How Do You Get Paint To Stay On A Mug?

Here’s one of those weird and wonderful statistics you occasionally stumble across: 60% of people are emotionally attached to their favorite mug. Keep this in mind when painting mugs as gifts; you wouldn’t want the paint to come off when the recipients of your gift mugs have grown attached to them!   

To get paint to stay on a mug, ensure it suits the material the mug is made of. After cleaning it with water or rubbing alcohol, paint the design in at least two layers. Finally, cure the mug by either air-drying it for 21 days or baking it in the oven.

Objects made from glazed and unglazed ceramic or glass are ideal for decorating and transforming into thoughtful and creative gifts. Once you have finalized the design and selected the material, you must choose the right paint. Then follow the steps here, and you will soon have ideal gifts for friends and family. 

How To Get Paint To Stay On A Mug

To ensure paint stays on a mug, you must pair the material it is made of and the paint correctly. Next, work on a thoroughly clean and dry surface and cure the mug for the appropriate time. Finally, always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.

Painting Glazed Ceramic Mugs That Will Last

Glazed ceramic mugs are popular, readily available, and affordable, making them ideal for decorating. Use acrylic enamel paint or oil-based marker pens, which will bond to various surfaces.

2 Steps To Make Sure Paint Stays On Glazed Ceramic 

Follow these steps and instructions on the paint or mugs to ensure that your painted decorations will last on glazed ceramic.

Step 1 – Prepare The Mug For Painting

Preparing the mug for painting is vital. A few simple steps could make the difference between a stylish-looking mug that will last a long time and a shabby-looking one with a shorter lifespan.

  • Lightly sand the area that you are going to decorate.    
  • Clean the area to be painted with a sponge and soapy water. You can also use cotton wool dipped in rubbing alcohol.  
  • Allow for the mug to dry completely. Don’t use a cloth to do this since that could only re-introduce fiber, dirt, or oils to the just-cleaned surface.
  • If you have decided on acrylic paint and not acrylic enamel paint, use a primer first to ensure the paint will stick.
  • Leave the primer to dry, following the manufacturer’s specifications.

Step 2 – Decorate The Mug, Bake, And Wait

Preparing the mug for painting may be essential, but decorating and baking are fun. Follow the steps below to ensure that paint stays on the mug for years.

  • Decorate the mug with your design using stencils or free-hand if you feel confident enough. 
  • Allow the paint to dry in a dry and well-ventilated area for 24 hours or more.
  • Place the mug in the oven and set the oven to 660 degrees Fahrenheit. By allowing the mug to warm up gradually, you will prevent it from cracking. 
  • Bake for half an hour to set the paint.
  • Leave the mug in the oven, turn it off and allow the mug to cool down completely before taking it out.

Methods Of Curing A Painted Glazed Ceramic Mug

You can air-dry the mug instead of baking it in an oven, as specified in the steps above, by leaving it in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area for 21 days.

How To Make Sure Paint Stays On Unglazed Ceramic   

Unglazed ceramic or ‘bisque’ fired clay has been fired once in a kiln. These are the best ceramics to use if you want to decorate with paint. It is very porous and allows the paint to stick very well.

Choose acrylic paint that is specially designed for use on unglazed ceramics. Several manufacturers sell acrylic paint recommended for ceramics, water-based and non-toxic. And if the acrylic paint is non-toxic, you can use it for decorating dinnerware or other items used to hold food. Note that you should not put acrylic painted objects in a kiln. 

4 Steps To Make Sure Paint Stays On Unglazed Ceramic

Follow these steps with any manufacturer’s labels to ensure that your paint will stick to glazed ceramic.

  • Clean the mug before painting since the ceramic could still have ceramic dust or other particles left after it has been created. Use a clean, soft-bristled brush for this.
  • Add small amounts of your chosen colors to a palette. Do not add too much; you can always add more if necessary. 
  • Start painting. You can use a good artist’s paintbrush or a sponge if you are creating textured designs. Apply two or more coats of paint but ensure every coat is dry before applying the next one.
  • After the paint has dried, seal the mug with clear acrylic spray, giving it a nice shine. A spray sealer is more convenient but toxic and should not be used.  

Selecting Paint That Will Stay On A Mug Made Of Glass 

Glass is more suitable for cold drinks and makes for excellent beer mugs, which lends itself to funny and funky painted designs. Beer mugs with unique designs can make great gifts for your beer-drinking, sport-loving friends. If you don’t have many of those, why not decorate wine glasses for your book club? Give your creativity free reign.

When selecting paint, keep the following in mind.

  • Use acrylic paint that is specifically intended for glass products. These paints have chemical additives that allow the paint to stick to a non-porous surface.
  • Glass painting markers and pens are easy to work with and come in various colors and tip sizes. Use oil-based markers to add to the longevity of your mugs.
  • Chalk paint for glass.

6 Steps To Get Paint To Stay On A Mug Made Of Glass  

After choosing the paint, check that the glass is suitable for baking in an oven. Then follow these six steps to paint the mug.

  • Clean the mug with warm water and mild soap. If necessary, rubbing alcohol can be used. Let the mug dry completely.
  • Paint your design onto the mug. If unsure about your design, practice on a paper cup first.
  • Allow the paint to dry. Read the manufacturers instructions for the specific amount of time required for drying. Some types of paint require up to 2 days to dry before baking.
  • Place the mug in the oven.
  • Heat the oven to 660 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Turn off the oven. Do not remove the mug before it has cooled off completely.  


Painting with high-quality paints made for glazed or unglazed ceramics or glass is the first step in ensuring the paint will last on the surface. Following the instructions here, in conjunction with the paint manufacturer’s instructions, will ensure that the paint will stick to the mug for a long time.


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