Painting your own mug is fun, relaxing, and you can be creative! With paints in hand and a blank mug in front of you, one question remains: what should I paint? We find inspiration in many forms; nature, food, cartoons, books but if you're stuck for ideas, our article can help.


Explore our hefty list of fun mug painting ideas. There's something for everyone, from a cute cat face to an intricate mandala. And the best part is, they're all free! You'll learn how to create these gorgeous designs step-by-step with the help of a range of talented designers.

Are you wondering what you need to paint a mug? We've listed our favourite tools and some ideas alongside them that you can use for mug painting, including pens, paints and brushes.

Looking for more exciting arty projects? Try our paint by number kits, free macrame patterns or the rug-making kits for a unique project.

What kind of paint can I use on a mug?

Acrylic paint is best to paint onto ceramic, once you have left it to dry it will be permanent. To ensure it does not wash away and is dishwasher safe you can put it into an oven during pre-heating and leave for 25-30minutes at 200 degrees, then leave to cool in the oven.

How do you permanently paint a mug?

To ensure the paint doesn't wash away the mug can be baked to set acrylic paint.

Mug painting ideas: What you need

Find out exactly what you need to start painting mugs right away. We've listed the top kit from trusted retailers so you can get painting today.

1. Acrylic pens

These are a must-have for painting intricate and detailed designs, they are easy to use, highly pigmented and ideal for drawing your designs right onto your ceramic mug. In the set, you'll receive 12 vibrant colours, and if you want to use them for other crafty projects, they will paint on just about anything, including glass, wood, plastic, mirrors and chalkboards. So you won't run out of projects to use these upon.

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mug painting - pens

2. Plain mugs

It goes without saying to do mug painting you need a mug. Really you can use any plain white ceramic mug you might have already, but if you want to make a set like the pros then it is worth investing in a set of matching white mugs. We adore these ones from Malacasa which have an almost heart-shaped handle.

mug painting - mugs

3. Ceramic paint in a pot

If you prefer the paint and brush method these paints will work well on your mug painting project. With 12 lively and bright colours, these paints are ideal for ceramic and will even show up on darker surfaces. These paints will be permanent after 72hrs of drying time.

mug painting - pots

4. Fine-tipped paint brushes

Perfect for detailed mug painting these fine brushes will allow you to easily create even the most intricate patterns and designs. With almost 15 thousand positive reviews, you don't need to just take our word for it, have a browse through the reviews and see for yourself! In the pack, you'll receive 6 brushes of varying sizes.

mug painting - fine

5. Wider tipped paint brushes

If you're looking to make larger brush strokes or paint a larger surface area of your mug quickly then using a wider brush will make the job quicker and easier. These brushes come in a pack of 6 varying in size which should cover all bases. The brushes work really well for more abstract painting too!

mug painting brushes

6. Acrylic paint kit

If you want to just go all in and get the paints, brushes and mixing palettes all together then this one is the kit for you. Containing 36 colours it's a bargain price! You'll have everything you need to get painting on your favourite mug straight away.

mug painting - kits

7. Sharpies

If you prefer the method of using sharpies to paint on your mugs, they work just as well! They work particularly well for detailed painting like mandala patterns. In this set you'll receive 28 colours, so you won't be short of inspiration!


Mug painting ideas and inspiration

8. Sharpie mug painting idea

Do you have Sharpies to hand? Well, time to put them to good use and give your old plain mugs a new lease of life. This tutorial will show you how to create a modern, simple letter amongst lots of colourful dots! It is easy to create, and won't take you very long. Not to mention, they make wonderful gifts too for friends and family.

Get the full tutorial for the sharpie mug painting idea by Glued to my crafts

mug painting ideas - letter

9. DIY mandala heart mugs

Create these adorable hand-painted mugs (perfect for valentines) with just a few materials and give that special someone a joyful start to the day. You'll only need some blank white mugs, acrylic enamel paint and an oven to set the paint at the end - meaning it won't wash it away!

Get the full tutorial for the DIY heart mugs by Craving Some Creativity

mug painting ideas - heart

10. Midnight forest mug tutorial

Embrace your inner werewolf and celebrate the full moon with this lovely piece of artwork you can hold in your hand! Ryanne Levin will take you step by step through how to create this lovely mug, and lists out all the tools you will need.

Get the full tutorial for midnight forest mug by Ryanne Levin

mug painting ideas - midnight forest scene

11. Marbled mug painting tutorial

Create these delightfully modern marble mugs in just a few simple steps! They look pro but in fact, they are really easy to paint, and the trick is to blow through straw to spread the paint around. Check out the full tutorial below, plus you'll find a hot chocolate recipe, ready to use in your new mug!

Get the full tutorial for the marbled mug by The Country Chic Cottage

mug painting ideas - marbled mug

12. Paint stroke mug painting tutorial

Paint like a pro with these uber-modern designs by Rachel Mae Smith. Once you're finished these mugs will be dishwasher safe and the design will not come off! You can follow along with the tutorial and create these in no time.

Get the full tutorial for the paint stroke mug by Curbly

mug painting ideas - paint strokes

13. Geometric lined mug painting idea

We love this one! It looks so effective and modern yet it's so simple to do. You don't even need a paintbrush if you have a fine-tipped paint tube. This pattern is great too because it actually looks better when the lines aren't perfect, so there's really no need to worry about not having a steady hand.

Get the full tutorial for the geometric mug painting from Home Edit

mug painting ideas - geometric lines

14. Minimalistic mug painting idea

If you want to keep it simple, this might be the project for you! Using only a black porcelain pen you can doodle almost anything you like onto a blank mug. We love the little windmill for inspiration.

Find more inspiration like the minimalistic mug idea from Lana Red Studio

mug painting ideas - minimalistic

15. Racing car mug

Buying gifts for men can sometimes be super tricky, especially if they're fussy! If you know they love cars, this mug would be the ideal gift, plus it's handpainted so will be totally unique.

Find the full tutorial for the racing car mug from DIY Candy

mug painting ideas - racing car

16. DIY cat mug

Paint up this totally purrfect cat mug with simple faces and gold handles. This simple mug requires a fine paintbrush and a steady hand! But it is easy to paint and you can find the full tutorial over at Flamingo Toes!

Find the full tutorial for the DIY cat mugs from Flamingo Toes

mug painting ideas - cat

17. Paint dipped mug

You can't really go wrong with this one, grab a plain mug and dip it in your favourite colour ceramic paint, and voila! You have a fancy new set of mugs.

Find the full tutorial for the paint-dipped mugs from The Merry Thought

mug painting ideas - mugs

18. Raindrops teacup

Love having a hot cuppa indoors on a rainy afternoon? Well, you can enjoy that moment every time you have a tea with this lovely and quirky raindrops teacup design. Designed by Julie Schneider for the Etsy blog, you'll find out exactly how to recreate this lovely teacup!

Find the full tutorial for the raindrop teacup from the Etsy Blog

mug painting kit

19. Glitter dipped mug

Add a touch of glitz and glamour to your kitchen with this super sparkly painted mug. This is quick and easy to make and you'll only need a few materials (including your favourite glitter). It does need a long drying time though (around 28 days to fully cure). This mug will not be microwave safe due to the glitter.

Find the full tutorial for the glitter mug from White House Black Shutters

mug painting kit glitter

20. Monsters teacup

Paint your little monsters this quirky monster mug with only a black porcelain marker pen. With this tutorial, you'll find freebie templates and you'll be shown how to easily transfer them onto a mug of your choice. Why not make a set of 4?

Find the full tutorial for the monsters teacup from Crafts

mug painting kit monsters

21. Heart dots mug

Using mugs with heart-shaped handles you'll be able to make up these pretty yet simple mugs to bring a bit of love to the kitchen.

Find the full tutorial for the Heart dots mug from Bren Did

mug painting kit hearts

22. Fingerprint mug

Looking for the perfect gift for Mother's Day? Get the little ones involved and create this special keepsake for Mum or Grandma.

Find the full tutorial for the fingerprint mug at The Best Ideas for Kids

mug painting kit fingerprint

23. Polka dot mug

This lovely and modern mug is the perfect project for those who might not have the greatest drawing skills, but you'll still find yourself with a fabulously painted mug!

Find the full tutorial for the polka dot mug from The Crafted Life

mug painting kit dots

Are you looking for more fun and creative projects to get stuck into? Try out these easy rock painting ideas, or the decoupage for beginners. We also have how to make resin jewellery tutorial, resin is really fun if you have never tried it before! And if you like it we have lots more resin tutorials to choose from.


Katie Dolan
Katie DolanDigital Assistant, Gathered

Katie Dolan edits our needlework sections, focusing on our embroidery and cross stitch articles, as well as making videos for our arts and crafts projects. Katie runs her jewellery business, Ophelia Jewellery Art, on Etsy, where she sells beautiful resin-pressed flower earrings. She has a wide range of craft interests including embroidery – she particularly loves all things pop culture and a less traditional approach – The Simpsons and Rick & Morty are among her favourites to embroider. She has recently completed a silversmith workshop and hopes to expand her jewellery business with these new skills. When she’s not crafting, she’s usually fuelling her Harry Potter addiction with a Sunday film marathon and a couple of butter beers!

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