DIY: Monogram Mugs

November 22, 2010

DIY monogram mug

Friends! I’m so pleased to share our first gift DIY of the season. Maude made these fantastic monogrammed mugs over the weekend. Don’t they look terrific? The idea came when we saw these fun initial cups at Anthropologie and remembered our kitchen was lacking in hot cocoa mugs. We decided to create a whole set.

It’s a very doable project. Inexpensive. Eco-friendly. And family-friendly too — these mugs are dishwasher safe. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

1) We started with a trip to Goodwill, where we collected 8 plain white mugs. Enough for the entire family. There was even a little one without a handle that we thought would be perfect for baby food for June. Mugs were 50 cents each and we had dozens and dozens to choose from.

DIY monogram mug

2) Then we gathered supplies. Scissors, pen, tape, graphite transfer paper, Black Pebeo Porcelaine Pen in Fine Point ($4 at Michaels, also available here) and a print out with the family’s initials.

For the font, I had something very specific in mind. I love the look of this Sketch Block Font and had it mentally filed away as the sort of thing a kid could replicate well — because it’s inherently imperfect. For this project, it worked like a charm! Since we were adding our own sketchiness, I started with a similar, but non-sketchy Rockwell font. Look for any slab-serif font (with names like Egyptian or Glypha) and they should work equally well.

3) Cut out an initial and a piece of transfer paper. Tape the initial and the transfer paper (dark side down) to the mug.

DIY monogram mugDIY monogram mug

4) Trace the initial. Any pen or pencil will work and you’ll want to experiment with different pressures to see what’s best. You’ll just need a light outline. If you want, you can make your own transfer paper by rubbing a graphite pencil all over a sheet of plain paper.

DIY monogram mugDIY monogram mugDIY monogram mug

5) Take your Porcelaine pen and trace over the lines of the initial. Get the edges nice and thick then fill in with diagonal sketchy strokes. A few notes:
- The sketchy strokes look best if they’re all one direction.
- The pen didn’t produce very smooth lines for us — which was fine because of the sketchy nature of the lettering. But later, I tried a red Porcelaine pen and produced very smooth strokes. So, I’m thinking my black pen was an old, dried out one. Who knows? This was my first experience with Porcelaine, so I’m not sure.
- It helped to have a blank paper handy where we could test the paint pen.
- We definitely got better at it as we practiced. So plan on it. Until it’s baked, the paint will scrub right off in soap and water. We redid mugs at least 4 times.

DIY monogram mugDIY monogram mug

6) Once the lettering is done, let the mugs sit for 24 hours. Then bake them at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. It’s fine to bake them with graphite residue. The graphite will wipe right off even after they’re done baking.

DIY monogram mugDIY monogram mugDIY monogram mug

7) And that’s it! Once they’re baked, they’re done. We pulled them from the oven, wiped them up and they were ready to go. For fun, we filled cellophane bags with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows and put them in the mugs.

DIY monogram mug hot cocoa packagingDIY monogram mug

The project turned out so well that it has my mind spinning with other possibilities. Maybe we’ll make a monogrammed mug for their teachers with a Starbucks card inside. Or a matching 2-cup set for Grandma and Grandpa. Fun for Christmas, but equally fun for other events too.

What do you think? Is this a project your kids would enjoy? Are the mugs cool enough that you would buy one in the store if you saw it for sale?

Need more sibling gift ideas? We made several fun projects this year: Bleached Out TeesBottlecap MagnetsCustom Leather Patches and Photo Snowglobes. You can also find a list of projects from past Christmases here.

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{ 194 comments… read them below or add one }

1 steph t. November 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

oh my gosh… what a wonderful idea!!! my homemade christmas list for everyone is getting longer and longer! ;) and i couldn’t be happier!!

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2 kalanicut November 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Oh hooray. I always love seeing your family’s fantastically creative holiday DIYs. So impressive every year. This is definitely something fun you could do have all sorts of experimental fun with. Thanks for sharing!

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3 Peggy November 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm

easy peasy, simple, fun and quick!I like that very much… I still have some white cups lying around, thank you!

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4 Debra Norton November 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I love this idea and can’t wait to use it with my kids. This will make a great Christmas gift for Grandparents. Thanks!

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5 Erin November 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Love, love these homemade-Christmas-gifts posts. Does baby June get her own cup, too? :)

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6 Erin November 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Did a more thorough reading and answered that myself. Clever, clever. I love that you riffed off of Anthropologie. Lots of pretty things, but also for pretty prices. Goodwill, though? That’s my speed.

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7 Anne November 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Brilliant! Maybe I can get my son to help me with this one…

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8 becki November 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm

We also have the tradition of homemade sibling gifts, and mugs have been on my list for a few years. I have had a few ideas: pictures of each person on the mug, the inside painted a different color for each person, etc. Your monograms are a terrific idea and look great.

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9 Bridget November 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

LOVE IT!

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10 Sara November 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Perfect!! I was just thinking my kids really needed their own special hot cocoa mugs (i.e., not my favorite pottery ones ;)!)…this is a GREAT idea!

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11 Jan @ Family Bites November 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Awesome, Gabby! My hubby and I have the monogrammed mugs from Anthropology but the kids don’t have them. I think I just found a gift to make them. Thank you, thank you!

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12 Jessica November 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Awesome Project. Kids and I will have tons of fun making these for their teachers! Oooh what about Mustache mugs?

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13 Amy@Let's Explore November 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

So fabulous! I can see so many variations on this project, too – maybe holiday mugs with scribbled-in stockings, trees, gingerbread men, etc. What fun!

Thanks for the step-by-step info…. :)

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14 Damaris @Kitchen Corners November 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I think this is my favorite post ever. Good job Maud, and thanks for sharing your beautiful idea. I am definetly making these for Christmas. Question, is the pen totally safe? Could I have my son draw on a plate and then we eat from the plate?

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15 Katie November 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm

What a nice idea! Thank you for sharing – I love this. :)

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16 Anna Lewis November 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Wow – I love that! The fact that the cups are all different makes it even better. I think these would make great stocking stuffers, too!

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17 Marisa November 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

This is such a great idea. I have TONS of cocoa mix leftover from a recent baby shower. I see these as teacher gifts, for sure, with the mugs designed by the kids. I’ll probably have to pick up a couple extra mugs, because I’m sure the kids will want to make one for themselves, too!

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18 Crista November 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm

I loved this idea! We’ve been trying to come up with creative, fun and relatively inexpensive gift ideas for Christmas, and this definitely fits the bill. Thanks!

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19 Heidi November 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I love this idea! TY

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20 Ashlea Walter November 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm

These are fantastic! I might just have to add some homemade peppermint marshmallows for adults… Wonderful idea!

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21 Anneliese November 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Love the mugs! Love the mismatched ensemble! Great idea.

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22 Kim Yamaguchi November 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Do you think that you could use stencils and the pens and avoid the transfer paper all together? These are really cool and I have a lot of ideas for presents now, so thank you!

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23 Happenstance November 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm

The cutest and coolest DIY ever! Great job Maude!:)

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24 Veeda November 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I love the effortless DIY projects you have. The cocoa in the mugs makes this present so perfect. Bravo!

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25 Gandhali November 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Wow, these look store-bought! Can’t wait to see all the sibling gifts, esp. the ones for Flora June! :)

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26 LobotoME {goods to keep ME sane} November 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

awesome idea!!!

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27 Carolyn November 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I love this! I am definitely making mugs for all my friends for Christmas and Hanukkah this year!

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28 Kate The Great November 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Dang, girl. I love this idea. But then again, I love many of the ideas you have. My favorite element is that all the mugs are different shapes and sizes, but all white.

I’m going to bookmark this using Del.icio.us. Which you also introduced me to. Yup; you’re my go-to girl for happiness and tingling in the brain.

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29 Zandri November 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Brilliant! Maude obviously inherited your creative & design streak. I’ve been wanting to use the Sketch Block font for something for ages. Love it. Thanks

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30 Kate The Great November 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

And to answer your question: No, I wouldn’t buy it if I found it in a store. They’re cool enough to buy in the store, and I’m sure I could find things like this, but part of the coolness is that each mug is a different size and shape. I highly doubt any supplier in a brick-and-mortar store would go through the trouble of making every letter of the alphabet in many different sizes and shapes.

Nothing made in a factory, anyway.

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31 Kate November 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Love these, can’t wait to make them for christmas presents this year!

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32 Naomi November 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm

totally awesome and very cute! good job, maude! (and mom!)

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33 stacey November 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm

what a fun idea…i LOVE it! thank you, thank you for sharing! will definitely be attempting…possibly later this week? :)

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34 barbara@hodge:podge November 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm

WOW! Brilliant idea! I am bookmarking this one!

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35 Michelle November 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm

AMAZING! And on so many levels, my favorite being that Maude was involved and every time she sees her family use a mug, will be so happy knowing she helped make them.

Just wonderful.

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36 Allison November 22, 2010 at 7:15 pm

love this idea these are great. FYI I used to do a lot of gift making with those porcelaine pens and I always found that different colors had different levels of tackiness. The darker colors always tended to be stickier for some reason that the lighter ones. That could be why your red pen was different. I might have to dust off my box of those paints!

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37 Kira November 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm

This is a great idea, I’m totally going to use it for gifts this Christmas. Thanks!

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38 Jenny November 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm

I love this! Thanks so much for the tutorial!

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39 Heather November 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Great job, Maude! Your sibs will love this gift. I want one, too! I am adding this to my list. My Anthropologie was out of my letter. Now I can makey own!

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40 Erin @ Letter Soup November 22, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I can’t wait to try this! I love the different sized mugs, too. Great idea!

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41 Andrea November 23, 2010 at 5:24 am

I love this project!! I know my almost 9 year old would enjoy doing something like this. We may give it a try. Thanks for sharing!!

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42 courtney November 23, 2010 at 6:50 am

Oh how lovely!! I can’t wait to make with my kids! I may even try to do their handprints on a plate using this technique! So fun! Thanks for your wonderful DYI!

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43 Larri November 23, 2010 at 7:02 am

These are fabulous! I would be thrilled if you would link this to my Thrifty Christmas Challenge. It is sure to be quite an inspiration to many bloggers. Thanks for sharing! :)

Larri at Seams Inspired

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44 Tanya November 23, 2010 at 7:18 am

Great idea and I love that you filled them with hot cocoa and mashmallows

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45 Renata November 23, 2010 at 7:24 am

That’s a great idea! Tanks for sharing!!!

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46 deborah@applesinwonderland November 23, 2010 at 7:54 am

love these. i want to do these with my kids and nieces. maybe after a big turkey dinner?

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47 ...just Beachy in the burbs November 23, 2010 at 8:06 am

This is SO cool! I absolutely love this idea and would love to do this for all of our daughter’s PT/OT’s as thank you gifts for Christmas. Thank you for sharing all the pic’s – that’s a big help!

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48 Marcela November 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

My son made me a mug for Mother’s Day last year! It is my favorite favorite cup!!!!

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49 Gisela November 23, 2010 at 8:36 am

And… just like that, with your innovative magic the mugs are waaaaay prettier and more heart-warming than the Anthropologie ones. Beautiful.

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50 Alison November 23, 2010 at 8:37 am

I love this idea! I was thinking of taking the kids to a pottery place to paint a mug with their handprints, but now I’m thinking that this technique will work!

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51 Sandra Gonzales November 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

I love the idea of going to the Goodwill for the mugs. You save money and repurpose items that others gave away. Love it, love it, love it!

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52 Treva November 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

Love with a capital LO! This is perfect – I’ve been thinking of making special plates and mugs for a while and not totally sure where to start. But of course every great projects starts at Goodwill. LOVE!

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53 mamalang November 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

These would be awesome teachers gifts, and cheap enough to make for all the middle school teachers my daughter has. Awesome!

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54 Carrie H November 23, 2010 at 11:16 am

This is EXACTLY what I had planned for my kids teacher gifts. I have the red mugs sitting on my kitchen counter just waiting for the monograms. I wasn’t sure about what paint to use, so this was helpful to know your experience with it! Thanks!

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55 Mrs B November 23, 2010 at 11:32 am

Thank you for the inspiration. I have made shaving soap for gifts and the plain mugs were bugging me. Now I know how to finish off my gifts.

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56 natasha November 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm

These are wonderful!

Not sure if someone asked this before but how did you make the stickers? My DIY this year for christmas gifts (my two year old is not quite big enough to make these ;-) is going to be mason jars full of homemade granola and I would love to top off each jar with stickers like these.

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57 Emily Ballard November 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

What a great DIY project! My girls each received Missus monogrammed mugs as birthday presents from my sister (the perfect gift for a little girl!) I have also given them as wedding presents. . . the bride’s in Missus and a regular one for the groom.

I like looking at everything in Anthropologie, and I always walk out of there with a new mug to give to someone. . . mostly because it’s the only thing I can afford!

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58 here be dragons November 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

A great project! I love it.

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59 Kristen E November 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm

This idea is FANTASTIC! :) We’re big handmade people, so this is definitely going on my list of future projects. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

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60 kiera November 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm

asldkfjsad asldkfja !!!! I’m so speechless. That’s great. I’m doing it. (sorry, maude.)

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61 kimberly November 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm

awesome sauce. really. maybe even I could pull this one off!

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62 jules p November 24, 2010 at 10:19 am

These are AMAZING. And they have an expensive look to them. I never would have guessed that they were from goodwill. Thanks for sharing. I am making these.

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63 me007 November 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm

love the idea. i found similar fonts free called Manuscrit Regular font — Created in by CloutierFontes free at
http://www.fontspace.com/cloutierfontes/manuscrit-regular
you can also just draw your own…

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64 Maryanne November 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I love the cups! I would love to try having my oldest make these for our family. Question for you: how to you go about making sibling gifts without the others seeing what’s going on? Do you have the maker stay up later than the others?

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65 Julie November 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Those are great!

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66 Celeste November 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Love this!! Okay. You totally inspired me. I teach kindergarteners – and I’m always looking for fun crafty-type gifts that the children can make for their parents for the holidays. I’m thinking this would be perfect for Mother’s Day. Maybe I can find tall, travel-size ceramic mugs?? The kids could definitely trace a design… and they would love that we bake them!!

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67 Maggie November 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

I am going to use this for my first grade student’s for their parent’s holiday gift. I am always struggling for something that is for all religions. This is going to be so cute!!!! Thank you!

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68 Erin @Blueprints of a Southern Belle November 28, 2010 at 8:05 pm

BINGO! found this years Christmas DIY’s….sure beats painting ornaments!

Thanks :)
Erin

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69 Jeni November 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

These are amazing! Love!

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70 Ginger November 30, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I’m knee deep in the middle of this project, I love it so far. Although, the black pen is bugging me. Maybe I just picked up a bad pen, but I’ve been trying to paint the same mug for 1 1/2 hours! I think I’ll try a different color tomorrow.

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71 Ginger December 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

Okay, I’m back. I went to Michael’s this morning and bought a different marker with a more blunt tip. Maybe it’s the fine tip markers are harder to get going? I just did a mug with this new marker and it took me 10 minutes. Phew! thanks for the great idea!

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72 Amy December 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm

We just did almost the same thing for the kiddos in our family!

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73 Michelle Mecchi December 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I really don’t know how you do, what you do. AMAZING! I need to take a workshop from you. I have three kids and can’t even get through my laundry pile, let alone accomplish what you do on a daily basis with SIX! I love your blog! It’s one of the first that I strated looking at about two years ago, this is my first time commenting, and I look it over most everyday since. Very inspiring. Thank you!

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74 Katie @ Not Just Decorating December 3, 2010 at 7:11 am

I love this! Thanks for sharing. I am featuring it at Not Just Decorating. Feel free to grab a featured button if you’d like and have a great day :)

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75 Marta December 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

How is that I didn’t see this ones before…I love them!

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76 Lisa Vanderwal December 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

Love it! I am going to see if I can find some time to do this as a additional gift for my son’s preschool therapists.

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77 Ashley Johnson December 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I’m trying to do this…Question: How did you get the font printed up so large? I am using the Rockefeller font and the largest I can get is a 72 & it looks to small on these mugs. Ug. Anyone?

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78 vermontmommy December 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm

If like mine is shows up to 72 but you can type in whatever size you would like. :)

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79 susannah December 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

this is brilliant. for younger ones it would work for them to just draw freehand without a letter, right?

we are trying to come up with gifts to make instead of buy and i LOVE the ideas you have been posting.

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80 Mary December 9, 2010 at 10:48 am

LOVE IT! I hope I am half as creative of a mother as you. Love the fact that you have them MAKE presents for their siblings. Much more personalized. Ak, can’t wait to make some mugs!!

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81 jody December 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Awesome! Love that you got the mugs from Goodwill, and that they are all different! Looks most impressive when you have a big family to create mugs for :)

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82 Mel December 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Thank you for the instructions. I finally found some time to make some for my “hand-made Christmas”. They turned out great.

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83 Kira December 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I followed this tutorial of yours and it worked perfectly, thanks!

http://kiralynnpdx.blogspot.com/search/label/DIY%20Christmas

-Kira

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84 Jane Cato December 28, 2010 at 9:24 am

Cute idea! Thank you for sharing. ♥

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85 Denise December 29, 2010 at 9:39 am

I did something similar this Christmas. Rather than using carbon paper, I rubbed the back of the paper I wanted to trace with a pencil and then traced the front. It worked great and saved money!

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86 Sarah December 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

This is awesome! You should post this over on Instructables.com. There’s a contest right now that this would be perfect for!

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87 Leigh December 30, 2010 at 6:22 pm

oh, I wish I had seen this before Christmas! I love it!!!

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88 Kori December 30, 2010 at 8:24 pm

So cute! I can’t wait to try them.

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89 Brittany December 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I love this idea! Are the cups dishwasher safe? Will the letter come off when you wash it? Just curious. Thanks!

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90 Wendy December 31, 2010 at 7:51 am

Love this! Though I have to say that I also love the look of the transferred graphite before you even started coloring in with the pens. Too bad that look would be too hard to do.

I’ve used those pens before (well, the glass versions), but forgot how fun they are.

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91 Lori December 31, 2010 at 9:55 am

Wow these are great! I wish I had seen this before Christmas but, I do know a bunch of people with birthdays coming up… wheels turning in mind…

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92 Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d January 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I love your initial mugs! I made a set of painted mugs for bridal shower gifts using a similar technique:

http://ourhumbleabowed.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/mug-shot/

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93 Kristin Kinser January 6, 2011 at 9:22 am

I loved your mug idea. I love simple, graphic craft projects! We had LOTS of family staying with us for the week of Christmas. So, I made everyone a mug with their initial on it – it saved us a lot of trouble trying to remember who put their coffee mug down where each morning! At the end of the week, everyone got to take their mug home with them.

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94 Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish January 29, 2011 at 6:47 am

Love these!! Fantastic idea!! I just shared it in my post 10 Great Monogram Projects!!! I want to do some of these for gifts for sure!

http://frugalflourish.blogspot.com/2011/01/ten-monogram-craft-ideas.html

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95 Jessica @ This Blessed Life January 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Oh my heavens, I love these. I found you over at Frugal With a Flourish and I’m SO glad I clicked over. Brilliant!

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96 Kathy June 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

Do you know if these are microwave-safe?

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97 jan July 8, 2011 at 8:44 am

soooooo cute. i am going to make these for our family. we already have white mugs. i am all about the monograms. thanks for the idea.

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98 Amanda August 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Super easy to make, Also, these look WAAAAAAAAAY better than the originals. Seriously, good job.

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99 Pati @ A Crafty Escape August 19, 2011 at 1:34 am

I love this and I know my kids would love making them!

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100 Kara August 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

LOVE LOVE L O V E these!! This is going to be our teacher, therapists, bus drivers, grandparents, aunts, uncles.. it’s our gift across the board! FANTASTIC!! I’m excited about this!! Thanks for sharing!!

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101 Sarah September 1, 2011 at 7:32 am

I would definitely buy these!! So cute! :)

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102 Addison September 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I love this idea! The ‘sketchy’ design turned out great, can’t wait to try it myself.

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