While searching for terrific gift ideas, we stumbled upon The 36th Avenue’s darling Number Stenciled Mugs!  This terrific tutorial looks like it has truly gift-worthy results!

We couldn’t wait to give stenciling a try!


Please click here to visit The 36th Avenue and see the instructions that we followed!


Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission: Throw my hat in the ring with all the other fools and make myself a mustache mug (numbers are cool but mustaches are cooler).



Products that I used: 

I knew from the start that I wanted to create something quirky and fun. Morning coffee just better with a chuckle! I was inspired to create my own stencil from this post on Young House Love. They were making their own stencil for a glass etching project but I figured this would work similarly for this project as well.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Be prepared for a little clean up. Also, don’t hold your breath as you pull the stencil off. You might pass out! It gets a little intense for a moment as you peel the tape back but as I learned, using a pin head or the end of your X-Acto knife you can clean up any mess in no time at all.

Amanda - Mugs 1


You could seriously customize anything with this method! I love the idea of creating a simple gift on the cheap.

The 36th Avenue did a fantastic job on writing up this little DIY so I didn’t encounter anything unexpected.


Not really a project con but my own personal con. I used a Martha Stewart paint that essentially self-cures in 21 days. This is way too long for me! I already went out and purchased a new ceramic paint and plan to use that on future mug projects.

Keep your fingers crossed that my mustache mug doesn’t get some serious grooming on its first wash (in 21 days of course).

Amanda - Mugs 2


The next stenciled mugs are already in the works! I plan to make one for my daughter’s teacher, my grandma and also one for my sister. Mug love all around!



Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission: I thought this would be a great way to personalize our mugs, and an even better idea for a holiday gift with a personal touch. A personalized mug filled with chocolates!?



I read the directions. And then I read them again. I really didn’t want to screw this up, but somehow I managed to screw it up on the first try.

  • I cleaned the surface of the mug and applied the stencil. I think the key is to have an adhesive stencil. I used these great stencils by Folk Art. I can’t imagine trying to do a curved surface any other way. Make sure it’s applied very well to prevent any bleeding.
  • Next, dab the paint. I purchased the same paint used by The 36th Avenue. As Desiree says, “tap, tap, tap.”
  • Remove the stencil IMMEDIATELY. Yeah, I was too busy reading the back of the paint bottle and tending to the whining dog. When I removed the stencil…the paint came up with it. Darn it! (that’s not actually what came from my mouth)
  • I got it right with my second go around. Seriously easy.
  • The pin trick – super awesome. Works great, but you really need a steady hand.
  • It only takes 30 minutes in the oven at 350° to cure it. Then it’s washable!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Rubbing alcohol works great to remove the paint from the mug. If you make a mistake, you can quickly fix it and try again.

 Sheri - Mugs 1


Easy, inexpensive, and didn’t take much time at all.


Not really any…unless the paint bleeds under the stencil. Working with a little pin can cramp your hand.

Sheri - Mugs 2


Overall this was a pretty quick and easy project, aside from my little mishap of course. I must admit I was a little nervous about washing them, but they turned out just fine. I’ve added a little laughter and love to my morning coffee. I’m thinking of getting some more mugs and putting dinosaurs on them for the boys to enjoy with their hot chocolate! I think they would just love it.



Reviewer #3 – Maren

Mission: Whip up some cute, personalized drinkware to enjoy some holiday cheer!  If this project is a winner, guess what you’re getting for your next gift… everyone!!



DIY Stencil a la Young House Love (Amanda told me about this great tutorial after I told her that I was longing for a doxie mug):

Tips & Tricks Learned:

OoopsiesOkay, so since I did this project a couple of different ways, I have a few tricks to share for each variation!

Sticky stencil: These work the best when you rinse them off after each impression.  A pain, but you’ll love the results!

Non-sticky stencil: I don’t recommend it!  Even when securing with painter’s tape, it didn’t work.  Boo.  If you don’t believe me, check out the “snowflake” blob example at the right.

DIY Stencil a la Young House Love: LOVED this!  Such an awesome idea!  It worked like a charm, but make sure that you use your fingernail to super-press down along the edges of your design.  If you don’t do this, the paint will bleed out of the perimeter of your design.

ALL Methods: While The 36th Avenue’s pin trick worked well, I preferred to clean up my edges with a small, lightly dampened angle brush.  I was able to remove goofs as well as sort of “push” the goofed paint back where it belonged!

Less is more!  You’ll get more bubbles in the paint the more paint you use, as well as the more that you “Pounce”!  Go easy on it!

Clean your surface first with rubbing alcohol, as we learned from our Enamel Vase project!  Having said that, it is really hard to keep from touching the mug all over after you clean off the surface.  Fingers crossed that my paint doesn’t peel off.

Maren - Mugs Doxie 1


Maren - Mugs Doxie 2


Any way you try it, this project is awesome!  It didn’t take very long and looks great!

These suckers are gift-worthy!


As my first go-round with stencils, I biffed the sticky stencil method about 4 times before it passed the OCD test.

This isn’t even a “Con” because you can just quickly wash the paint off, wipe with more rubbing alcohol and try again!

Martha!  Why do you make me wait 21 days to wash this?  I sure hope that they really are dishwasher safe!

Maren - Mugs White


I love stenciling!  I can’t wait to make more mugs and stencil all sorts of things for our new house!

Also, as a huge fan of the monogram, I am really looking forward to making some truly personalized gifts for housewarming parties, wedding showers and new neighbors!



Reviewer #4 – Kristy

Mission: To spice up my boring white coffee mugs with a little simple design.



  • Headed straight to Michaels with my 50% coupon on hand for vinyl stencil stickers. Yay! Now the hard part, I loathe making decisions….Martha had a huge stencil selection so I stayed for about 15 minutes trying to decide which one! I decided on letters that match my cute monogrammed kitchen towels. Luckily I had the coupon, those vinyl stencils were $16.99. Ouch!
  • I went to my handy dandy stash of black Folk Art paint in Licorice and a small paint brush.
  • Stressing again on my design, Mike suggested using both our initials. So I ended up with an E and an H. We will both be equally represented in this household!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Use rubbing alcohol on the mug before painting and to clean your stencils after painting.  We learned this very important trick when we tried and failed and tried again at our Enamel Painted Vases.

I wasn’t the best at removing the stickers so I had a few mess ups.  Quick fix: once dried…just take a paper clip end to remove extra paint. Now be careful when painting don’t put too much or the paper clip may take off more than you would like.

Kristy - Mugs 1


Simple, quick and cute! Loved it!


I am a dishwasher type of gal and I think these mugs may no longer be safe for this.

Despite the baking, I am nervous they make scratch so I’ll be sure to hand wash.

Kristy - Mugs 2


Overall this was an easy project and quick to complete.  The most time consuming part was centering the initial.  Now I am considering doing Christmas mugs for gifts!  This would be perfect gifts for my clients, as well as, friends and family. Being a Louisiana gal, I think some cute Fleur de lis mugs would be my next project for my place…maybe even on bowls!  Just a thought!


Mug Conclusion


The lovely Number Stenciled Mugs and their photo by The 36th Avenue

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