Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stenciled Mug DIY

When it comes to blogging, I can talk about my favorite lipsticks, new ways to combat your skin woes, and the latest product launches all day every day. Trying new makeup, sharing my recommendations, and imparting some of my beauty wisdom is something I really look forward to doing, and don't anticipate wanting to stop anytime soon. Still, every once in a while I get an itch to liven things up a bit and write about something totally new and different. When I was doing my recent design overhaul I realized that in my sidebar mini bio I professed my addiction to craft projects, but have never actually shared a project idea here. What kind of a craft-a-holic am I?

To be honest, ever since I started blogging more regularly I've become increasingly neglectful toward my craft room. And while I love photographing and writing posts, I also miss being up to my ears in paint brushes and glitter and scrapbook paper. So, in the spirit of trying to invest my creative energies into something a bit more hands on, I thought I'd share a quick DIY with you all. This stenciled mug design is surprisingly easy to achieve, and only requires a few things from your local craft store.

Customized DIY mug projects have exploded over the past few years (who hasn't pinned at least one sharpie tutorial on Pinterest?). It's not without good reason - they're usually super cute! While a lot of them involve hand drawn designs, I know not everyone has got a knack for calligraphy or free handed artistry. In this mug design I utilize adhesive stencils, which still allow for some artistic flexibility without the pressure of needing to be perfect. A pretty nice compromise, if I do say so myself.

What you'll need:
  • A plain white mug
  • Adhesive stencils
  • Oil based paint markers (preferably with a fine tip)
I picked up my paint pens and stencils from my local Michael's although I'm sure you can find similar ones at any craft store. The pens I used are the Craft Smart Multi-Surface Premium Paint Pen (Fine Tip) in Black and Gold ($3.49). It looks like there's a whole rainbow of other colors available, too. Whatever you choose, just make sure that the paint is oil based and specifically made for use on porcelain. This will ensure that your design won't fade or wash off immediately (one of the biggest problems of using a sharpie). For the stencils I used the Martha Stewart Crafts Scrolls Adhesive Stencils ($8.99). There are many other adhesive stencil designs from this line in addition to the scroll one, so I would choose which ever set is calling to you!

You may also want to have some rubbing alcohol and q-tips or a fine pointed paint brush on hand for cleaning up any edges or rogue smudges around your design.

Once you've got all your supplies on hand, it's time to plan out your design! These adhesive stencils are great because you don't have to fuss with tape to hold them in place. I also find that they can mold to non flat surfaces (like a mug) much more easily than a traditional stencil. Since they can be easily removed, it's easy to play around with placement or try out different stencils until you figure out a look you like.

When you've decided on a stencil and where you want it to go, make sure it's adhered firmly in place. Smooth down any edges, especially around the smaller more intricate parts of the design. You don't want paint (as I have learned from experience) bleeding or leaking out under the stencil. Then it's time to color away!

If you want to do a more complex, multicolored design you may find it helpful to plan out your colors ahead of time. You could even make a small dot of the color you want to use in each corresponding area of the stencil before filling them in to ensure you don't accidentally put the wrong one there. For my mug I kept things pretty simple, sticking mainly to gold with small black accents. Looking at it now I kind of wish I had added a little more black to my design, but alas. Mental note for next time!

When applying your paint it's best to work in thin layers and build up as necessary. I found that the black marker is incredibly opaque with just one coat, while the gold metallic may need two. Make sure to let the first coat dry entirely before applying a second!

Once you've got your design complete and given a couple of minutes to set, carefully peel off your stencil and replace it to its plastic storage sheet.

For my design I wanted to incorporate multiple stencils, so as soon as I was done with round one I went ahead and stuck on the next set. If there's going to be any overlap of the second stencil on the first design I would make sure to wait at least 15 or 20 minutes to make sure the initial design is totally dry so you don't run the risk of accidentally ruining it.

And voila! Here's a closer look at my completed design! As you can see I was rushing a bit and probably didn't smooth down my stencil enough around the center part where there was some obvious black marker leakage. Unfortunately by the time I tried to fix it the paint was already dry and rubbing alcohol wasn't going to get it to budge. Alas, sometimes you've just got to embrace imperfection. There were also some areas of the design that looked a little bit sparse, so I decided to go back in and touch up as needed by hand. This is where having fine tipped markers comes in super handy!

Even just a few little extra touches of gold paint really made a huge difference in the completed look, and wasn't that difficult to do considering the pattern is already laid out for you. Just take your time and try to use a steady hand!

And that's pretty much it! How much easier can a DIY get? As far as I understand, your mug doesn't need any additional curing for the design to be permanent, although I would maybe wait 24 hours before I washed it just to be on the safe side. I also have not yet experimented with dishwasher safeness. If you're okay with the possibility of an experiment going terribly wrong, by all means try it out and let me know, otherwise I'd recommend hand washing. From the textures of the paints themselves, I'm pretty positive that the black (and any other normal colors) would hold up perfectly fine in the dishwasher. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the metallic paints are potentially more delicate and prone to scratching.

Also, in case you were wondering, the stencils are totally reusable and stay sticky pretty much forever, which makes them a really great craft investment. You could make a whole set of coordinating mugs to give as a gift or keep for yourself. Heck, you could just start stenciling anything and everything you set your eyes on. The world is your oyster!

Hopefully this little project brought a bit of crafty inspiration to you. If you decide to make your own stenciled mug I'd love to see a picture of your finished product! Tweet it at me or tag me on Instagram so I can check it out. Also, let me know if you would dig seeing other DIY type posts in the future. Obviously beauty reviews and whatnot will always be my primary focus, but I think it might be fun to step outside of the box once in a while! As always thanks for reading, and I will surely have more exciting things to share with you all soon.