"Create a watercolor effect on any water resistant surface!"
It’s been a while since I’ve done a crafty post, so to get back into the swing of things I wanted to keep it light with a seriously easy watercolor effect that you can do on just about any surface that 1) is fairly water resistant and 2) that nailpolish will adhere strongly to – which, lets be honest here, seems to be just about every surface except your nails. Yes, Essie, I’m looking at you.
This project also gives a purpose to all those nail polish colors that looked so cute in the store but yet somehow turned absolutely horrendous once it was on your fingers. I don’t know about you, but this phenomenon accounts for more than 3/4 of my current nail polish collection.
Seriously, Essie. Bad form.
I used wine bottles for this project because I have a ton of them, but you could use just about anything you wanted for this tutorial: cups, plates, bowls, glassware, possibly even wood, etc etc. If you have a bucket or container that’s big enough to fit the item you want to watercolor, then you’re good to go.
The best part about this project? Odds are, you already have all the materials you’ll need to get started!
What You’ll Need
- Nail polish of your choice – any brand, any type
- Toothpick or something similar (I used a wooden skewer)
- Container big enough to fit your object – doesn’t need to be deep, but it needs to be wide enough to fit what you want to watercolor. I used a foil pie pan for the wine bottles.
- Cold water, enough to fill your container near the top.
- Dishwasher safe Mod Podge (optional)
Fill your chosen container with cold water. It should be high enough so that you can easily dip the item you want to color.
Slowly pour a few drops of nail polish on the surface of the water. For this method to work, the nail polish needs to form a film over the water, so you’ll get the best results by pouring just a little at a time. My best tip: once the nail polish looks like it’s about to drip, start moving your hand in a swirling motion while it falls. This will help keep the nail polish from clumping and sinking AND give you a better design to work with.
Using the toothpick, you can make swirls and designs in the nail polish as you see fit. Just have fun with it!
When you’re ready, gently dip your chosen item in the area of water furthest from you. Once it’s skimming the surface, slowly twist the object toward you while dragging it across the water at the same time.
Once you’ve reached the other side of the water, lift the item up and check out your design.
You can repeat the process as many times as you want, using different colors or different swirl designs. You don’t need to wait for the nail polish to dry between each coloring – just repeat the steps until you’re happy.
Once you’re finished, let the nail polish dry for at least 2 hours before handling. At that point you can either leave them as is or paint them with a layer of dishwasher safe Mod Podge for some extra durability (especially useful if you colored cups or plates).
And that’s it – you’re done!
I was really thrilled with how this project turned out, especially since I plan to turn these wine bottles into lamps (tutorial on that to come soon). You can tell from my photos that I originally planned to do a swirl of blue and beige colors, but once I saw how good the blue looked I decided to just stick with it. It matches the theme in our house perfectly, and it brings a much needed happy ending to the story where I spent $9 and 30 minutes of my life only to discover that cobalt blue is simply not my color.
Oh, Essie. Why can’t I quit you?