What are ceramic mugs painted with?

A mug with your own design is a great way to give a personal touch to your breakfast or to make a nice and very personal gift to someone special. In this article, we will explain what ceramic mugs are painted with and how to do it at home in a simple way. You will see that it is easy and fun, but to do it correctly, you need to know the right materials and techniques.

What materials are needed to paint ceramic mugs?

To paint your own ceramic mugs, you will need the following materials:

  • Clean, dry ceramic mugs
  • Ceramic paints: enamels and acrylic paints
  • Brushes of different sizes
  • Mixing paddle
  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Alcohol or solvent to clean the mugs

What type of ceramic is suitable for painting?

When it comes to painting ceramic mugs, it is important to make sure that the surface is suitable for painting, this is valid for any other object, as you can also decorate trays or cups made of ceramic. It is advisable to use unglazed ceramic, as the paint adheres better to a porous surface. It is also important to make sure that the cup is clean and free of grease, dust or other residues, as this can affect the adhesion of the paint. If the mug is already glazed, the paint may not adhere properly and may come off easily. In this case, it may be necessary to use a special ceramic primer before applying the paint.

Below are some beautiful handmade works for you to paint and give them personality, making them your own.

Taza sin esmaltar para pintar

Unpainted handmade mug

Handmade from high quality Japanese clay by CentralCraftsCo.


taza ceramica blanca para pintar

Coffee mug for painting

Unglazed bisque piece handmade by Refsan Worldwide


Taza sin esmaltar en blaco para pintar

Mug ready to be painted

Original unglazed handmade mug for you to paint, by CentralCraftsCo


How to paint them

Although there are different techniques for painting ceramic mugs, the main steps are:

  1. Wash the mugs thoroughly with soap and water and dry them with a clean cloth.
  2. Clean the surface of the mug with denatured alcohol to make sure there is no grease residue or other contaminants that may affect the adhesion of the paint.
  3. If you want to create a specific design, you can use adhesive stencils to outline the design on the mug.
  4. Apply the paint with brushes of different sizes. It is important that you apply an even coat of paint and allow it to dry completely before applying a second coat.
  5. Once you have finished painting the mug, let it dry for 24 hours before baking.
  6. Place the mugs in the oven at the temperature indicated by the manufacturer and for the required time. If you don’t have this information, you can try it little by little, some people start directly 30 minutes at 150º C.
  7. Make sure that the cups are placed on a heat-resistant tray and that they are not in direct contact with the oven walls.
  8. Once the 30 minutes are up, turn off the oven and let the cups cool inside the oven. This will prevent the cups from breaking when they come in contact with the cold air.

What paint to use

There are acrylic ceramic paints available at craft stores that are specifically designed to adhere to the surface and withstand the heat of the kiln. These paints are usually less expensive than those specifically for ceramics and can be a good choice if you want to paint ceramic mugs as a home craft project. However, it is important to note that these paints may not be as durable as professional ceramic paints and may fade or peel with frequent use and washing.

You need to choose this type of paints wisely, as if it is not designed to withstand the heat of the kiln and may peel or flake off over time.

painting ceramic mugs


  • Before you start painting, make sure the cups are completely clean and dry.
  • Use brushes of different sizes to create details and special effects.
  • If you use glazes, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and bake the mugs properly so that the paint will set properly.
  • To help the acrylic paint adhere better to the ceramic, you can lightly sand the surface of the mug before you begin painting.
  • If you are going to use stencils or stamps to decorate your mugs, make sure they are clean and dry before using them.
  • Use bright, vibrant colors for a more eye-catching finish on your mugs.
  • If you want a more durable finish on your mugs painted with acrylic paints, you can apply a coat of clear sealer after the paint has dried completely.
  • Remember that mugs painted with acrylic paints should be hand washed gently and should not be used in a microwave or dishwasher.
Painting on a white ceramic cup
Painting on a white ceramic cup

How to care for painted ceramic mugs?

Once you have painted your ceramic mugs, it is important to take proper care of them so that the paint lasts longer. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Wash the mugs by hand instead of using the dishwasher. The heat and pressure of the dishwasher can damage the paint.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners or rough sponges, as they can scratch the surface of the mug and damage the paint.
  • Avoid placing mugs in the microwave, as the heat can damage the paint and ceramics.

By following these tips, you will be able to keep your painted ceramic mugs in perfect condition for a long time.


Now you know what to paint ceramic mugs with and the basic procedure. It’s a fun and creative way to personalize your dinnerware. By using the right materials and following the right steps, you will be able to create unique and long-lasting designs on your mugs. Be sure to take proper care of your mugs so that the paint lasts longer and you can enjoy them for a long time.

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