Cup of Dirt

Or a mug of dirt but either way, it’s not a science experiment like Brian’s, or Brannammananan’s was.  Lost?  You have to see this video complete with voiced-over animations.  Brian Regan…comedian extraordinaire…the best of the best…watch out or you’ll pee your pants.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.  I planted some herbs in mugs only right now they’re still seeds so we’ve got three mugs ‘o dirt on our kitchen window sill.  A few weeks ago Deme at House For Five made another genius move and transplanted three herb plants into mugs and set them in her window sill and they looked amazing!  So, I did what any smart follower of hers would, I copied.  Thanks Deme!  :)

Instead of using the same Target mugs Deme used (I thought I’d let her claim some originality), I took the opportunity to try out the ever popular DIY sharpie mug project that floats around all areas of Pinterest.  So many people have tried it and so I don’t know who gets the credit for the idea in the first place, but if it’s you,  It is genius.

First, I needed some plain mugs.  I hunted through a few stores but per the usual, didn’t want to spend loads.  Then one day last week me madre and I were in Bed, Bath, & Beyond and on a center aisle shelf, these oversized mugs were calling my name.  They were clearanced down to $1.50 a piece…I’ll take three please.  And I did.herbmugs2
Part of me loved the white and didn’t want to taint them with sharpie but the thrill of a project won me over.

Here’s what I did to each:herbmugcollwarrows 
The pink/coral/red one at the top is scripted with the words of our song “When God Made You”, the second is a green, ikat scallop (which I originally just had scalloped minus the ikat until I made the third mug then went back and changed it), and the  third is a bronze, ikat, aztec design.  The ikat was so easy.  All I did was draw out my design and then I went over it with up and down scribbles.  No staying in the lines and no perfection, just four-year-old skillz at their bestest.  I also drew a ring around the top of each mug in the same color used on the mugs design for kicks.

Then I threw them all gently placed them in oven and baked them at 350* for 30 minutes.herbmug8

Before I started this project I did a little research.  I found a lot of people saying their sharpie mugs didn’t work and some saying theirs did.  This is what I took away from all of the trial-and-errors of others:
-Make sure you clean your dish/mug/bowl/whatever before you start!
-If you make a mistake while drawing, a little rubbing alcohol supposedly works like an eraser.
-Put your sharpied whatever in the oven before you preheat it and allow them to heat with the oven.
-Bake anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
-When done baking, let them cool with the oven…a.k.a. don’t take them out until the oven is cool.
-Hand-wash only unless…
-You use oil-based sharpie markers which seem to be dishwasher safe.
-More expensive dishware means more expensive glaze which means your dish/mug/bowl might not take to the sharpie as well.  Cheaper dishware works best.

One thing I found is that the fine point sharpie I used (the coraly-red), scratches off a little more easily than the wider tipped green and bronze I used.  Either way though, you have to scratch pretty hard.  Also, the bronze sharpie I used is a metallic one but I found that baking the mug took away some of the metallic sheen…boo.  I love how the sharpie looks like it’s underneath the glaze of the mugs though.  So pretty and think of all the design options!

Here are the mugs all baked and sitting pretty on our sunlit, kitchen window sill:herbmugs 002

[Update:  Read about how these sharpied mugs are holding up here!]

Next up:  planting the herbs.  It would’ve been a lot easier for me to go grab three small herb plants but I had the seeds on hand already so I figured I’d give my green thumb a work-out since it’s been dormant for a couple of years.

So first I put a layer of rocks in the bottom of each of my mugs for drainage purposes.herbmug2

Then I packed in the dirt, planted a few seeds in each cup (only to weed out all but one once they sprout), and gave each a little drink of H2O.herbmugs 010

Last I created three tiny greenhouses by placing a piece of clear plastic wrap over each.  These will come off once there are shoots.  I didn’t press the wrap tightly over each for fear that a tight seal plus condensation might hurt my sharpie.  Just playing it safe.herbmugs 014

And that’s it!  In a week or so we should have tiny sprouts of basil, oregano, and cilantro!  My mouth is already watering at the thought of fresh herbs in pasta and my fave salsa recipe by the Pioneer Woman herself!  :)
herbmugs 013

Cost Breakdown
Mugs:  $5 (with tax)
Sharpie markers:  $0 (already had but $3-$10 in store)
Herb seeds:  $1.75 (had to buy basil; already had the other two)
Dirt:  $0 (borrowed from an empty pot outside)
Grand Total:  $6.75

Have you ever sharpied and baked?  What did you write on and how is it holding up?  Or maybe you’re dying to try it like I was?  I say go for it! 

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P.S.  It’s not too late to enter our Giveaway!!  So easy and you might win some craft essentials!


  1. They are perfection- love. They add a cozy look to your sill :). Cheeeeeers.

  2. I have been wanting to sharpie a few mugs for Christmas gifts (I have been pinning sayings for months!) but have been apprehensive about it because of all the wishwash on if they work! But I am totally going for it now! Love love the designs!!! So pretty and they really compliment your kitchen!

    Ps. Hope you are feeling well and all is good with your little ones (inside and out! ;) )

  3. Great project, Sheena! I always have thought this is such a neat idea, but also heard some who said it didn't work so well for them. So thank you for the tips!