Easy DIY Inspirational Coffee Cup Gift Set Using Water Slide Decal Paper

This DIY Inspirational Cup set would be perfect for a wedding gift or coffee bar. I’ve been planning to build a coffee bar in our kitchen for some time now and these mugs are the first step in the process. I appreciate the daily reminder that the building blocks of true love require action. Maybe I can focus on one action/one cup per day! LOL!

How to make a DIY inspirational cup set or coffee mugs with a complete tutorial for Water Slide Decal paper for a gift. Includes free printable design to make this project simple.

The inspiration for these cups came a while ago during a church service. The message was on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. I was thinking that there should be an easier way for me to remember these verses. That’s when the coffee cup idea came to life in my head. It took me a long time to get around to creating these, but I did it! I hope you like them as much as I do!


To get your free printable for this DIY inspirational cup set, just subscribe at the top of the side bar or at the bottom of this post. You will be sent a welcome letter with a password to my free printables & cut files library. I’ve made the file available as a PDF, JPEG and Silhouette.

Once you access the library, just click on the image to download your file and save it to your computer.

Mug Design Printable

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You will need to purchase Hayes Water Slide Decal Paper Transparent for Inkjet Printers. Be sure that the paper is transparent and it is for Inkjet Printers. You will also need a can of Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating to seal your printer ink. Lastly, you will need coffee cups, tumblers or glasses. I purchased my cups at the dollar store.

Supplies for DIY Coffee Mugs.

You will also need an Inkjet printer. I have an HP Envy 5660 printer. All printers work a little differently, so you will need to read the instructions for your printer. For my printer, I loaded the paper with the glossy side facing down. You want to print on the glossy side of the paper.

Set the print settings to high quality print, gloss photo paper. Once the image is printed, wait 5 minutes for it to dry.


Note: This is an important step. Without the top coat, the water will ruin your printed image.

Take your printed image outside and place it in a cardboard box. Then spray an even coat of acrylic protective finish over the image. Wait approximately 30 minutes or until it’s dry to the touch and coat it again. You will want to cover the image with 3 coats in total.


Once the top coat is dry, you can cut out your image. I designed and provided a free Silhouette cut file. You don’t need to use a cutting machine to do this project, though. After trying it both ways, I honestly felt like using scissors was the easier route.

You want to cut your image out leaving a slight border around it. I’d say about an 1/8 inch is a good size for the border. My favorite craft scissors are cutter bee precision scissors.


Once all of your decals are cut, you will want to have a container with about 2 inches of warm water. Note: I tried cold water and it didn’t work as well. It is also helpful to have a bowl with a dish towel inside of it to hold your cup. This way your hands are free to work with the decal. Keep an extra dish towel or paper towel handy to dry up any extra drips.

How to use water slide decal paper.


Place your decal in the water. It will curl up at first. When you can uncurl it or make it flat again, it is ready to remove. This is about 10 -20 seconds. If you leave it in the water too long, the decal will become fragile and rip easily. If you don’t leave it long enough, it will be difficult to slide off the backing.

How to use water slide decal paper.

Next, place your decal on the mug and flatten it out. While pressing on the surface of the decal with your left hand, slide the paper backing from behind the decal with your right hand.

How to use water slide decal paper.
How to use water slide decal paper.

Once the paper backing is removed, you will have a brief period of time to position and smooth out the decal. I used a ruler to make sure all of my decals were the same distance from the top of the mugs. Then I centered them from left to right by eye.

Measure placement for water slide decal.

Next, gently smooth out the decal with your index fingers. You don’t want to press too hard or you can tear the decal. Just lightly run your fingers over the image to smooth out any bubbles and flatten it. Gently dab off any excess water with a paper towel.

Let the decal set and dry for at least 3 hours. Don’t expose them to direct sunlight during this time.


The final step is to bake the cups in the oven at 230 degrees for 20 minutes. I placed all ten of the cups on a cookie sheet and placed them in the oven. The package directions say to bake them for 10-15 minutes, but I let mine go for 20 minutes.

The package directions say that ceramics are NOT dishwasher safe and should be cleaned by a gentle hand wash.


To access this DIY inspirational cup printable and many other free printables from my library, just subscribe at the bottom of this page. You’ll receive a welcome letter and regular updates on my blog posts, along with the password to my FREE PRINTABLES AND CUT FILES LIBRARY.

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How to make a DIY inspirational cup set or coffee mugs with a complete tutorial for Water Slide Decal paper for a gift. Includes free printable design to make this project simple.
How to make a DIY inspirational cup set or coffee mugs with a complete tutorial for Water Slide Decal paper for a gift. Includes free printable design to make this project simple.
How to make a DIY inspirational cup set or coffee mugs with a complete tutorial for Water Slide Decal paper for a gift. Includes free printable design to make this project simple.

I hope this DIY Inspirational Cup Set inspires you with your next DIY craft project!



  1. Hi – I have a question re your waterslide decals. I am just doing one as a trial right now – thank you for the download! I have the decal on the mug and am waiting for it to dry before it goes in the oven. What happens to the clear material around the words that is excess? Does it blend in or melt or will you always see the edge of it? I don’t notice it in the images of your mugs. Thanks!

    1. Hi Deanna. Glad you reached out. You should only leave a small edge around your image when you cut it out. Once it dries, it will hardly be noticeable and even less after it’s baked. Please remember that they are not dishwasher safe. I tested it and the image does come off in the dishwasher.

      1. This may be a dumb question but…here goes…is the mug still microwave safe now that it has the image on it that’s been sprayed with Krylon. I would assume it should be as any fumes or whatnot would have evaporated by the time it’s been baked, right? (Overthinker, here.)

        1. Hi Rebekah. I think this is a good question, but I honestly don’t know the answer. I will say that I use these mugs mostly for decorative purposes and it’s best to hand wash them. I do know that the dishwasher will ruin the decal and hand washing is recommended. When I put them in the oven for the final step, it didn’t give off any bad smells and the decal is on the outside of the mug, so it’s not touching your beverage.

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