Use a stencil and bake-on enamel paint to turn a kitschy mug into a valentine (or a piece of coffee-holding art)
Step 1: Gather Supplies
You will need:
a mug (I found this fine San Francisco souvenir item at my local thrift store)
enamel paint (Wal-Mart craft section)
scrap of contact paper
sharp exacto knife
some sort of design
Finally, I'll share the factoids about the San Francisco Cable Car system that are on my dorky mug
Step 2: Attach Your Pattern
Wrap the mug with contact paper as smoothly as possible.
Next tape on your design. I drew this (crappy) design but a silhouette image works great and you can find tons online. In fact, if it's birds you want, try here: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/birding123/identify/silhouette
Factoid: The first cable car in San Francisco started in 1893
Step 3: Cut Out Your Stencil
Use your exacto knife to carefully cut around your design. Consider carefully which parts of the stencil to remove. Note that the paint is not approved for contact with food so you probably want to stay away from the rim of your mug.
Factoid: Cable cars were invented by a man named Andrew something or other (I can't read it now that I've stenciled over it. Oops)
Step 4: Paint
Paint over the entire area but be careful not to force paint under the edges of your stencil.
Factoid: Something about 9.5 miles per hour, maybe that's how fast they go? These are some pretty bad factoids since I can only read part of each one!
Step 5: Remove Stencil
This is the tricky part and I would welcome collaboration and ideas. On the first ones I made, I removed the stencil immediately when I finished painting and had problems with the paint smearing.
This time I waited until the paint was dry (1 hour) and found that the edges peeled up along with the stencil so the edges weren't clean. It helps if you peel really carefully but is there a perfect time to peel?
Factoid: Operation of a cable car requires 2 people, a gripman and a brakeman
Step 6: Bake
Follow the instructions for the paint you've got. Mine said to heat to 350 degrees, bake for 30 minutes, and leave in the oven to cool.
And that's it. It can be put in the dishwasher on the top shelf.
Factoid: I really need to clean my oven.
Happy Valentines Day!