I have a ton of nail polish (one day I’ll line them up, take a picture, and prove it to you). Many of them are old and starting to dry up, but I can’t muster up the courage to just throw them away! I’ve decided to start using the oldies in DIY projects, which should be easy because I’ve seen so many great nail polish DIY projects. Here’s one I tried today: a tie-dye mug. A little nail polish and a mug and, boom! You have a super cool, and super cheap, tie-dye mug. No need to spend $16 at Anthropologie.
Google “nail polish tie-dye mug” and you’ll find a ton of step-by-step tutorials on how to do this. But, here’s my take on it. It was my first try, so prepare for some better quality nail polish things in the future. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A deep plastic bowl filled with water (that you don’t mind messing up)
- A clean white ceramic mug
- Nail polish
- Paper towels
Step 1: Pick some nail polish colors. I’m a matchy-matchy kind of gal, so I picked colors that coordinate with my kitchen and living room — which, in apartment living, are pretty much the same room. I’ve got a modern-earthy-mid-century green, yellow, blue/teal thing going on so I went with different shades of green and teal. Some tutorials suggest using a high quality brand of nail polish for longevity, but I’d rather use the fancy nail polish on my nails … where it belongs. I decided to start off with seldom used, cheaper, old nail polish.
Step 2: Pour the nail polish into the water and mix. One at a time, but quickly, pour some of the nail polish gently into the water. Once the polish hits the water, it should spread out across the top of the water like it’s floating. This creates a thin layer of polish on the water. Quickly pour another color, and then another color. Pour as many colors as you want. After adding your colors, immediately take a toothpick to swirl the colors around.
You’ll notice some of the polish sank to the bottom of my bowl. I’m not exactly sure what happened. My guess is that I poured the polish into the water so quickly that the force caused it to sink. Maybe? When I added the nail polish a little more gently, slowly, it stopped sinking.
Step 3: Dip the mug into the water. After adding and swirling your colors, dip the mug (bottom first) into the water and turn it around a little. The nail polish will attach to the mug. Be sure not to let the nail polish sit too long in the water before dipping the mug because the polish will harden before you get a chance to dip.
Side note: I didn’t break the bank on this mug, and neither should you. I scored it in the clearance section of Home Goods for a buck. Also check out your local dollar store or thrift store for some good finds on mugs and glassware.
Step 4: Let the mug dry for a couple hours. After you achieve the look you want for your mug, go ahead and let it dry. Turn it over and let it dry over a paper towel. Let it sit for a couple hours before cleaning and using it.
Alternatively, you can add one color at a time to the mug. Add one color to the water, swirl, and dip the mug. Let it dry a couple minutes then add another color to the water, swirl, and re-dip the mug. Keep doing this to layer colors. It’ll achieve less of a tie-dye look, but it’ll still look great!
If you’re worried about the color fading, peeling, or scratching try adding a top coat of non-toxic sealer like dishwasher safe Modge Podge.
I just made this bad boy, so I haven’t tried using it or cleaning it yet. I’m assuming it’s going to be a hand wash only addition to my kitchen. When I accidentally put it in the dishwasher, which will happen, I’ll let you know how that goes. Fingers crossed!