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29.7.14

54 DIY | Watercolor Mug

Contributor post by  Caitlin of The Merrythought


Lately, I've felt like someone could come in and splash some watercolor patterns all over everything I own and I wouldn't mind it one bit. Unfortunately, in a few months, I'm sure I would be a bit annoyed with that decision. So I've been trying to come up with a few ways to add some faux watercolor splashes around my house. Last week, I was watching my cousin give herself a "watercolor" manicure and I thought, that would be a great technique to use on a mug! So I tried it… and it works!

What you need:
-White Ceramic Mug
-Old or Disposable Bowl/Container
-Nail Polish


How to make it:
-Fill the bowl with warm water.
-Add a drop of nail polish to the water and let it spread out. You can also use a skewer to swirl the color around a bit to give it the effect you'd like.
-Dip your mug in the water.
-You can use nail polish remover to remove any excess nail polish on the bottom and inside of the mug or sections that got messed up.
-Carefully pat mug dry with paper towel.
-You can repeat with additional colors if you want.
-Once you've achieved the look you want, let it sit for at least two hours.








I would recommend hand washing these mugs. (Although I haven't tried mine in the dishwasher yet!) Durability will also depend on quality of the nail polish a bit - just as it would on your nails. I let mine sit for about 5 hours then scrubbed them and they were fine. If you run into problems, try coating the outside with a clear coat of nail polish or a non toxic finishing spray.

About the Contributor



Caitlin McGrath lives in a small town in Western New York. When her face isn't hidden behind her camera, she's usually crafting and daydreaming for The Merrythought, where she is a part of the three lady team sharing DIY projects, recipes, fashion, home décor & and bits of daily life.

54 comments:

Natalie Vargas said...

These are awesome! Love the pink :) Love an easy DIY!

alicia carvalho said...

That is so neat! Love this simple DIY

Amy W said...

This is STUNNING! Thanks for sharing with us.

thebriskis said...

This is exactly what I have been dreaming about! Perfect timing!

Do you know if you can use the watercolor-ed mug in the microwave without it cracking or melting off or I'm not even sure?

Anna S said...

Śliczne wyszły! :)

Samantha Pettus said...

I can't WAIT to try this!
http://www.specificallysouthern.com/

Nina Leung said...

Awesome idea! Nail polish?! That's amazing! I'm so gonna try this over the weekend. Goodwill here I come!

Estela said...

ohhhh I love it! Thanks!

Reni said...

These are gorgeous!! And they look so easy to make.
Thanks for sharing.
the little lion girl

Julie Reinwald said...

Oh my word, these are SO cool! Love them!

Monika Mazur BZIK IBERYJSKI said...

This is genius! I will definitely try it out.

Mary K said...

Who would come up with this idea! This is crazy cool. thanks.

Carolyn said...

Great DIY. The look is so simple and clean. I love it.
Carolyn | BLOG

sweet harvest moon said...

Love this!

Nicole Sanchez said...

Hi,
I love this idea so much! I've tried it a few times with less than desirable results. It seems like the nail polish is dissipating into a clear film. Should I just add more until I start to see color? Also, do you have any tips on exactly how to dip the cup in to the water in order to get those beautiful edges?
This is so pretty ~ Thanks in advance!

Brooke Zotti said...

Same thing happened to me Nicole!
Is there a special kind of nail polish I need to use?

Brooke Zotti said...

Same thing happened to me Nicole! The nail polish didn't spread like that at all. Is there a special type of nail polish we should be using?

Caitlin said...

Nicole - Add a more few drops if you're only getting a clear film. I had the same thing happen with one of my lighter, thinner nail polishes and it worked just fine once I added a few more drops.

As far as dipping... I dipped mine straight down towards one side of the nail polish blob and then rolled it to the opposite side to pick up the rest of the polish floating on the water.

Hopefully that helps!

Colleen said...

Love it Caitlin! I've used nail polish to marble easter eggs but didn't imagine it could look this good! Can't wait to give it a try :)

Karen Drake said...

Wicked what a great way of brightenin up plain mugs and use up old nail varnishes :-)

Linda Kilmurray said...

easy peasy ,love them

Barb D said...

I too want to know if you can microwave them? Nail polish is FLAMABLE! This maybe really pretty..BUT, how safe are they? 1-in the microwave..2-if color gets near top where you put your mouth etc...I'm not all that happy with using nail polish on something you heat up and drink from. :-(

Jan Halvarson said...

Barb,

Caitlin recommends hand washing only. Microwaving is not recommended.

Erin L said...

Do you think this would work on those metal pails/buckets that are painted white? I am thinking a blue water color effect moving up the bottom. Thoughts?

iselgretajane.com said...

would be cool on a candle - then you wouldn't have to worry about washing!

Ma Bi said...

I love it!

Angie S. said...

Wow! So many possibilities on blank blah canvases...picture frames, candle holders, jars used for gift in a jar, plain clay beads...the list goes on & on! Thanks so much for sharing!

Candice Shirley said...

What a great idea. It looks very easy to make and so stylish. Def. gonna try it!

Louise104 said...

Looks great. I just tried it however when I went to swirl the nail polish it just lumped together and formed a skin on top of the water - I was able to peel it off like you would a skim of milk - any suggestions?

Kayla Brown said...

Hi all! Some tips that I thought were worth mentioning (after many unsuccessful attempts!)
-the size of the container youre dipping into counts: i found using a smaller, shallow-ish dish worked better. the polish spreads out if the dish is too large (and dries too fast) making it harder to create a design or "random" effect. The dipping dish should be small but large enough for you to dip your desired piece in.
-double up on the colour: I liked the example in this blog of one color and sort of a minimalist effect. Double (triple or more) the drops of polish for a more intense effect/coloring. this also serves to keep the polish from drying on the top and forming a skin too soon.
-work fast: again, the polish dries quick. if youre having a hard time, work faster.
-drip close: dripping the polish too high up causes it to sink to the bottom in a ball. drip close to the surface and the polish should disperse beautifully.
and last: (and what I was most grateful for!) if you decide you do not like the turn out, I found you can start again(ish). The polish seemed to wipe of fairly easy if done right away. on the flip side, if you happen to achieve the desired look,set aside to dry thoroughly so as to ensure the print stays.
Good luck, folks!!:)

mj keeton said...

I've done marbling a bit and read everything I've been able to find about the technique. Everything I have read has said that nail polish is NOT food safe and if you use it to marble things, you should not eat/drink out of them afterwards!

Naomi said...

I'd do this on a small pot to hold a little plant. Or maybe a small dish to hold keys/earrings etc. No need to worry then about being heat/food safe.

Stephanie Beresford said...

This is such an amazing DIY! Thank you for sharing, I will definitely have to try it. xo

www.lifemeetme.blogspot.com

Jaclyn Maher said...

Thanks for these tips I was becoming frustrated.

Bette Lee said...

Drinking out of the mug is no different than sticking your polished nail in your mouth or food

Anna Sullivan said...

Love this idea! I will definitely be trying this soon!

Mayelle said...

Your idea is brilliant! And easy to do! Thanks for sharing, i'm gonna do this right now !

Maria Eugenia said...

i´ll try it, on glass...great idea!

Beatriz said...

Lovely DIY, I will try

Darling.. said...

This is an amazing idea ! I found it on pinterest. I shared it on our blog : http://thedeluxekit.com/10-inexpensive-creative-mugs/

Lenaya Kvale said...

How do you wash it?

Lenaya Kvale said...

How do you wash it?

Jan Halvarson said...

Lenaya - Caitlin mentions in this post (see last bottom paragraph) to hand wash.

Jocelyn said...

What product does everyone recommend to seal it? What sort of spray sealer?

Caitlin said...

Jocelyn - You can try using ModPodge dishwasher-safe gloss. You will want to avoid the inside of the mug and around the top where your mouth will be because, although it's non-toxic, it's not FDA approved food safe.

dOri said...

The result is amazing! I'll try to do it :)

magdArt said...

Made it with the first try... hehe... happy for the result. thanks for this. I will do more...

magdArt said...

loving it.. you can check it if you follow the link... https://www.facebook.com/magdart/photos/a.440913077485.245578.48631747485/10152801673052486/?type=1&theater

GiGisonline@gmail.com said...

There are several ways to do this type of work and make it permenant; as in Making it part if the object itself. I've use acrylic & water colors both. When dry. By placing in warm oven 225/250F for 15-20 minutes, it is now as if it came from the factory like that. And by spraying a light coat of Non-Stick around the rim before dipping will ensure easy wipe off and safe for drinking. It seems to me this should work much like Easter Egg Dipping BUT possibly by spraying a lite coat to surface of water prior to adding colors may help also. We want the colors to remain afloat. And here's the best part;..I've alwaysmde sure to turn on hot water from kitchen sink immediately prior to turning dishwasher on. You do not have to use that Hot Hot Heater (saves lots on energy costs and saves marriages, ha).. Your partner can no longer takes the blame for melted plastic objects in bottom tray! These ideas will work on strong white plastic plates too, (just make sure you don't leave plastic in oven no longer than 15 mins on 200-225. You cannot mess this up; so much fun when kids can help. Hope we can get this 'down' cuz Holidays are coming 'up'! GiGi

Liera Grace King-Vigilia said...

Must try! This beautiful!

wperez said...

I love these mugs. I made mine with a small swirl and I also made a rainbow tie dye and it came out looking really nice.

Gina C. Vick said...

Tried with acrylic bc of your suggestion and I ended up with colored water. What am I doing wrong? Also will the acrylic, when done properly, become one with the mug better than the nail polish? Can I even bake the mug used with polish? Trying to make some gifts and having NO luck!

Gina C. Vick said...

How did you get the polish to swirl?? Mine dries inmediately (even using 'expensive' polish)
Any suggestions or tips will be appreciated :)

Megan Isis said...

I tried doing this with nail polish and it just wasn't working. It could be the type of nail polish-so I switched methods and grabbed ceramic paint. I worked a lot better with that! :)
Eitherway-absolutely love how your mugs look!