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Omaha Magazine

DIY Marbleized Mug

Nov 01, 2021 10:57AM ● By Sandy Matson
pink marbleized mugs filled with candy

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

It’s getting close to holiday gift-giving season, and some of you may be stumped on what to buy for friends and family. Why not make DIY gifts? (Anyone can shop online from home, but what fun is that?)

Many DIY projects can be locally sourced and won’t break the bank, and a homemade gift shows loved ones that you took the time to create something special just for them. Be sure to allow extra time if you’re making something that needs to dry or cure. But of course, good things come to those who wait!

I found this idea for a DIY marbleized coffee mug on Pinterest last year and thought it would make a great idea for our holiday issue. It’s so easy, you can even get the kids involved in making gifts for grandparents or teachers. I like the idea of gifting the mugs in pairs, or you can a give a single mug filled with one’s favorite goodies.

I also think this makes a great addition to a personalized holiday gift basket. Or maybe think outside the box (or basket) and go with another type of container. I chose an ornate bowl that can be used afterward for whatever they like. I also used a bowl big enough to hold all of the goodies I wanted to include: biscuits, gourmet chocolates, teas, coffee, and flavored syrup. 

Think about the person you are gifting this to for personalization—their kitchen decor colors, their design style, their favorite beverages/snacks, etc. 

Supplies for Marbleized Mug

• White ceramic mug  (I found mine thrift-shopping for just $1. You can also use a clear glass mug.)

• Nail polish in colors of your choice
(you may already have some on hand)

• Toothpicks

• Warm water

• Disposable bucket or container
(something you don’t mind ruining)

• Nail polish remover

• Cotton balls

• Mod Podge craft glue/sealer (dishwasher-safe) (It’s optional to seal, but recommended.)

• Small craft brush


• Fill bucket halfway with warm water. 

• Hold the polish just above the surface of the water and pour several drops into the bucket. (You want the nail polish to float on top. Holding it up high and dropping it in will only make it sink to the bottom and may cause clumping.)

• Take a toothpick or two and swirl the polish around quickly until it is covering most of the water surface.

• Pick up your mug by its mouth, hold it at a slant, and quickly dip it in the water mixture. Be careful to avoid the rim and your fingers. (You can choose to dip straight down and out if you prefer. It just depends on the design you want.) 

• Set the mug on a piece of wax paper and leave overnight. Once it’s completely dry, seal the polish with Mod Podge, applying with cotton balls or brushing on as directed and allowing time to cure. (Note: This process will take up to a month, so keep that in mind if you are going to give as gifts.)  

   Helpful tips for a successful outcome

• Have all the supplies ready to go. You must work fast, as the polish will dry quickly. (Do not use fast-drying nail polish.)

• Stay an inch below the lip-line (at least on one side of the mug).

• Pour different colors of polish into the water and mix together with a toothpick for a custom, fun look.

• Be sure to instruct the recipient to hand-wash the mug for paint longevity.

• Don’t worry if you don’t like the outcome. Just use nail polish remover to take off the paint and try again. (I went through a few versions before I was happy with mine.) As artist Scott Adams once said, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” 

• Once your mug has been sealed and cured, you are ready to package your gift. Since we are talking about the holidays, put a pretty ornament in it for added sparkle and cheer.

Have fun with this and remember—
it’s the thought that counts!

 This article originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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