Here is a fun and simple little summer craft to do with the kiddos. This would be an excellent craft for those of you with older children or teens as it is cheap, easy, you likely have the materials on hand and can be used for so many different things.
I have been wanting to try nail polish paint for a long time now and this was something I had on our summer fun list. I hoped the results would turn out to be a cool DIY for my girl’s bedrooms and I thought they might think this technique was awesome (pleased to report I got a thumbs up on both fronts).
All you need is a glass, mug, pot, vase, tray, bowl etc… of your choice, a little water and a little nail polish. That is it!
You will use the nail polish and water to create a swirled, marbleized paint job on your ceramic piece. So cool!
I decided to try three different objects- now I think this is a much better project for things that won’t need to be washed a lot or used for food consumption since you are painting with nail polish. I have seen this craft on mugs and the result can be pretty but please note you will have to hand wash your mug and you won’t want to put nail polish near the lip of the cup where you drink.
I chose instead to do a little bowl to hold my daughter’s earrings, a tiny bowl to hold my wedding ring when I take it off in the kitchen and a small tray to hold my baby girl’s glasses. I got two of the bowls at Target for less than $2 and a clear bowl at Crate n Barrel for $.97.
We grabbed assorted nail polishes and an old Tupperware tub. (Note: you will need a container large enough to submerge your piece in water. The nail polish will stick to the sides and ruin the container so an old take out container, baby wipes tub, cheap container from the Dollar Store etc… are good choices.
You need to work extremely fast for this to be successful so I prefer to only use one or two nail polish colors at a time. My 7 year old was insistent on 3 colors and I didn’t think the results turned out quite as well but you can certainly do as many as you like or even try layers of color.
To start, you will want:
- a container filled with semi-warm or room temperature water. (Not cold and not hot).
- a dish, bowl, mug, vase of your choice
- assorted nail polishes
- a toothpick or skewer
- plastic gloves
I didn’t wear gloves as I made our projects and I have assorted drops of nail polish on my fingers now so if you do have gloves, that is best. If not just be prepared to get some spots off your fingers with polish remover later.
Once you have your room temp water ready, take your nail polishes and very quickly add a few drops into the water. The more polish the more coverage on your item- I used about 2-4 drops of each color for light color. You want to drop the polish fairly close to the water so it stays on the surface- if you drop from high above it will sink. So just dump the water and start again. If the polish hardens really quickly that means your water is not the right temperature.
Working quickly take your toothpick or skewer or a straw and gently swirl the polish into a pattern you like.
Next completely submerge the bowl into the water. I wanted the entire bowl coated so I put it all in water. If you only want a small part of the piece painted, just dip that area into your water. You can also use painters tape to section off pieces that you don’t want to have painted.
Next you will want to either swish the bowl around to get a little more paint or pull it out quickly for a softer paint.
Continue to add polish and dip until you are happy with your look. I set my items out on a paper towel to dry and just went around the items to do any minor touchups. The nail polish will create a layer- similar to scalded milk- as it hardens in the water so if you don’t work quickly enough you might have some chunky pieces to gently swipe away. You can also take a Q Tip with nail polish remover and remove anything you don’t like.
If you mess up, I found a lot of the polish came off if I immediately went to the sink and washed the item with warm water and soap.
It was harder to coat the inside of the bowls and trays that I used so I had to swish the inside of the bowl in the water a few times to get the paint to completely cover it.
I did a little tray for my little girl and decided to jazz it up a little more by cutting an M out with my Silhouette cameo in double sided adhesive. I put the M on her dish and covered it with gold glitter and voila!
If you don’t have a Silhouette machine, you might check the stationery sections of the craft stores for any stickers or letters that you can use on your dish. I think a gold or silver Sharpie would be nice too if you are feeling artistic enough to freehand.
And here is my finished tray:
I think this looks really cool and really fun. The color used on this tray is a bright pink NYC polish (the $.97 ones) and just a drop of a softer pink color.
And overall I am really happy with this little project. It is simple and fun to do and adds a pop of color. If you are OK with trying something and getting a semi-unexpected result this is something I would totally recommend. (Similar to tye-dying – the results are usually awesome but maybe not exactly as you pictured.)
Sometimes I have readers that want a pristine, perfect project that looks like it came from an expensive home store. If that is what you are hoping for, I don’t know that this is right project for you. It is hard to get the swirls exactly where you want them and the colors exactly as you might be envisioning. These would still make really cool gifts but they will definitely look homemade and not absolutely perfect. Homemade is usually the look I go for with my crafts so that totally works for me and the kids thought this was the coolest thing ever.
And here are some other fun projects you might enjoy: