Another Last Minute DIY Christmas Gift – Distance Mugs

Want another wallet-friendly DIY gift idea like these cool coasters? Well, here you go!


This week I got together with Emily, one of my closest friend I met years ago through work. When tax accounting had lost its luster (hard to imagine…), Emily decided to go back to school to be a physician’s assistant. I was and still am so proud of her bravery, but very sad that her decision meant a move from Ohio to Arkansas. I was used to seeing this girl every Friday morning for our weekly coffee dates, so I miss her tremendously.

I wanted to get Emily a Christmas present that was unique, fun and sweet – just like her. I was trolling around on Etsy, searching through “long distance friends” gifts when I ran across these mugs.

State or Country Heart Mugs-Going Away Present, Going Away Gift, Moving Away, Long Distance Relationship, Adoption- Customize

Perfect gift for my coffee pal! But yikes – $30.00?! Uh, Em, I love you – but that’s a little ridic.

When I couldn’t find anything I liked as much as these, I knew I had two options: suck it up and pay the steep price tag, or spend the time to do these myself. You can guess which one I chose 🙂

Do you have a long-distance friend or family member? This gift is sure to  make them happy! And since they cost under $5 to make, you’ll be happy too.

To make these mugs, you’ll need an afternoon and the following:

* Two porcelain mugs (I got mine for $1 each at Giant Eagle)
* A black Sharpie
* A colored Sharpie for the heart (I used red, but I think blue or pink would be really cute too)
* Paper towels and a small bowl of water
* Notebook paper or another kind of thin paper
* Eyeliner
* An oven

First step is to trace the outline of the states you need on notebook paper and cut them out. I used my phone as a guide, which worked out well:


Of course, if you have mad drawing skills, you can skip this step.

Next, tape the cut-out state to a mug and trace with the eyeliner. Try to use as little eyeliner as possible – trust me, you do not want to deal with gobs of the stuff later. Set that mug aside to dry, and do the same thing to the other state and mug. Remove the paper when done.


Now for the fun part: the Sharpie! Using the black Sharpie, trace along the eyeliner in the shape of the state. If you mess up, you have about 5 seconds to rub off the Sharpie with a paper towel. Any longer and you will REALLY have to rub to get the marker off. Dipping the paper towel in a little bit of water sometimes helps. Once you’ve traced the state with the Sharpie, let it dry for about 15 minutes and gently wipe off the eyeliner with a paper towel. If any of the Sharpie rubs off, carefully re-trace. With the red Sharpie, draw a heart over the city in which each person lives.

The next step took me the longest: drawing the dotted lines. I thought this would be the easiest part, but those little buggers are surprisingly hard to get right. The more of a perfectionist you are, the longer this will probably take. Again, if you make a mistake or don’t like how it turned out, wipe off with a paper towel.

When you’re done, set the mugs side by side to make sure everything lines up ok:


When you’re satisfied with how they look, time to bake ’em!


Bake the mugs for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. When they are finished, leave them in the oven with the door cracked to cool. Once they are cool, gently wash them.


Give your faraway friend your state’s mug, and you keep your friend’s state’s mug. Add a bag of coffee or a bottle of flavored syrup, and the gift is complete! Now every time I use my Arkansas mug, I’ll think of Emily, and because I told her she has to, I know she’ll do the same. 🙂

**UPDATE** I used my mug today (it rocks), so I have some tips for cleaning these. I washed the mug in warm water using Dawn dish soap and LIGHT pressure on the part with the Sharpie. I would not recommend scrubbing the part with the Sharpie with hard pressure or putting these in the dishwasher.

11 thoughts on “Another Last Minute DIY Christmas Gift – Distance Mugs

  1. I looooooooooooove these!! I was browsing through Pinterest for cute DIY-mug ideas and these just… wow. Did I mention that I LOOOOOVE them?! 😉 😀

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