Water Marbled Mugs

Monday, May 18, 2015

Welcome to part two of this miniseries! If you want to check out part one, click here to see my Urban Outfitters inspired Geometric Planter!

I've been obsessing over this water-marbled mug trend for a while, and I finally decided to try it out for myself.  These mugs are meant to mimic the look of water colour paint swirled in water, and I have to say they're pretty spot on.  If you dare to try this out, be warned: it's addictive!  I was tempted to water marble everything within reach.

Not only is this DIY easy, but it's also fairly cheap.  I made this pair of mugs for under $10.00 by using cheaper nail polishes and items I had at home.

To make your own water-marbled mugs, you will need:

Nail polish in your choice of colour(s) (I used Mint, Latte, and Emerald from Joe Fresh)
A deep disposable dish (or one that you don't mind getting dirty)
Skewers/a plastic spoon
HOT water
2 White ceramic/porcelain mugs
Paper towel
Cotton balls
Nail polish remover

Total Time: 30 minutes (mostly because I was playing around with different designs, and trying to water-marble other things)

Let's get started!


First you want to wash your mugs out with soap and water to remove any residue.  

Fill your deep dish with HOT water.  You'll need a deep dish so you can dip your mugs in the container without ruining the marble effect, and you need hot water so that your nail polish wont dry too quickly while you're marbling your mugs.

Gently pour your nail polish onto the surface of the water.  If you pour too much too fast, you will end up with blobs of nail polish at the bottom of the dish.  Not good.  Take your time, and the drops of nail polish will stay on the surface and spread, creating a nail polish film over the surface of the water. What you see at the bottom of my pan are the little metal balls from the nail polish bottle ... it doesn't matter that they're there, as they don't affect the final result.

If you're using more than one colour, gently pour the second colour into the water.  If you pour it all in one spot you'll end up with all of your colour in one spot.  This isn't an issue, but if you're looking for that marble effect you'll want to swirl the nail polish in.

Take your skewer or spoon and gently stir the polish, swirling it gently to create any pattern of your choice.  Work quickly, as the nail polish will have begun to dry.  Or, do as I did, and leave it as is!

When you're satisfied with the pattern of the polish, dip your mug into the nail polish to transfer the design to the mug.

To get this design, I dipped my mug straight into one colour (Latte by Joe Fresh) of nail polish, and rolled it around in the water to pick up as much of the nail polish as possible.  I then lifted it straight out and set it to dry.

I loved this single coloured mug, but since I wanted to make a set, I decided to try marbling another colour over.  Once this polish was dry (wait 5 minutes), I patted it dry with paper towels and dip into a pale mint colour (Mint by Joe Fresh).  I made sure to swirl this over the brown and onto the other side of the mug that hadn't yet been marbled, so that I got to see both colours.

My other mug was a bit of a fail, but it still looks nice!  I dipped the second mug into a two colour water-marble (Latte and Mint by Joe Fresh), and rolled around in the water to pick up as much of the nail polish as possible.  Again, I lifted it out and set  to dry.

You may get water stuck between layers of polish.  That's what happened on my second mug ... plus I had some clumping nail polish.  You can press on the water bubbles to remove them, or leave them ... they look nice!  As for the nail polish clumps, you can clean them off or scrape them off carefully, but I left mine as I felt that would ruin the design.

A couple of tips:

If you make a mistake, don't worry!  Just wait until the polish dries to the touch, and remove it using cotton rounds and nail-polish remover.

Some people clean out extra nail polish from the surface of the water wile the mug is submerged using a skewer to prevent the polish from sticking to the sides of the mug as you pull it out.  I personally didn't care to do it because I wanted some texture (and because I'm lazy), but try that out if you're not liking how the mugs are turning out!

Once you have a design you are satisfied with, wait until it's completely dry to pat dry.  You'll avoid ruining a design you're happy with, and the water droplets add some character/texture to the polish underneath.

If these will be used for drinking, AVOID the top 2 inches of the cup.  You don't want to ingest nail polish.

These mugs need to be handwashed to preserve the design.  If you're gifting them to someone, make sure they know this!

The bubbles on the mug on the left look WAY better in person ... trust me.  

I LOVE the way these mugs turned out.  They're perfect for their intended purpose.  Want to know what it is? Check back next week for the final part of this mini-series.  In the meantime, check out last week's post, and see if you can figure out what I'll be doing with these mugs!

If you want to watch a video on water-marbling mugs, check out these tutorials:
DIY Marble/Watercolour Mug by Aarica Nicole
Water Colour Coffee Mugs by Get Crafty Crafty 

I'll see you guys here next week when I reveal the final results!

- xoxo, Jayy

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