Do It Cheaply – Marbled Cups!

I’ve been seeing the most adorable trend online – these marbled glass cups, mugs and plates! Everywhere I looked, I couldn’t find any available for purchase, so I looked into making a few for me and my friends. My friends love homemade items, and this is a nifty gift idea!

post 6 supplies
From back to front, left to right: bowl, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, popsicle stick, cups, acrylic sealer, cotton pads, nail polish

Here’s what we’ll need:

  • Glass cups ($1 each at the dollar store – I bought 4, but you buy however many you need)
  • Nail polish ($1 each at DollarTree – you only need one, but I got two different colors)
  • Rubbing alcohol ($1 at the dollar store)
  • Nail polish remover ($1 at the dollar store)
  • Cotton balls or cotton pads ($1 at the dollar store)
  • Optional clear nail polish ($1 at dollar store) OR clear acrylic sealer ($4.77 at Wal-Mart)

Total: $9 without tax or options; price goes up to $10 or $13.77 without tax

We’ll also need:

  • Plastic bowl
  • Hot/warm water
  • Toothpick/paintbrush/something to swirl your nail polish (I chose popsicle sticks)
  • Surface to dry your cups on (I’m using a newspaper)

Be sure to factor the additional items into your budget if you don’t have them on hand, already. I have a blog post on awesome places to shop if you want to get your items for cheap. I will caution that you need to work quickly with steps 3 and 4. Should you wait too long, you’ll have to redo those steps, and you don’t want to waste nail polish.

A word of caution: be careful when using acrylic sealer. If you choose to go this route, I recommend using the spray in a well-ventilated room with a covering on the floor and walls. An even better option would be to go outside and use the spray there. In both cases, be sure not to get the sealer on your skin or in your eyes, and try your best not to breathe it in. If you’re able to, find a mask to cover your face when spraying this. Or use your shirt – anything to keep you from inhaling it. It’s highly toxic when inhaled, so be careful! Allow it to dry completely before handling the cup or giving it away.

Here’s how we do it: {optional steps will be in blue}

  1. Clean the surface of your cups with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball or pad – this will disinfect the surface and help the nail polish adhere to the surface better. Allow your cups to dry before you proceed

    post 6 cleaning
    Cleaning the surface of the glass with rubbing alcohol
  2. Fill your bowl with hot/warm water. Make sure you water stays warm – be sure to replace it once it cools down. Try keeping a heating pad around your bowl to keep the water warm, or start with hot water rather than warm water.

    post 6 water
    Hot water from the faucet. Nothing fancy. The water at my apartment gets pretty hot so I didn’t run into my water cooling down. However, I do suggest a heating pad or keeping some hot water on the stove just in case you need to replace your water
  3. Work quickly! Drip your nail polish into the water one color at a time. Swirl the color with your tool of choice. You’ll need to do this for every cup.

    post 6 nail polish
    What’s kinda hard to see in this image is the film that shows up on top of the water once the nail polish is dripped in. The film is what forms the marbled appearance
  4. Work quickly! Dip your cup into the water and swirl it around. Take your cup out and allow it to dry on your surface of choice

    post 6 dipped cup
    This step may take you a few tries. It took me about two attempts to get it
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each cup. Should you have to change your water in between dipping cups, be sure to skim the nail polish off the top of the water before changing it

    post 6 dipped cups
    I did the light blue cup second, using a mettalic blue-green nail polish. The result looked like blue smoke rather than marble, but I think it looks pretty cool!
  6. Using your nail polish remover and cotton ball/pad, clean off any excess nail polish from the cup

    post 6 before and after blue
    Before and after being cleaned up with the nail polish remover. Some of the film gets on the cup, but it doesn’t really do anything but make the cup look a little spotty. Take your cotton pad and soak it in your nail polish remover – use that to clean up your cup
  7. Once you have the design that you want, paint over each pattern with two coats of clear nail polish OR spray each cup with a clear acrylic sealer.

    post 6 final cup 1
    Be sure that your cup is dry before you start to spray your sealer. Notice that the floor is covered. There’s also nothing around the area that I’m going to spray. The window is open, as well. Always be sure that you’re being safe when using anything like acrylic sealer – be sure you don’t inhale it and don’t let the fumes build up in your room!

Although the last step is optional, I highly recommend this step! If you choose to leave your cup as is once it dries, the wear and tear of handling and being washed will cause it to chip. Clear nail polish will greatly extend the life of the marble color, and acrylic sealer will make it water resistant.

That’s it!

You can keep this as a set or give them out to your friends! I definitely plan on giving these out, but I may create a set for myself later on. I’m planning on filling these cups with leftover Easter candy before I hand them out to my friends. Be sure to tell your friends to hand wash their cup!

How did yours turn out? What color did you use, or did you use multiple colors? What kind of glasses did you use? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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DIY Naturalista

Hello! My name is Sydney, and I am the DIY Naturalista! I create and share healthy hair and skin recipes that can be made in the comfort of your own home. Want to know what vitamins promote hair growth? I've got you! Want to make a moisturizing body scrub? Look no further! Shampoos, body butters, conditioning treatments -- I've got a variety to choose from. Want to start being a healthier, more natural you? You can start your journey here!

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