Every year I rack my little brain to find ideas for Christmas presents that the kids can make. My criteria are: the finished product needs to look half decent, must not be too messy to make, uses easily sourced materials, and MUST be simple and quick to do. Last year, we made these super cute personalised Christmas mugs – and you can too! Here’s how.

First I bought some plain white mugs from Briscoes – make sure they are big enough so there is plenty of room for little fingers to draw on easily.

From Whitcoulls, I picked up gold, silver and black paint pens. I also bought some spray on varnish to ‘fix’ the finished drawings. More on this later.

I lined up the Ms 6s for their task. We practised drawing first on plain paper – a few stars, angels, Christmas trees plus the correct spelling of the recipients names! The pressure was on to get it right, first time. Smothering the table with newspaper, I put on my best barking voice and started my sweat shop operation. “Don’t smudge it!” “Change colours!” “Now use a different drawing!” “Next cup!”; chop, chop, chop.

My poor 6-year-old artists obligingly churned out cup after cup, as I wrung their creative juices dry. Try to keep the lip area of the cup clear of paint, even if it is non-toxic (which mine was).

I put aside the cups overnight to let the paint dry, and sprayed on two coats of matt varnish over the next two nights. Once dry, I filled the cups with individually wrapped chocolates, bundled them up in cellophane and ribbon…. and voila! Personalised presents for the family all sorted.

Note: the staying power of the paint was not as I would have liked. These cups were more for decorative purposes than for throwing in the dishwasher every day after your morning cuppa so it pays to let the recipients know this. Alternatively make a test cup and see how it survives a few wash cycles beforehand!

I’m not sure what this year’s crafty gift will be, and hopefully the (now) Ms 7s will have forgotten the assembly-line experience of last year. Have fun making your own cherished personalised mugs and please share this easy idea with your time-poor parent friends!