How to make a digital photo mug

Sure, you could just upload your photo to a website and order one off the internet. But after paying for the printing and the mug, as well as the price of shipping, the cost can add up. So why not do it yourself?


  • Digital photo
  • Colour inkjet printer (laser printers won’t work)
  • Transfer paper for ceramics
  • Blank mug
  • Sharpie permanent marker


If you don’t have an inkjet printer yourself (this just means a colour printer which is not a laser printer), ask around – you’ll probably find that one of your friends has one, and they might like to try this project themselves.

You should be able to find transfer paper for ceramics in a craft supplies store, or a large office supply store such as Officeworks. If not, I have found a number of listings on eBay which offer it for about $1.50 per sheet, when you buy five sheets. Just make sure you are getting ceramic transfer paper, and not transfer paper for t-shirts.

Once you have the paper, print your photo onto it. Make sure the photo is the right size to fit onto your mug.

When choosing a mug, consider how the photo will show up on the colour. Lighter colours will work better, and white will give the clearest image. You can pick up plain white ceramics for a few dollars at most gift or two-dollar stores or Ikea is always a good source of low-cost home wares.

Next, follow the instructions on your transfer paper to transfer the image to your mug. You can customize the photo by writing a message on the mug with your Sharpie permanent marker.

Once you are happy with the way your mug looks, turn your oven up to 180 degrees celsius and bake your mug for 30 minutes. This will set the ink into the glaze on your mug, and the image and writing will never wash off.

Alternatively, you could just use the Sharpie permanent marker to create personalized mugs, plates or bowls by using stencils or writing family members’ names onto the ceramic.

Do you have any other ideas of gifts you can make by printing your own photos?

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