How To Make A Photo Mug In 7 Ridiculously Easy Steps

Here's 7 ridiculously easy steps to make a photo mug, because I'm sure you're curious…

I'm sure you already know that personalised, custom-made photo mugs are great for any age – people who receive a cool lil' photo coffee mug tend to hold on to it for years… and why not?

Just so we're clear though, when I talk about (things like) respecting your grandfather with a custom-printed photo mug of his family, I'm not meaning those photo mugshots that police stations distribute looking for criminals…

After All, Your Grandfather
Wouldn't Be Like That, Right?

Of course not. But anyways, what's cool about those photo coffee mugs is that they make great gifts… yep, REALLY great gifts…

Like, for example, you can do stuff like gift your spouse a keepsake of your wedding, or gift your child's teacher (only if the teacher's been good of course!) a custom-made photo mug with an image of all the bad kids in the class on it.

I guess, if you were to get all soft for a minute, you could even say that a photo mug captures a moment to be cherished forever.

(But isn't that what photographs do anyway?)

Still, it's a pretty smart idea, right? Take a photograph and slap it on an everyday household item, and…

Instant individuality!

And something that everyone will LOVE!

But anyways… I know you've been waiting patiently for the instructions how to create your own photo coffee mug… so without further ado:

Very Easy To-Implement Stuff

There's a couple of ways to make a photo mug. The easiest way is to go online and let Snapfish or PhotoBox handle it.

(Just have your photos ready beforehand).

The ridiculously easy way (the Do It Yourself approach) is by creating it yourself through your PC (or Mac for us enthusiasts) and trusty inkjet printer. This is the way we've documented below.

But hold on cowboy – before you think about starting, ensure that you have the following:

A) A Mug – You can choose any color as your wish, but white is best. For inspirational ideas check out how Cafepress create their photo mugs. They've got it down to a fine art. And you guessed it — white displays the images real well.

B) Waterslide Decal Paper
– You probably need some sort of waterslide inkjet decal paper that should be either white or clear. If your mug is dark colored, then white decal paper is perfect; alternatively clear decal paper is good for white and light colored mugs. Some people say transfer paper is similar to decal paper, but inkjet decal paper is preferable when creating a photo mug. (Apparently transfer paper is used in transferring images to fabrics). 

C) Computer – You should have a PC (or Mac!) to design an amazing image that you'll be printing on your photo coffee mug.

D) Free Photo Editor or Image Editing Tool
– You kind of need to have a good image editing program to do all the photo design stuff. Good free photo editors like Picasa and Gimp are pretty effective and you don't need a PHD in Business Technology to understand them.

E) Trusty Inkjet Printer – If you're planning to use decal paper, make sure that your printer accepts that type of paper. Some backdated printers will throw a hissy fit when you try to feed them decal paper. Check that.

F) Great Image for the Mug – goes without saying, right?

G) Scissors – come in handy if you are having a bad hair day.

Go At Your Own Pace

So anyways, now you're ready to make a photo mug that everybody and his brother will love. Here's how to go about that…

Step 1: Select your image – Firstly, choose a beautiful (and clean image). Ensure that your chosen picture is well focused, properly exposed and not noisy or blurred. And it's got to look the part too. Someone will be drinking coffee out of that every day for the unseeable future!

Step 2: Edit your image – You might need to do some basic edits like cropping, resizing, bring out the brightness and removing anything unwanted. Anyone you don't want in the picture? Just edit them out.

Step 3: Print your image on Decal paper – Your printer should have options that say something like "paper type" and/or "media type." See that? Choose the suitable option or close your eyes and hope for the best.

Step 4: ADVICE:
Allow the paper to dry completely.

Step 5: Outline your photo – Cut out the image as closely as possible to the design.

Step 6: Drown it – Keep your image under lukewarm water for approximately one minute, or until you realise that the photo has begun to slide away from the defensive backing and it's not actually another earthquake.

Step 7: Remove it – Remove the defensive backing and carefully place the photo on to your photo mug. Important: Before applying it confirm that the mug surface is clean. Make sure there's no water behind the decal paper. You know what to do!

Step 8: Bird Dog – Let the decal dry completely. It requires at least 4 hours drying fully. No peeking.

It Looks All Wrong!

No it doesn't. It's fine. Just imagine the permanently damaged look smiles coming over your parents faces when they start their day with a cup of coffee while your cute face beams up at them…

Or how proud your wife might be when she shares a cup of coffee with her friend and her friend NOTICES that the guy on the mug is ACTUALLY you!

Or gee, how happy your kids are when you give them a photo coffee mug with their OWN picture on it!

Expect a firestorm to hit as everyone kicks in the office doors keen to make a photo mug for themselves! Don't believe me? Try it for yourself…

And by the way, I'm dying to know your thoughts so comment below and LETTUCE know what YOU think!

About Martin

Mad-enthusiastic infopreneur, photographer & video funny guy who stops traffic for animals, feels at home in the ocean & is on walkabout right now. See me on Twitter

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  • Greg

    Martin, it's good to see you back. This is a great article. I like that you include both options of do it yourself and a couple of places that will take a really good photo and turn it into a keepsake. Welcome back, buddy!

  • Martin

    Hey Greg… thanks so much brother… your support has made my day many a time… fire away with any questions you have… & thanks a million! :) m