Hi everyone! Now that spring is in underway I’m so excited to start making some fun and colorful DIY projects. Today I want to share with you this super easy technique for creating beautiful watercolor mugs. These mugs are completely one of a kind and would make the perfect gift. The best part about this project is that all of the supplies were found at the Dollar Tree! So basically you can make this cute set of mugs for under $10! How awesome is that? All right, let’s get started.
To make this project you will need the following supplies. Like I said before, all of my supplies were purchased at the Dollar Tree.
Assorted colors of Nail Polish
Clear Acrylic Sealant Spray (optional) – not found at Dollar Tree
First, fill your bowl with warm water. The water doesn’t have to be super hot, but just make sure it’s warm and not freezing cold. Choose a color combination for your first mug design. I wanted my mugs to have a simple color scheme so I paired a single color with white for each mug.
For each color design, you need to move quickly because the nail polish starts to set on the surface of the water if you leave it for too long. If that happens, it won’t stick properly to the mug.
Pour the first color slowly into the water. You don’t need to use a ton because the nail polish will spread out on the surface of the water.
Next, pour the second color into the water. For me this was the white nail polish. Let the colors spread out slightly on the surface of the water and mix together. If you want you can use a toothpick to mix or marble the colors together.
Take the mug by the handle and slowly dip a section of it into the water through the design. Be careful not to dip the rim of the mug into the nail polish because that’s the part your mouth will touch if you drink out of these mugs. You also don’t want the nail polish to get inside of the mug.
Hold the mug still in the water and do not move it around. After a few seconds, slowly remove the mug from the water. The nail polish design will stick to the side of the mug. Make sure to not pull the mug too fast or excess nail polish will gather together and make a thicker design on the side of your mug. If you notice some excess nail polish gathering, you can take another toothpick and guide it away from your mug as you remove it from the water.
Set the mug upside down on a paper towel and let it dry for at least a half hour to allow the nail polish to completely set. Once the mug has dried completely, you will have a beautiful watercolor design!
As an optional last step, you can seal the design using a clear acrylic sealant spray. To preserve your design, these mugs should be hand-washed and should not be used in the microwave.
This pink mug was my first attempt, and amazingly it came out great! My next few attempts did not go as smooth. Thankfully, because this project is made with nail polish, you can use nail polish remover to completely erase the design if you mess up or if you just don’t like how the design came out. Just make sure you completely wash and dry the mug before you re-dip it into a new nail polish design.
After a few extra tries, I created 4 mugs that I absolutely love!
Here’s some extra tips I discovered along the way:
Let the nail polish completely spread out
See those dark spots on the water? Before dipping your mug into the nail polish, make sure any darker spot completely spread out or you won’t get the watercolor look that we are going for.
Use a toothpick to create designs
A toothpick can be used to make some marbling in your design or mix the colors together better. Just make sure you don’t move the design around too much or the nail polish will gather around your toothpick and start to come off of the surface of the water. That will ruin your design and you will have to start over.
If you do have to star over, don’t worry. Just take a paper towel and skim the surface of the water to collect all the nail polish. This should also be done between designs to clean the nail polish out of the water so the next colors can be poured.
Angle the mug for the best design placement
Before dipping the mug into the water, look at the design and think about the placement of your mug. You might have to angle the mug a certain way to get the best part of your design onto your mug.
Glitter nail polish does not work for this project. I bought a bunch of different colors to try for this project and one of those “colors” was a multi-colored glitter nail polish. When I poured this nail polish into the water, the glitter particles were too heavy and sank to the bottom of the bowl. Also, since the base “color” of glitter nail polish is basically clear, you won’t be able to see a design.
Use a white or clear mug
White mugs would be perfect for this project, but a solid color or patterned mug won’t work very well. It would look too busy. I choose clear mugs for this project because I liked that the watercolor design could be seen on the inside and outside of the mug. Also, you could use any type of dish with this technique and create unique décor for your home. I’m thinking about creating some small watercolor bowls to use as organizing containers for my jewelry.
This project was really simple and the results are so pretty! I love how the different colors mixed with white create a watercolor effect on the clear mugs. I can’t wait to use these outside on our porch this summer for my morning coffee!
Let me know in the comments below which color combination is your favorite?