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DIY Marbled Mugs with Nail Polish (with Video!)

Did you know you can make cool marbled mugs with nail polish? It’s easy and you can have gorgeous gifts in minutes. These DIY nail polish mugs cost LESS than a dollar each!

Skills Required: Beginner. You will be using nail polish to create a marbled effect on a mug. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see a video of the process in action. You’re going to have a great time.

diy marbled mugs

I am SO excited to share this DIY mug decorating project with you, friends! I have been seeing the marbling trend all over Pinterest lately and finally succumbed to e-peer pressure; I tried some nail polish mugs for myself over the weekend.

I was so inspired by this gorgeous post where Jan marbled mugs, and decided I had to start there! My goal was to make them for some cute homemade gifts.

Making Marbled Mugs

The best thing about these nail polish mugs is that they only costs a couple of dollars to make – and even less time to finish. I found my mugs for $.79 each at Goodwill.

I used nail polish I already had at home, which means I was able to make six nail polish mugs for less than $5! A DIY mug is a steal with a BIG payoff. Plus, I’m obsessed with the outcome.

nail polish mug

Are Nail Polish Mugs Dishwasher Safe?

No, not right out of the gate. You can’t wash them in the dishwasher nor should you microwave them. Baking them only darkens the nail polish (sometimes to a color that is very unappealing) so don’t bother with that either. These are meant to be hand wash only – but you can seal them with Mod Podge.

Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge

If you’ve never tried Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge, this is the best way to seal your mugs. You’ll just paint the mug with the formula, and then let it cure for 28 days.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use it, but you shouldn’t wash it for that time frame (rinsing out is fine). The Mod Podge will extend the life of your mug.

nail polish marble mugs

I still recommend hand washing even after using the Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge. You can try the top rack of your dishwasher, but the nail polish will still wear down just because it’s always going to be slightly fragile. That doesn’t mean a mug like this isn’t worth it, but it’s something you need to consider!

Tip: using Mod Podge doesn’t mean you can microwave your mug. That is still a no-no.

If you’re ready to try this adult craft project – here’s how you make these marbled mugs!

Gather These Supplies

  • Mugs
  • Nail Polish (stay away from quick dry!)
  • Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge
  • Printable sayings in SVG format – You Are Enough and Emotional Support Coffee (optional)
  • Die cutter and permanent vinyl (optional)
  • Toothpicks
  • Acetone and cotton swabs
  • Container (this will get ruined, so make sure it’s old or disposable)

Note: If you want to use the printable sayings, apply those with permanent vinyl before you dip the mugs.

My Best Tips After Making This Project

When dipping your marbled mugs, it’s best to only dip them on the mug below your lip line, at least on one side, for your health.

Get all your supplies ready so that you can work quickly. The hot water will keep the nail polish from drying too quickly, but you’ll still need to move fast.

Spread your nail polish over the surface of the water CLOSE to the water. If you pour it from above, it’s going to clump. This will cause clumps on your mugs.

Use a toothpick to mix the colors together if you want to get creative and mix multiple polishes. Pour the polishes in various areas (not all together), and spread out thoroughly over the surface of the water.

nail polish mugs

Want to see how these marbled mugs were made? Check out the video inside the how-to card below:

Yield: 2 mugs

Marble Nail Polish Mugs

nail polish mug

Learn how to make the coolest nail polish mugs ever - on a budget! Learn the dos and don'ts for making the mugs, and get tips for washing.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Set Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $3


  • Mugs
  • Nail polish - not quick dry
  • Toothpicks
  • Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge


  • Disposable water basin
  • Acetone and cotton swabs


  1. Pour hot (but not boiling) water into the container. Once the nail polish touches the water it is going to want to set and the heat will slow the process.DIY Marbled Mugs Supplies
  2. Carefully add drops of nail polish into the water, keeping the bottle close to the water to prevent the nail polish from sinking into the bottom. I added a few drops of nail polish and also moved the bottle around as I poured to help create a swirl effect.Add Nail Polish into Hot Water
  3. Quickly use your toothpick to swirl the polish around.
  4. Once you are happy with the swirl effect, quickly dip the mug in, making sure to submerge at least half of the mug’s body. The setting process is quick once the polish touches the water, so you'll want to move quickly. Depending on the lightness of your mug and how big your container is, you may have to repeat this process another time to fully cover the mug’s sides.Dip Mug
  5. Place the mug on a paper towel to dry, top down.Let the Marbled Polish Dry
  6. Use nail polish remover to take the excess polish off the bottom of the mug. Let set overnight. Use Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge to seal if desired.Plain Marbled Mugs


Not happy with the design you got? No worries - just use some acetone to clean it up and start over.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

If you’re ready for more, learn to decorate mugs ten ways. This is also part of a collection of easy crafts for adults, homemade Mother’s gift ideas, and Mother’s Day crafts for kids so you should check those posts out too!

DIY Marbled Mugs with Nail Polish Story


Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Do you have to put anything on top of them after dipping them in nail polish or is it optional


Sunday 20th of November 2022

I followed this exactly as well. Thank you for emphasizing the word fast and quick. It really felt like I was rushing! I know it says an adult craft but my 5 year old did it too and was very patient. He wanted to swirl the paint and do the drops. I dipped the cups. Some of the mugs turned out great and some didn’t. Some are just like your picture and others seem like the nail polish just didn’t stick or only on one side. We really enjoyed the project and the fact that we had to be fast is great. This was a really unique activity. Thank tou!


Monday 19th of December 2022

Glad you enjoyed it!


Tuesday 12th of July 2022

How did you dispose the rest of the water when you were finished?


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Thank you, I realized I have to wait a little till polish gets dry and becomes sticky, then I pulled it with toothpick that I used for marbeling the colors


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

You can usually skim the surface of the water with a paper towel or large spoon and get the nail polish out, at least most of it. Then you can pour out the water. You could probably pour it through a sieve too and filter out all the chunky monkeys :)


Wednesday 11th of May 2022

Thanks for sharing. I've tried this project a hundred times and mine never come out as smooth as everyone else's, oh well, maybe one day I'll get it. LOL You are right about Goodwill...I get almost all of my glasswares and mugs there...and the stores in my area have 50% Saturdays once a month...sooo cheap! I am curious though, you suggest not dipping around the lip line, but in your photos a few have color all the way to the rim and I have four questions, please: 1. Did you use MP to seal these in your photos? 2. Is MP food-safe? 3. If the color is kept below the lip line and you use MP, do you apply the MP just over the color, or do you apply it all over the entire mug, lip rim and all? 4. Do you have any tips for applying the MP without leaving brush marks?

OK, that's all. Thanks again for sharing!


Tuesday 17th of May 2022

1. No, Mod Podge was not used to seal these. 2. No, Mod Podge is not food safe. 3. Just over the design. 4. Use a soft brush! I actually have a guide to Dishwasher Safe on my other blog!

Amber Zitterkopf

Monday 1st of November 2021

Hey! When using a different color polish each time to make multiple cups, do I need to remove any left over floating pieces of polish before adding a new color? And can I use the same tub of water or does it need to be changed out with each mug?Thank you!


Saturday 6th of November 2021

You can use the same tub of water! If you're changing colors, yes, you'll want to get the other colors out of the water. It can help to place down a piece of paper on the top of the water and hopefully the nail polish sticks to it. You can also try to scoop out the water with the polish in it using a measuring cup or something like that. But the paper usually works pretty well (you might need a few sheets of paper). If all else fails, just pour out the water, but it should work.

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