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July 24, 2013 at 11:29 AMComments: 10 Faves: 0

DIY SHARPIE Art: Doctor Who Inspired Plates

By Kristin McKinney More Blogs by This Author

I'm sure many of you have seen it on Pinterest. Those pins showing mugs decorated with unique designs and all they used was a sharpie. Now, I always thought those were cool, but I've had my suspicions as to whether it would actually work or not. Plus, I read several comments on these different blogs talking about how it didn't work for them. However, I was not to be deterred. I wanted to try this out for myself to see if it would work. Here is how it went.

All you need for this DIY are some dishes, sharpies, and an oven. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. The best place to get the dishes is the Dollar Store. You could do this on any type of dish (as long as it's stoneware), whether it's plates, mugs, or bowls. I chose two plates. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to drawing or writing something out, so I had to find something that I could use to draw my design before using the sharpie. I found that a pencil works great. You can easily draw out what you want on the dish, but it wipes away easily if you need to start over. After drawing out my design with the pencil, I traced it with the sharpie, then placed them on a cookie sheet.


I stuck them in the oven for 30 minutes, and waited patiently for them to be done, (while cooking some rice for my lunch.) Once the alarm on my phone went off (scaring the crap out of me in the process), I took the plates out of the oven. I let them sit on the counter to cool off. I probably waited about an hour and a half before touching them.

To test them, I started by wiping the plates with a damp rag. At first they were fine, but then one of them started to come off a little. I switched to a wet paper towel and didn't have any trouble, until I tried cleaning the bow I had drawn. That started to come off if I pressed too hard. I think leaving it in the oven longer may help with that. A couple days after making them, I used one of the plates for my dinner. When I went to clean it, something else started to come off a little, because I had to scrub the plate a bit. I had let the plate sit around too long before rinsing it off. I would highly suggest, if you decide to do plates, to be careful what food you put on it and clean it immediately after use so food doesn't get stuck on. Bowls or mugs are probably the best idea, as far as what dishes you should use.


Here are a few suggestions I found that I might try out if I ever do this again.

Let the sharpie ink dry for 24 hours before baking.

Instead of taking the dishes out to cool, turn your oven off and let them sit there for 30 minutes, then remove.

One person who made these said that spots where the ink was heavier stayed better. I'm not sure about this idea because it didn't seem to make a difference for mine. The bow was probably the thing that was colored the heaviest and it's the one I'm most worried about coming off. But the lines on the other plate that started to rub off I think were the lightest ones on that plate. So I have no idea if what that person said is true.

One pin I saw on Pinterest suggested getting a Pebeo Porcelain 150 pen if you're really worried about it coming off. That's guaranteed to stay. They're more expensive than sharpies, but it just depends on your comfort level.

Most people who have tried this out say you should never wash them in a dishwasher, always hand wash. After my experience, I would suggest nothing more abrasive than a rag. Also people have had concerns about fumes from the sharpies infecting their oven. I did some reading online but haven't found anything yet that says it's a worry. Hopefully, my experience has helped you out some, and now you can go and make your own.  

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  • I saw the same project on Pinterest and was similarly excited - then disappointed.

    The designs I made turned out really cute ( & ) but they couldn't even handle hand-washing really. They could work as coffee cups if you're like me - unafraid of germs from unwashed coffee cups - but other than that, I would strongly recommend the actual porcelain markers. :/

  • Those are cute! Yeah I think if I did it again I would just go with the markers, they sound like a good investment. So far my plates are holding up fairly well, but I'm sure down the road the image will start to come off more.

  • How much were the ones you looked at?

  • I saw one on Amazon for $6.75. I haven't seen any of them in stores before though.

  • Well now i need to go make some Lord of the Rings themed bowls. Thanks for the cool project!

  • I think the alcohol in permanent markers like Sharpies is the reason that it fades and washes away so easily. I've used Sharpies in my artwork and they are not archival for that reason. I'm going to try using India ink on a few cups to see if it will adhere to the ceramic surface better.

  • @Goldilocks Lord of the Rings is an awesome idea!
    @Mellissa I've never heard of India ink before. Is there something special about it?

  • It was traditionally used for writing, but it's now used for drawing and painting. They're permanent when dry and SUPER saturated in color. I use Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay inks in my paintings for variety. One thing to note is that they won't come out of fabric and stain your hands for days, so be careful!

  • Okay, I will have to look into that. Do you think baking would affect them at all, or would it be fine?

  • is stoneware an optional choice for the DIY sharpie? i have heard ceramic and porcelain but haven't been able to find anything concrete on stoneware.

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