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!
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.
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.
DIY Marble 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.
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.
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 DIY 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!
Nail Polish Mugs
Gather These Supplies
- Nail Polish (stay away from quick dry!)
- Container (this will get ruined so make sure it’s old or disposable)
Step One: Fill your container halfway with hot water. The hotter the better! Once the nail polish touches the water it is going to want to set and heat will slow the process.
Step Two: With the nail polish bottle very close to the surface of the water, pour a drop or two of polish into the water. (Keeping the bottle close to the water’s surface with help the polish stay on top of the water. If you hold the bottle higher the drops will come down with more speed and sink. It’s science, or something.)
Step Three: Quickly use your toothpick to swirl the polish around in the water.
Step Four: Dip your mug in the water! The process is soooo fast once the polish touches the water so you’ll want to move quickly.
Step Five: Place your DIY mug on a paper towel to dry, top down.
Step Six (optional): Use nail polish remover to take the excess polish off the bottom of the mug. Let dry overnight before using.
Just like that you’ve got some one-of-a-kind nail polish mugs! Remember, these are not dishwasher or microwave safe so you’ll want to wash them by hand, and you know, not microwave them.
My Best Tips for a Successful Marble Mug
- 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.
Aren’t these nail polish mugs gorgeous? I’m obsessed with thinking about all of the things I can marble and all of the color combinations I could make them with. Making a DIY mug is such a piece of cake, you’d be nuts not to give it a try.
Want to see how these marbled mugs were made? Check out the video inside the how-to card below:
Marble Nail Polish Mugs
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.
- Nail Polish (stay away from quick dry!)
- Water basin (this will get ruined so make sure it’s old or disposable)
- Fill the container halfway with hot water (hotter is better). Once the nail polish touches the water, it will start to set, and the heat will slow the process.
- With the nail polish bottle very close to the surface, pour a drop or two of polish into the water.
- Quickly use your toothpick to swirl the polish around.
- Dip the mug into the water. The setting process is quick once the polish touches the water, so you'll want to move quickly.
- Place the mug on a paper towel to dry, top down.
- (Optional) Use nail polish remover to take the excess polish off the bottom of the mug. Let dry overnight before using.
I made my mugs for $1 each - I spent $1 per mug, and already had the nail polish on hand.
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!
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! https://modpodgerocksblog.com/dishwasher-safe-mod-podge/
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.
Thursday 10th of December 2020
My daughter and I made these for Christmas gifts. They turned out awesome! Thanks so much.
Friday 11th of December 2020
Yay! Glad you had a good experience!