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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!

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 with nail polish - stacked

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!

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 DIY – here’s how you make these marbled mugs!

Nail polish bottles with white mugs

Nail Polish Mugs

Gather These Supplies

  • Mugs
  • Nail Polish (stay away from quick dry!)
  • Toothpicks
  • Container (this will get ruined so make sure it’s old or disposable)
Process of making marbled mugs using nail polish

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.

Set of DIY mugs made with nail polish

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.

How to make nail polish mugs

My Best Tips for a Successful Marble Mug

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Learn how to make DIY marbled mugs
DIY mug made with nail polish

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:

Yield: 1 mug

Marble Nail Polish Mugs

DIY marbled mugs with nail polish - stacked

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
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1

Materials

  • Mugs
  • Nail Polish (stay away from quick dry!)
  • Toothpicks

Tools

  • Water basin (this will get ruined so make sure it’s old or disposable)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. With the nail polish bottle very close to the surface, pour a drop or two of polish into the water.
  3. Quickly use your toothpick to swirl the polish around.
  4. Dip the mug into the water. The setting process is quick once the polish touches the water, so you'll want to move quickly.
  5. Place the mug on a paper towel to dry, top down.
  6. (Optional) Use nail polish remover to take the excess polish off the bottom of the mug. Let dry overnight before using.

Notes

I made my mugs for $1 each - I spent $1 per mug, and already had the nail polish on hand.

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 10 ways. Just click on the image below!

10 Ways to Decorate Mugs
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Gale L.

Monday 2nd of March 2020

Wow! This is a great craft!

The guide was easy to read, the pictures were great, and it was really simple to follow!

I really appreciate that

Carolina

Thursday 23rd of February 2017

Hi there! Thanks for the idea. I'd like to ask if the nail polish would be removed if I constantly wash the cup, please, waiting for yourr response. Thanks!

Amy

Tuesday 28th of February 2017

Hi Carolina! We recommend hand washing OR using Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge over the top :D Thank you!

Sade

Wednesday 20th of July 2016

Sorry, it did not work for me. Though I used very hot water, nail paint just did not spread. I tried 2-3 brands. Can you suggest a brand available in Australia ?

Amy

Thursday 21st of July 2016

Hi Sade! I wish I could help you - I'm so sorry, I'm not aware of nail polish brands in Australia :/

Patricia

Tuesday 17th of May 2016

T_____T i've tried twice and it was a mess. The nail polish becomes heavy drops of ink and sticks to the mug and the water recipient. Do you know why?

Amy

Tuesday 17th of May 2016

Hi Patricia! It's probably the brand of nail polish - check out this blog post: http://baylorlariat.com/2014/10/14/pinbusters-watercolor-coffee-mugs/

Sounds like you might need to try with a few? I've found the cheaper brands work better as long as they are not quick dry!

Melissa

Monday 16th of May 2016

This would be good crafts for my 12 year old granddaughter to go with Starbucks themed party.