DIY Watercolor Mug

My weeknights tend to get a little busy between work, intramural sports and happy hour with friends, but when I saw this post from Kelly at Paper Meets Pearl, I decided I had to make some time for crafting last week.  Thursday night worked best, so I got my honey sesame chicken recipe and crafting supplies ready for a fun night, and told Brittney to come over.

DIY Watercolor Mug

What you’ll need:

  • White mugs
  • Shallow container
  • Nail polish
  • Water

Wait, so water color doesn’t mean using actual water color paint?  In this case, yes.  Someone figured out that you could get a cool, water color feel by using nail polish on top of water, and considering I’ve been pretty obsessed with watercolor lately (ask my family) I was sold.

Ok so start by filling your container (like a tin, disposable baking pan) with some water, and get your nail polish out.  Put drops of the nail polish into the water in a design that you like.  You can add different colors for a different feel too.  The first drops will start spreading out, and the others will do all sorts of things.

Lesson learned: Getting drops out by using the little nail polish brush is kinda challenging, but you can just slowly pour the polish drop by drop.

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This was definitely a learning experience.  We figured out what the nail polish was going to do, and then just played with different colors and ways it was sitting on the water until we were happy.

Next step: Roll your mug on the water to apply the nail polish.  Ok, so the nail polish makes this like film on top of the water (who knew?), and when you roll the mug in the water, the film will adhere to the mug.  Once you’re happy with what you have, let it dry.

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I’ll admit this was a trial and error type of craft, and you can use nail polish remover to remove nail polish that doesn’t look good (aka my first try).  We also learned that it doesn’t show up as well on clear glass, and doesn’t really work well on really curvy glass — like a curvy vase.  Nail polish remover to the rescue!

Once we covered our mugs and glasses until we were happy, we let them sit while we ate dinner.

We read that you should let your mugs sit for a few hours, or overnight, and then when you hand wash them they should be good to go!  I washed mine the next day, and after they dried I sprayed some clear sealer on top.  I might also let them bake like painted wine glasses, just for good measure.

My pieces used a variety of blues and silver, and ended up not quite water color-y, but more like splatter paint.

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Thanks to Brittney who let me convince her to come over for a craft night.  This probably didn’t turn out how either of us imagined, but I still liked it!  And of course thanks to Hunter, who puts up with all of my random projects that I just come home and do 🙂  On to the next one…

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