How to make custom cat (or dog) bowls using sharpie markers. DIY sharpie pet bowls are easy, cute, and can be made for temporary or semi-permanent use. This post is an updated version of Tiger’s original sharpie cat dish made many years ago. We’ve included fresh new design ideas like the heart paw prints above, just in time for a quick Valentine’s Day DIY. You can make your own custom pet bowl in just a few minutes!
Blast from the Past
When this post was first shared, Sharpie projects were all the rage for mugs, dishes, and more. With the arrival of crafting tools like Cricut, a whole new avenue of crafty customisation opened. See our Cricut pet crafts for ideas and inspiration. However, Sharpie marker projects can still be super fun and a very accessible with nothing required but a few inexpensive markers to get creative.
Temporary vs. Permanent (or Semi-Permanent) Custom Designs
One of the best things about DIY Sharpie pet bowl design is their semi-permanence. Instead of lamenting the perils of washing it all away if inadvertently placed in the dishwasher, let’s embrace it! If you have a plain pet dish, why not perk it up from time to time with an intentionally temporary face-lift? Celebrate holidays, special occasions, or just because anytime you like, and then start again!
Creating Permanent Marker Designs
In my experienced, even baked Sharpie projects (see details below) are more semi-permanent than permanent. If you want to make similar dishes with greater longevity, there are specialised paint markers available for creating designs on glass and/or ceramics, like the Pebeo example from my craft stash pictured below. You can buy these from craft stores or online retailers – check out the ceramic markers on Amazon (affiliate link) for product ideas.
Making Custom DIY Sharpie Marker Pet Bowl Designs
Supplies and Materials
To make similar DIY Sharpie pet bowls, you will need:
- Plain bowl(s)
- Sharpie markers
- Oven (optional for semi permanent designs)
If you don’t already have some Sharpies lying around the house, they’re readily available from a wide variety of retailers including department stores, office supply stores, and online retailers. It’s also handy to have a damp rag, just in case you need to correct any minor errors. For larger mistakes or redesigns, you can wash the bowl back to plain, dry thoroughly, and draw again.
Making Custom Pet Bowl Designs Using Sharpies
- Buy a plain ceramic bowl (or upcycle an old one from your cupboard).
- Wash and dry thoroughly.
- Draw your design carefully on the surface using your Sharpie markers. The design should be on the outside (non food contact) surfaces only. Don’t draw on the inside or top edges of the dish.
- As noted above, if you make an error at this stage, you can scrub the marker off your mug and start again. Easy!
Options for Setting the Sharpie Designs
For one-time use:
- Once your design is touch dry, simply use as-is. Take care with the positioning, especially if being used as a water dish to avoid any runny marker messes on sensitive surfaces.
- After use, the sharpie design can be washed off to restore the dish to plain or refresh with a new design.
For indefinite hand-wash use:
- Bake your bowl in at 180C (350F) for 30 minutes. Put the bowl in the oven before turning it on to reduce the risk of cracking from heat shock. Let it cool in the oven as well.
- Allow to cool completely before first use.
- Hand wash gently with care as needed.
If you would like to clean off the baked-on design for a refresh, running through the dishwasher and/or a vigorous hand scrubbing will typically remove all traces of the design. No promises though, so be careful with what you Sharpie as it may be permanent. If you would rather a more durable design, you can buy specialised glass/ceramic paint markers from a number of brands and follow the product directions as noted above.