Naming things; it’s a very primal instinct, isn’t it? From the time that I could write I have been carefully inscribing versions of my name onto everything I own, and indeed many things which I don’t (possession being nine tenths of the law and all that).  A therapist would doubtless put this down to my being briefly but significantly called David for the first few moments of my life, as during the general distraction and euphoria of childbirth at least one of my parents was apparently heard to cry ‘It’s a boy! Let’s name him David!‘ before being eventually corrected by the midwives. As my parents are both doctors, this anatomical oversight is hard to explain.

Like all stories that one’s brothers tell you, this is probably wholly untrue, but ever since then I have been keen to write my correct name, very clearly, everywhere.  Of course the excellent thing is that this kind of territorial behaviour is not something we’re expected to grow out of once we leave childhood behind; instead, we call it Personalisation and consider it to be a very on-trend and chic thing to do.  Hurrah. So today I have been busy personalising the entire contents of the china cabinet, using up some leftover chalkboard paint. Having hosted a bunch of friends for coffee this week and realised the error of having ten identical mugs, I’m wishing I’d done this sooner…

Tips and techniques below for those interested in giving this a whirl…

Making chalkboard teacups:

1. Choose your materials.  I used; 1) porcelain teacups; I had these at home but if you’re starting from scratch choose mugs with a matte finish for greater adhesion, or use a primer as I did for glossy bases like these. 2) Chalkboard paint, from any craft or DIY store. 3) A selection of brushes; thick for the main tag and fine for finishing edges. 4) Repositionable tape for straight lines when painting. 5. A ceramic pen or paint for your ‘thread’. 6. Sharp craft scissors for scraping unwanted paint and making the hole in your tag.

2. Mark up and paint; I used a simple tag for the outline and marked the long straight edges with tape to help me.  Don’t worry about being too exact; the chalk paint is forgiving and can be gently scraped away before finally dry.  Prime if necessary, then give it two coats, following the manufacturers instructions about drying time, before gently scraping out a circle in your tag with the tip of the scissors.  Your finish should now be pretty resilient (though not dishwasher proof), but you could also coat with a clear varnish for even more staying power if you like.

3. Add your coloured thread; I used a sparkly ceramic pen for this, and continued the thread into the cup so that it looks fun when filled with coffee.  Again, check drying times – some brands require you to bake on a low heat to fix the ink and make it permanent.

4. Personalise! I used a chalk marker pen, but all of these options (pictured) work equally well, and wipe off easily with a wet cloth so you can change whenever you like.  Of course, if you’re truly having a retro moment and find yourself mentally back in the schoolyard, this means you can rewrite the names hourly, as you change your friends and ditch your former BFF for someone far cooler and more popular. Ah, those were the days…

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