Sunday, August 19, 2012

Harry Potter House Mugs

My friend Melissa turned 25 over the weekend. Because she is perhaps the best Harry Potter fan I know (and proudest, might I add) I decided that the ultimate gift would be something connecting a healthy love of coffee with Hogwarts, where she certainly would have gone if they accepted her FASFA. I don’t know for sure which house Melissa would have been sorted into, and just one mug is no fun at all, so with very little searching (thanks to all of the other nerds on the internet, thanks guys!) I found crests for each house to put on a set of coffee mugs.

I ran off to Michael's to devise a plan to transfer a printed image onto a mug and ended up with a product called Omni-Gel (apparently it shares a name with some sort of dental product, so beware if you google it) that you can paint over an image then transfer it onto something. Also, in the Martha Stewart aisle I found some bakeable glaze that is supposed to seal and dishwasher proof decorated ceramics and glass. 

When I got home I cracked open a beer, put on a movie, and got to work on what I was sure would be the coolest birthday gift ever. The first step was to print out the images, and apply 3 coats of Omni-Gel over the top of the images, allowing each coat to dry before doing the next.
Step two was to cut out each image, leaving just small border around it, and soak it in water for about 20 minutes. Then, using fingers and/or a tea towel wipe all of the paper off of the back. This is where I really got excited! Suddenly, I had 4 very cool vinyl-like Harry Potter decals.
Using more Omni-Gel, this time like glue rather than paint, I affixed each crest to a mug. When that was try (or dry-ish) I covered the whole mug with the ceramic glaze, and left them to dry over night.

In the morning, I excitedly woke to bake the mugs and set the glaze—the final step of this labor intensive process. I have to admit I was a little nervous, so I checked the mugs after 5 minutes, and everything seemed okay. At the end of 15 minutes though, when the timer went off, I was very disappointed to find that the Omni-Gel had burnt into a dark brown sort of bubbly mess.

This, I’m somewhat certain, is the point at which sane people say, “Well, so much for that idea, I’ll just bring her a bottle of wine.” But nope, not Veronica. Out I went to the store to buy another set of mugs and start again, after all, I had 8 whole hours before the party.

So, while putting the first set of mugs though a battery of tests, (What happens in the microwave? What happens in boiling water?) I made new decals and affixed them to the new mugs, covering the whole thing again with the glaze, but not baking it this time. Instead, I just left them outside in the 100˚ Upland sunshine to cure. Now the only question is what else can I transfer with the rest of this awesome Omni-Gel?