DIY Photo Mug

This post was sponsored by Adobe Photoshop Elements.  All opinions are 100% mine.

My husband loves hot chocolate, and drinks it nearly every day when he’s at work.  The other day he mentioned wanting a mug for his office, and not too much later, asked me for new photos of the kids.  The lightbulb went off, and I decided to combine the two for the most perfect gift…a Photo Mug!

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

Did you know Mod Podge makes a dishwasher safe version? It’s true!  I was thrilled to learn about it, because it really opens up so many more possibilities, including this adorable DIY Photo Mug.  It’s super easy to do, and makes such a fun gift.  With the holidays coming up, think of all the people you could make one for!

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

I started out by editing the image I was going to use in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15, which is my favorite editing software.  There are simply so many ways to make my photos better, and they make it easy.  Super easy.  And they think of everything!   Let me show you just a few of the things I love…

I opened my photo (File>Open)…

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

then clicked on the Quick tab at the top of the screen. When you want just a quick edit, this is the place to go!  Right at your fingertips you have the ability to quickly change the exposure, lighting, color, and sharpness of the photo.

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

Some of my favorite new features of Photoshop Elements 15 are in the Guided section, the next tab over.  There are SO many options and possibilities that not only help edit your photo, but also create fun edits and projects as well. One of my favorites is under the “Special Edits” section, called “Perfect Portrait”, which you can see below.  

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

If you need to remove red eyes or brighten them, whiten teeth or take a few pounds off with the “Slim down” button (yes…you read that right!), this is the place to do it.  When it comes to editing a family photo, there is always a tweak or two (or three) that needs to be done, and this just gives it that extra boost.

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

Have you ever had the perfect photo, minus the fact that one person isn’t smiling?  I’m here to spread some super exciting news…you can actually give them a smile with Photoshop Elements 15!  It’s true!  I just love this feature, because with kids, trying to get them to smile when you want them to is so, so hard. Have you had that happen too? Trying to get a good picture of all of my kids at the same time seems pretty much impossible, but thankfully Photoshop Elements has come to the rescue. This is one of my favorite features, along with the ability to enhance all the other facial features as well.

To do this, you need to click on the “Quick” tab at the top of the page, then Enhance > Adjust Facial Features.

Easy DIY Photo Mug | simply

It opens up a menu that gives you choices for Smile, Nose, Eyes, and Lips. In this screenshot, I’ve clicked on Lips, so you can see the different options.  If you want to add or reduce a smile, click on the sliding button and move it to one side or the other.  You can tweak it as much or as little as you like. A circle will appear around each face–the face you have selected will be the aqua color, and the others are gray.  Just click from face to face to make edits. Just the click of a button!

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

The eyes are also something I like to edit—make them bigger, wider, and even reduce squinting. Here’s the before picture of my darling little boy who was squinting in this picture…

DIY Photo Mug | simply

And here’s the after! You can see that I was able to open his eyes a little bit more, which I love. You can see on the sliders to the right of this picture how much I altered it.

DIY Photo Mug | simply

Once I made all my photo edits, I was ready to resize it to fit my mug.  It’s super easy to do!

Go to Image > Resize > Image Size.

Easy DIY Photo Mug | simply

Type in the size you need your photo to be to fit on your mug.  Make sure you have the box that says “constrain proportions” checked, because this will make sure that when you change the size, it maintains the correct proportions of the image, and ensures all the faces aren’t stretched funny!

Easy DIY Photo Mug | simply

Next I inserted my photo into Word, then printed it on to white cardstock.

DIY Photo Mug | simply

After it was printed, I ready to add the photo to my mug using dishwasher safe Mod Podge  and a foam brush. I absolutely love how it turned out!

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

Here’s a short video tutorial that shows how I made the mug once I printed my photo…


Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply




-white cardstock

-clear nail polish

-dishwasher safe Mod Podge

-foam brush



*Print your photo.  You have a couple of options here.  You can print your photo at a photo center as a tradition photo.  If you do, you can skip the next step and go directly to the Mod Podge step.  I decided to just print my photo at home on regular card stock, and it also saved me a trip to pick up a photo!  After my photo was edited and re-sized in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15, I inserted it into Word and printed it on white cardstock.

*To help stop any colors from bleeding, I actually put a coat of clear nail polish over the top of the photo, and it dried in less than a minute.  Once it was dry, I was ready to Mod Podge!

*Using your foam brush, put a layer of Mod Podge on the mug where you want the photo to be, and on the back of your photo.  Gently place your photo on the mug, and use your foam brush to put a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the photo.  Follow the directions on the back of the Mod Podge bottle–there are specific directions about how many total layers you need, and what has to be done for it to be cured and dishwasher safe.

*Some color bleeding might still happen. I was super careful and cautious on that first coat, and used a paper towel to wipe away any color that came off.  I would still do it that way again because it saved me so much time, and I like the final product, but if you want to be totally safe, then I would use an actual photo.  You can even print a photo at home on photo paper if you prefer!

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

Easy DIY Photo Mug Gift Idea | simply

I can’t wait to make these darling photo mugs for Christmas gifts…they’re perfect for family (grandparents!)  friends, teachers, and more!

Share and save for later!

Similar Posts


  1. Thank you so much! I have been looking for a tutorial that did not use sublimation ink and one that was easy to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.