What Kind Of Paint To Use On Ceramic Mugs?

Painting customized mugs can be a fun and exciting way of matching your ceramics with your décor. However, deciding which type of paint to use on your mugs can be a daunting task, and you should make the decision carefully since you probably do not want to poison either yourself or your guests. Having taken that rather somber possibility into account, which types of paint would be best?

Non-toxic acrylic paints are some of the best options when painting ceramics. The paint is moisture resistant and long-lasting, making it suitable for various surfaces, including ceramics. Before purchasing your acrylic paints, it is advisable to check the label to make sure that it is non-toxic.

Acrylic paint is a great, hassle-free option for those venturing into the exciting world of ceramic painting as a hobby. You may have some questions about achieving the best results, so keep reading to find out more. Get creative and explore the colorful world of ceramic painting with acrylics.

Achieve The Best Results On Ceramic Mugs With Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is non-toxic, making it more suitable for ceramics than many oil paints containing toxins like lead. The downside of acrylic paint is that it can wear off from being constantly washed. Some preventive measures can protect and help keep this from happening.

Acrylic paint is water-based instead of oil paint consisting of pigment particles suspended in a slow drying oil. Before you start painting, you should gather all the necessary materials.

Nobody wants to start looking for items in the middle of a project only to find that you ran out of a particular paint color or your brush is broken. To avoid disaster and frustration, collect and arrange the following supplies neatly.

  1. Acrylic paints- For people starting, buying a pallet with a range of colors to choose from is advisable.
  2. Paintbrushes- Depending on the design, you might need a selection of brushes differing in size and shape.
  3. Tape- There are specialized painter’s tape products available on the market that work great.
  4. Alcohol- The small cotton rub-on pads work excellent for these projects.
  5. Pencils and Erasers
  6. Paint pallet or egg carton
  7. Newspaper or plastic sheet
  8. Paper towels
  9. Water

Once all your painting materials have been gathered, you can start prepping your work area.

Step 1- Prepare Your Workspace To Paint Your Mugs

Cover your workstation with either newspapers or a plastic sheet. A single large piece of plastic sheet works best as it will not slide or move around as much. If you decide to use newspaper, you should tape down the sheets to keep them in place.

Step 2- Plan Out The Design Before You Paint

Once you have everything in place and a clear idea of the designs you want to create, you can pencil your drawing onto the ceramic. Using a pencil allows you to erase and correct any mistakes.

Step 3 -Plant The Colours To Paint Your Mugs

Once your design outline is finalized, you can decide which colors to use. If you mix colors, dispense small amounts onto your palate and carefully combine until the desired color is achieved.

Step 4 –Make It Easy Paint Your Background First

Start by painting the background first using smaller brushes for smaller areas and detailed work. To fill out the larger areas, use a big foam brush.

Step 5 –Layer Your Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is best applied in thin layers. Start with the first layer to create an undertone, and gradually build up more layers as needed.

Step 6 –Dry In A Cool Area

Once you are satisfied with your ceramic design, the paint can be left to set in a cool, dry environment.

Step 7 –How To Clean Unwanted Marks

Clean off unwanted paint with a Q-tip and alcohol. While removing unwanted spots, be careful not to rub off your newly painted design along with it.

Step 8 –To Seal Your Paint Bake

The next step of baking your mug in the oven is critical; it will help the paint to seal into the ceramic. The temperature must be 370 degrees, and it should bake for at least 30 minutes. Always put the mug on a baking sheet. After 30 minutes of baking, take your mug out and place it in a cool area until it’s cooled down.

Step 9 –How To Was Your Mug

Clean the mug with dishwashing soap and lukewarm water. Rub gently as the paint may still be setting and could rub off if handled too vigorously.

Step 10 –Longevity By Sealing Your Mug

 To help the design last longer on the ceramic surface, seal it with a ceramic paint sealer. Allow the sealer to dry completely. Once the mug has been rewashed, it is ready for use.

Can You Use Acrylic Pens To Paint On Ceramic Mugs?

An alternative to acrylic paint and brushes is acrylic paint pens. The pens are a popular choice for beginners as they are easier to use than traditional painting methods. The pens are quick-drying and have fine tips allowing for more precision when working. Another advantage is that acrylic paint pens can be used with stencils for those hesitant to draw.

Use Nail Polish To Paint Ceramic Mug

Alternatively, you can use nail polish to paint ceramics. Fantastic marble design can be created on ceramic mugs using water and nail polish.

  • Use a large enough bucket to hold the mug and fill it with enough warm water to cover the entirety of the mug.
  • Pour the nail polish colors that you wish to use into the water.
  • Use a toothpick to create designs by gently twirling the nail polish, drawing in the corners. Nail polish is oil-based and will float on top of the water, giving you time to create unique patterns of color.
  • Once you are satisfied with the design, dip the mug into the water for three to four seconds.
  • Remove the mug from the water and leave it on a dry surface. Be careful not to touch the paint until it has sufficiently dried.
  • As with Acrylic paint, a sealer can be used to improve the durability of the design.
  • Wash your mug with dishwashing soap and warm water.

What Sealant To Use On Ceramic Mugs

Sealants vary according to the methods used to embellish your ceramics. Ceramics can be glazed and fired to seal the color with a long-lasting coat. Sealants like water-based polyurethane varnish can give your ceramic mug a protective edge. Other high-quality products include Kamar varnish, Grumbacher gloss varnish, and Liquitex basics.

If nail polish was used to paint the ceramics, a dishwasher-safe mod podge could be used. The water-based formula will seal the mug with a durable coating suitable for dishwasher cleaning. When painting ceramics used for food or beverages, it is important to use non-toxic paints that will not threaten your health and well-being.

Through whichever method you choose, glazing improves the lasting quality of your ceramics.


As mentioned, you should choose non-toxic acrylic paint. The most commonly used paint is acrylic, and it’s easy to mix colors and create beautiful designs.

We love the nail polish idea and can already see the fantastic marble effects you create using this method. So get crafty, and we know that this article will provide you with enough incite to create lovely mugs.


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