DIY: Mugging up for morning Joe

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I’m not a morning person.

In fact, I can be a bit of a crabby pants (as my family can attest) until I have a dose of caffeine to help me wake up.

I was having my daily — okay, busted, twice daily — cup of coffee earlier this week when inspiration struck as I stared at the drab mug in my hand.

The time had come to flex my creative juices and add some cheer to my morning routine by jazzing up my collection of plain mugs.

While I hadn’t doodled since those boring school art classes of years ago, I started with a few simple but cute cartoon-like alien drawings, which I practice drew on a notepad first.

As I looked at the mugs I decided to add some lines, like “I’m Not Human at This Hour” and a motivational “You’ll Be Awesome Today” — even though an inspirational quote probably won’t get me feeling chipper bright and early on any morning.

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With Father’s Day around the corner, for my next mug I thought a personalized message to My #1 Dad would be a timely ode to pops. See photos at right for the end result. Did I intentionally leave out the “1” on the mug as a play on the “Have a Day” t-shirt slogan (the one with the expressionless emoticon)?

Did I mean to reference a hashtag, or did I simply forget to include it because it was too early in the morning?

I’ll let you decide.

For my piece de resistance I made note of some of the important dates in my life. For your own mugs you could incorporate any meaningful dates, such as the birth of your kids or your anniversary.

What you need:

• 4–12 plain mugs (I like the look of white mugs, but feel free to use colourful mugs)
• 1 oil-based paint Sharpie marker
• 1 can of acrylic sealing spray or high-gloss finishing spray

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1) Practise your designs first on a piece of paper, to perfect your drawings without wasting any mugs on trial and error.

2) Once you are happy with the look of your artwork and phrases, it’s time to take your masterpiece to the mug, using an oil-based paint or Sharpie marker.

3) Let the mugs dry for at least an hour.

4) Place the mugs in your oven and then heat the oven to 350 degrees.

5) After baking the mugs for 30–45 minutes, turn off the oven and let them cool down. Allowing the mugs to heat up and cool off with the oven will prevent the ceramic from cracking.

6) Repeat the heating and cooling-down process to help the markings set.

7) Remove the mugs from the oven and let them dry for an extra hour, or overnight, depending on your schedule. To avoid smearing, be careful not to touch your drawings in the process.

8) For a final layer of protection — to stand up to the dishwasher — finish off by applying a coat of acrylic sealing spray or high-gloss finishing spray and let dry for at least an hour.

You now have some custom cups for the Joe that starts your morning off right.

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This article was originally published in the Leaside-Rosedale, Forest Hill and North Toronto Town Crier.

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