Making Your Own Coffee Cup Stencil Using Your Personal Cutting Machine

Making Your Own Coffee Cup Stencil Using Your Personal Cutting Machine

DIY Chalkboard Mug with Cricut/Silhouette Vinyl Stencil

In this tutorial you are all going to learn how to make a beautiful looking stencil onto a coffee or tea cup using your personal cutting machine.

But – this isn’t just a normal run of the mill hand cut stencil – you’ll cut your own stencil using vinyl on your Silhouette or Cricut machine.

For all of the people who make mugs with dye sublimation, this is an awesome alternative to  deal with misprinted coffee mugs you probably would have had to throw in the trash.

Using a vinyl die-cut stencil to ceramic paint onto a coffee mug is really versatile and upscale method of putting fun  designs onto a coffee mug.

The end result is a beautiful, dishwasher safe and microwave safe coffee mug (as opposed to putting vinyl on a coffee mug which I am not a fan of).

But – it doesn’t just have to be chalkboard – You can use this method with any color of paint. Here’s how you do it.


How to use a vinyl stencil on a coffee mug

DIY Chalkboard Mug Using Cricut or Silhouette Vinyl Stencil

In this tutorial we will show you how to use a scalloped wrap design for a chalkboard mug.

Click this link to download the cut file for the scalloped wrap and get a bonus frame free (and before you ask, YES you can use it commercially if you wish to).

The items you will need for this project are:

  • A Coffee mug (Of Course)
  • A Vinyl stencil
  • some Painter’s tape (not masking tape)
  • Ceramic Paint
  • Paintbrush – We recommend foam brushes
  • A Plastic sandwich bag
  • Some Rubbing alcohol
  • Tissue, Paper towel or some cotton balls

Some Hints and Tips Before You Get Started

We really recommend you doing this project with regular straight sided mugs.

Using a curved mug makes this project a little trickier, and if you are putting in ellabote borders it can be difficult to get them straight, so at the very least, try this out with a straight sided mug first if you can.

Tip: Our top tip for this project is – keep your design as simple and as straightforward as possible, at least your first one.  With some experience, some more complicated or more featured designs can be done, but don’t try it for the first time.

 The First Step – Cut Your Stencil

Cut your design using your vinyl – We recommend using either Oramask or Oracal 651

You’ll want to keep it simple to start, less intricate design to start with, since the margin of error is greater with a more scrolly or detailed design. Set yourself up for success!

Here’s the link again for the cut file we used.

One note regarding design – you will definitely want to make sure that the painted portion does not go all the way to the top where the lips will be touching. Ceramic paint is generally nontoxic but they do not recommend it for items where food will actually be touching, so it’s probably better to play it safe.

The Second Step – Prep Your Mug

The first step is to prepare your mug.

It needs to be completely clean, and you’ll want to wipe it down with rubbing alcohol to make sure there are no traces of oils from your hands or anything that might interfere with the adhesion of the stencil.

If you’re doing a chalkboard design where there will be large areas of flood coverage, it may be useful to go over the stenciled area very lightly with some VERY fine sandpaper.

We recommend 400 grit – just to help adhere the paint – and then wipe off any dust with my alcohol pad and let it dry. This isn’t absolutely necessary but I figure it can’t hurt.

The Third Step– Apply Your Stencil

Carefully apply your stencil to the surface, making sure it’s positioned exactly where you want it to be.

Rub it down well and remove your transfer tape.



The Forth Step – Mask off & Protect Your Mug

You’ll want to tape off and protect your mug. Encase the not-to-be-painted parts as much as possible in the plastic sandwich bag, using painter’s tape to tape off any other areas.

This may seem excessive, but when you are painting your mug if you accidentally get paint on the other areas, not only will it be a huge pain but in the process of cleaning those parts you might “ding” the part you DO want painted.

The Fifth Step – Pounce Your Paint

Ceramic paint marks will smooth out a little when they dry, but for the most part any marks on the paint will stay on the paint once it’s dried.

We like to “pounce” the paint using a foam paintbrush rather than a bristle brush, in order to avoid brush marks.

You will want the paint to be pretty thick – I have found if I do multiple thin coats, when I remove the stencil it pulls up paint.

The benefit of thicker paint is also that brush strokes tend to smooth out better. You can see I did end up with some bubbling, which I couldn’t seem to avoid, but I didn’t have any brush strokes.

Helpful Tip: We have noticed that the regular non-chalkboard paints tend to be a teeeeny bit runnier, so if you are using a regular color it might be a good idea to let the paint thicken up a bit before pulling up the stencil (but don’t let the edges dry!).

The Sixth Step – Remove The Stencil Straight Away

If you wait until the paint is dried to remove your stencil, it will most likely pull up part of the paint with it so I definitely recommend pulling off the stencil while the paint is still somewhat fresh.

Gently loosen it on one edge, and pull it off as smoothly as possible.

We like to remove the painter’s tape and plastic first, and then that gives me an unpainted clean edge of my stencil to start pulling up.

Any small extra pieces can be pulled up with the help of a small pin – just poke the pin carefully into the vinyl and use it to loosen an edge, and pull up the edge with your fingers or tweezers.

Be sure to not gouge the glaze of the mug with your pin!

The Seventh Step– Touch Ups If Necessary

If you need to make touch ups for any reason, this is the time to do so (very carefully).

Would we definately recommend using a small tipped brush and try to blend in the paint as well as you can with the surrounding areas (remember, any marks will dry that way, so try to not make it obviously touched up).

This is also when you can clean up any smudges left when you were removing the plastic like I had. They can be scraped off with a fingernail and/or removed with a damp paper towel.

DIY Chalkboard Mug Using Cricut or Silhouette Vinyl Stencil

The Eighth Step – Dry it & Cure it

You’ll want to let the mug sit undisturbed so the paint can dry for 24 hours before you do the cure.

The curing process (baking it in your oven) is what will make the paint permanent – dishwasher and microwave safe.

You’ll want to follow the instructions for your paint brand to see the full cure instructions. Pebeo Porcelaine instructions are to place the mug into a cold oven, heat it to 300 degrees F and bake for 35 minutes once it has reached 300 degrees.

Note for sublimators – I don’t notice any of the regular sublimation mug fumes when I’m doing this to cover up my misprinted mugs, so if you normally use a mug press and don’t have a mug oven, I think it should be okay to use your regular oven.

The Final Step – Sit Back and Enjoy

DIY Chalkboard Mug with Silhouette Cameo Stencil

And voila – you have a gorgeous chalkboard painted mug! Why? Because you’re awesome, that’s why!

Do like we did and have a nice cup of cocoa with lots of marshmallows. You earned it! ❤‍❤‍❤‍

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