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gold initial mug gift

Sometimes the best things are the simplest, right?  While initial mugs are everywhere right now and certainly aren’t a novelty, I had a few birthday’s this week and thought that I would take a stab at my own version of the ‘anthro-inspired’ initial mug for some little lavender gifts for two of my girlfriends.

True to my mantra that a DIY needs to be cuter or cheaper than a store purchase these rolled in at just $3 each, or $5 each once you add the lovely lavender.

Anthro Inspired DIY Initial Mug

gold monogram gift mugs

I began this project just for the sole purpose of the gift – no blog intentions – but they just turned out so darn cute that I remade one to show the steps.  The things I do for you guys… just kidding! 

gold monogram mug diy


  • Plain Mug (I got mine at Homegoods for $2)
  • Contact paper/vinyl – I like to use vinyl as a stencil because it isn’t too too sticky, so readjustments aren’t a pain.
  • Craft Knife & Home Printer OR// Cricut Machine (I did the ‘L’ by hand and the ‘A’ with the cricut
  • Spray Paint in color of your choice
  • Spray Clear Acrylic
  • Tweezers
  • Painters Tape
  • Plastic Grocery Bag
  • Small Plant

To make the stencil you can do one of two things hand cut or machine cut:

Hand Cut:  Use the same method used on my monogram glassware post or my stenciled doormat post.  Print your initial onto paper using the woodcut font in a size appropriate for your mug.  Cut out your printout with a craft knife then lay the cutout on top of the contact paper and trace.  Cut your contact paper on the tracing.

Machine: I used a cricut machine and downloaded the Woodcut font and blew it up to 3″ height.

anthro inspired mug tutorial 1

ONE carefully layout your stencil onto the mug starting with the outermost (body) piece of contact paper.  TWO using tweezers, carefully place the next piece of your stencil.  If you’re using the handout method, this will be the next ‘white’ piece.  If you are using a cricut, you’ll skip a layer from the outermost that you used in step one. THREE still with the tweezers, carefully place the tiny little slashes into your design. If you liked operation as a kid, this is the project for you.  I found it a bit therapeutic!

anthro inspired mug tutorial 2

FOUR after the stencil is fully placed, tape off the handle using painters tape.  FIVE stick your mug into a plastic grocery bag and cut a small hole for the handle.  Use more painters tape to tape the edges of your hole down to the mug so only the tape surrounding your handle is exposed. SIX follow a similar pattern with the monogram.  Cutting a hole in the bag, expose the monogram, then tape the bag down around the part of the monogram you’re painting.

You can really use whatever kind of paint you want, but I do have a preference for spray paint whenever the paint won’t come in contact with food.  If you’re in doubt, use an acrylic craft paint instead.  I’ll (of course) advise my friends so they can use it just for the plant if they choose!

To keep my paint from scratching or coming off in wash, after spraying the gold, I did two full coats of clear acrylic, then, I sat the mugs in a cold oven and turned the oven on to 200 degrees.  I ‘baked’ the mugs for 20 minutes before turning the oven off.  Once the oven was cool, I fetched the mugs. Now, acrylic will be the outermost layer and the item can be hand washed.

anthropologie inspired initial mug

gifts for friends

These are a little bit of work, but they turn out so darling. Don’t you agree?


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Latest comments
  • This is so cute! I love the initial mugs, but I love them even more in GOLD and DIY!! Great idea, Erin :)

  • I LOvE this!! 😉 pinned!

  • very cute. perfect for the holidays!

  • Love this! One random question – do you know if these are microwave-able, or no due to the gold paint? I love the look of gold, but what if my coffee gets cold?!

  • Love these! What brand and color spray paint did you use?

  • How does the spray paint stack up against an oil-based pen in terms of durability? I would think you could be a lot more precise with the pen and it may be a bit quicker, but which one lasts longer.

      • Thank You

  • Hi! This is so darling :) I am trying to attempt this as a gift for my bridesmaids.
    Could I just ask how you placed the plant in the mug? Did you actually plant the lavender in soil over the jute? Or did you simply place the entire plant in its pot over the jute?