turn on the oven to 425 degrees and bake for 30 minutes
- After the time is up, turn off the oven – but do not remove the mugs until they have completely cooled – otherwise, they could crack or shatter. Wait at least an hour to avoid a dangerous mess.
See, like I said – there’s no point in aiming for perfection here. Besides, it’s not a bad thing; this mug is pretty much the gown-up equivalent of a construction paper Valentine card, festooned with glitter and macaroni.
It’s the thought that counts. But, this time, you can pour your coffee in it.