But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’
Excerpt from “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It’s multifaceted. On one hand, you have the Disneyfied cuteness of dressing up and going trick-or-treating — a great American childhood ritual. On the other, you have the dark gothic tales of yore. I prefer the latter. Now, I don’t really care for horror movies (except Hitchcock!), but give me a creepy book from the Victorian era anytime. I’m thinking of stories like Uncle Silas, Frankenstein and A Rose for Emily.
So what could be better than to curl up and read a dark tale with a steaming cup of tea? I know — how about a cup with a stenciled raven that you made yourself?
I’ve been seeing some really cute, Anthropologie-looking, stenciled mugs on Pinterest lately, (like this one from The 36th Avenue) and it inspired me to give it a try. However, I didn’t really like the stencils I found in craft stores. So, how do you make your own custom stencil? Not that long ago, I found a video from Lowe’s (below) that shows a step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own stencil using contact paper. Genius!
I found that using contact paper to stencil on a mug was especially great since the stencil could mold around the curve of the mug. Below are directions on how to make your own stenciled mug. If you’d like to use the raven stencil that I created, you can download it for free here.
DIY Mug Stencil Tutorial
- peel and stick contact paper
- craft knife
- stencil brush
- acrylic paint made for ceramics (I used Plaid Folk Art Enamel)
- small dish
Lay contact paper down with the shiny side up and tape to a cutting mat or board. Tape image or drawing that you want to stencil on top of the contact paper. Carefully, using the craft knife, cut out the outline of the image and then delicately punch out the contact paper. This may require some practice.
Clean the mug and wipe down with rubbing alcohol. Next, peel off the contact paper backing and stick on mug, making sure that the stencil is stuck to the mug securely.
In a small dish, squirt a small amount of acrylic paint. Before painting the mug, you may want to practice painting a stencil on a piece of paper first. Lightly dip brush into paint and tap off any excess. Then paint the stencil by pouncing, or tapping the flat top of the brush, on the mug. This will give you an even finish.
Carefully peel the stencil from the mug.
Don’t worry if the stencil outline isn’t completely crisp. You can use a toothpick to even out the edges while the paint is still wet.
When you have finished tidying up the stencil, let the paint air-dry for an hour. Follow the directions on the acrylic paint bottle to cure the mug. If you are using Folk Art Enamel, place mug on a cookie sheet in a cool oven that is not pre-heated. Turn on the oven and heat to 350 degrees. After the oven has reached 350, bake mug for 30 minutes. Then turn off heat and keep the mug in the oven until it has cooled completely. Now the mug is microwaveable and dishwasher safe (top rack).
Again, you can download a free raven stencil printable here.