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Father’s Day is approaching, so it’s time to think about gifts for dad. This is the perfect holiday to enlist the kids help in the creation of a unique present they helped to make.

If the dad in your life enjoys a cup of coffee, tea or any hot beverage, he is sure to love a customized mug emblazoned with his name or initials. Plain, ceramic mugs and dishes can be found at the dollar store or any home goods store and the decoration is achieved with vinyl letters and paint markers — both of which are easy to find in a hobby or craft store.

Place dad’s name or initials on the mug, being sure to press down on all of the edges of each letter. Dab the pen nib with a series of dots all around the vinyl letters, dotting right against the design. Once the painted design is complete, carefully remove the vinyl letters with a pair of tweezers and use a cotton swab with nail polish remover to clean up any places anywhere the paint has seeped over the edge. Follow the instructions on the paint pen for curing the paint. To make the mug dishwasher-safe, I needed to bake the ceramic pieces in the oven. I tried two different brands of paint pens and both indicated they were not food safe, so keep the initials low enough on the mug to be out of the lip zone when dad takes a sip. It’s also helpful to decorate the side that will face away from dad, depending on whether he is left or right handed.

A mug is also a handy place to store pens, pencils and other stray tools that may need organizing on dad’s desk. And if a mug doesn’t suit your dad, consider the same technique but applied to a plate for organizing his keys and pocket change on the dresser. I cut tiny hearts from swatches of vinyl and quickly dashed a paint pen from side to side inside the heart design, going off the edges onto the vinyl squares. Peeling away the vinyl reveals a hearty design that can also be touched up with a cotton swab and nail polish remover.

What father would not treasure such a handmade and heartfelt gift?

Contact Sandi and find free video demonstrations of more photo projects at sandigenovese.com.

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