DIYdiy projects

DIY Gift Series: Bear Mug

by Kate Pruitt

Today we’re sharing the last two projects in our DIY Gift Series from Merrilee of Mer Mag. To check out her previous projects — a cozy mountain pillow and a pretty bleach-dot clutch — click here and here. Thanks for sharing, Merrilee! — Kate

Hi, friends! Merrilee here again to help you check off those items on your gift list with simple and thoughtful handmade gifts. This week I’m excited to share our little bear mug, a new favorite in our home. This mug is an extremely fast and easy gift to pull together. I recommend making a set of two, or pairing it with your favorite coffee, tea or hot chocolate — and maybe some bear claws — to make the perfect gift for your loved ones. Enjoy!— Merrilee

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • a ceramic or porcelain mug (I used a vintage milk glass mug for this tutorial.)
  • bear illustration template
  • pencil
  • porcelain marker



1. To get started, print out the bear illustration.

2. Use your pencil to trace the lines on the illustration. Be sure to apply a lot of pressure.

3. Cut out your traced image.

4. Turn the images around and tape to your mug. (Make sure the image and your traced lines are facing the mug.)

5. Now take your pencil and go over the lines of the drawing on the opposite side of the paper.

6. This step will transfer the drawing of the bear to your mug. Be sure to press firmly and to go over the lines very well so everything is transferred.

7. Carefully remove the paper and you should see the drawing of the bear transferred onto your mug.

8. Trace over the drawing with your porcelain marker.

9. Once your drawing is complete, follow your porcelain marker instructions for setting the artwork. We placed ours in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, and we can only wash it on the top rack of the dishwasher.

10. Now fill up your one-of-a-kind handmade mug with goodies and gift to a dear friend!

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  • I love this. Could you advice on a brand of porcelain markers? Hopefully one I can get from Amazon.

  • I’m going out to get a porcelain marker RIGHT NOW! This is so cute and such an easy way to have a kid designed gift not be a millstone. (As a mom to an 8 year old, we have a lot of “how long do I have to keep this before I throw it out and still not be considered a terrible parent??” gifts!) Thank you!

  • I love this DIY gift idea so much. What a really fun and personal way to make a custom gift. Since I’m an artist, I’d probably make my own design for the mug. I’ve got to get some of those porcelain markers.

  • I LOVE this! I have been wanting to make some mugs like this using things I’ve designed (on the computer), but could never figure out how to get it onto the mug to trace over with the marker. I’m no good at freehanding. This will definitely come in handy. Thank you!

    Perhaps a silly question, but do you have an pencil recommendations, ones that won’t easily break when pressing firmly?

  • @Melissa, for the initial drawing any old pencil should do, but for the transferring step you technically don’t need a pencil, even a popsicle would do – the point is just to apply pressure. This pressure is what creates the carbon copy. Doing that w/ a pencil just allows you to see what area you’ve applied and your basic yellow school should be hard enough, just don’t use a super-sharp one. Keep in mind that the carbon copy will appear in the reverse, in case you want to add a word or phrase to your image.

  • (for those who maybe snoozed through art class)
    If you want to add writing to the image, here’s what to do:
    a. Draw *or print* the image and word(s) you want
    b. Flip the paper over and very carefully trace the image/word(s) w/ your pencil (a light box – proper or rigged up – makes this really easy)
    c. Tape the paper traced side down, and original side up (this is the ink side if you printed)
    d. Proceed w/ step 5 in the tutorial, etc

    Thanks Kate Pruitt for this great idea! Now I know what the kids will do for x-mas presents, and it’s not messy either!

  • Great idea! I’m making this a dating-anniversary gift for my husband, and adding in a few homemade teas and baked goods. Thanks!

  • I love your all ideas! cool! I can make a simple thing to be awesome. My friend ever told me “hi where you buy those cute notebooks?” and I asked ‘no,I’m not. I’ve made it by myself” hohoho I’m proud to be I am. I mean I’m proud that I can read your tutorial :D thank you

  • You can just use carbon paper.
    Tape image on top slip carbon under. Be sure carbon paper is carbon side down