So before the whole Pinterest craze, I did a tutorial on how to make your own mug. My mugs have made wildly successful gifts. The older I get, the more I appreciate the thoughtfulness of handmade gifts. Aside from the fact that I'm a sentimental sucker, they're also great because they cost near to nothing and can be done by anyone no matter their artistic skill level. (Use a stamp or graphite pencil if you can 't draw so much as a stick figure, see my original tutorial here).
In the past I have always used Pebeo Porcelaine pens. (find the here) For my most recent mug however, I visited my local Michaels only to find that they no longer carry this product! In a bind (nearest Hobby Lobby an hour drive away, needed the project done NOW), I asked the sales associate if there was anything else she would recommend for such a project. She pointed me to the Sharpie oil-based paint marker (here) and referenced the ever-so-popular Pinterest mug project that has been circulating the internet, of which I was previously unaware (apparently I live under a rock). (They can be found here, here, and here).
The creative geniuses behind the Sharpie projects made the whole process look deceptively easy and delightfully cute. After doing a little research however, I found that people were having mixed results. After experimenting with both, here's my results. The Pebeo pen is totally permanent. I have run my mugs through the dishwasher probably over a hundred times and still no sign of fading or smudging. NONE. I didn't like the consistency of the Pebeo pen, it doesn't go on thick and it doesn't go on smooth. It takes a lot of meticulous work to get it on the way you want it. The thing I liked about the oil based Sharpie was that the consistency was soooo smooth. It was a delight to use. The paint went on thick and smooth as butter. BUT... it hasn't weathered the elements as well. It came with NO instructions at all. I baked it at 350
as a precaution. I handwashed it (as a test) before giving it out as a gift, and even then paint started flaking off. I wouldn't even think of running it through the dishwasher. There would be nothing left! And this was using the oil-based Sharpie, which is designed to mark permanently on glass and ceramics. After using this, I wouldn't even consider using a regular Sharpie (like the tutorial's recommend).
I still highly recommed the Pebeo Porcelaine pens. In fact, I swear by them. People on the internet say that they are "pricier", in reality they are about 2 dollars more than the oil based Sharpie. They run $7.20 on Dick Blick's, maybe even less if you visit your local art supply store. A small price to pay for something that will help you make permanent memories. The Pebeo pens are not that user friendly. It takes some practice to get your design to look right, but you gotta trust me on this one... it is well worth it.
I did like the Sharpie oil based marker... just not for a mug or anything that would need to be washed. I think it would be great for other projects. If you wanted to make some cute containers to hold sugar and creamer or decorate a porcelaine flower pot I think it would be the preferred marker. I love the way it marks. It is user friendly and goes on evenly and smoothly. I don't recommend it for mugs. Doesn't hold up under washings.
Hope this helps! I wanted to share my findings, because I think this is a fabulously easy craft that has endless possibilities. Your mug's gonna be awesome! Just make sure you have the right materials for the job.