Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Make // Marbleized Glass Hearts

I saw this technique used for fingernails a few years ago and tucked the idea away for a future project. I'm not one for painting my nails, so I found this to be the perfect way to use some of the nail polish that I have stockpiled in my vanity. Why do I have so much polish when I hardly ever paint my nails? Who knows?! I guess I'm attracted to all those pretty colors, but when it comes down to it, only my toe nails get gussied up…. And that's only during sandal-wearing season.

Anyhow… This project is easy. It's messy. There are fumes involved. That about sums it up. Luckily, if you have nail polish remover on-hand and you work in a well-ventilated area, it's not too bad. I think the end results are pretty eye-catching!

Click "Read more" for the tutorial

How to Marbleize Glass with Nail Polish

materials needed:

old plastic tray/container with 1-inch of water at room temp
nail polish - I used red, pink, gold & sparkle pink, sparkle red, pearl
skewer or sticks
glass heart ornaments (or other glass, metal, papier mache objects)-- heart ornaments are from Michaels
paper towels (not shown)
clean-up: acetone or nail polish remover and cotton balls (not shown)
drying station: parchment paper or sticks/old chopsticks in styrofoam (not shown)

Nail Polish Marbling - Six Variations
1. pearl + hot pink | 2. gold + hot pink | 3. gold + sparkle red
4. sparkle pink + pearl pink | 5. red + pearl pink | 6. pearl pink + hot pink


Fill your container with an inch or two of room temperature water. Make sure to use an old container or one that you don't mind parting with.

A few things to know before you get started with the nail polish:
1. The layer of paint that floats at the top of the water will be what covers and clings to your ornament (or whatever object you choose).
2. You have to move quickly because nail polish firms up pretty quickly in water.
3. Prep your ornament and paints so they are ready to pour and be dipped quickly. Remove the top of the ornament **
4. Set up a drying station before you get started.
5. Work in a well-ventilated space.

Pour in a few drops of nail polish. The first layer will be thin and transparent. The next layer(s) of nail polish will float and you'll need less of it. Quickly move on to the next color and pour in a few more drops. Then add a third color if desired.

Use a skewer or stick to mix the paints together, creating a marbleized look. Again, move quickly before the nail polish gets tacky.

Look at the pattern and choose a spot to dip in your ornament. Do one side, dipping it in flat. 
Then turn it over to do the next side. 

** In these photos, I didn't remove the top of the ornament. However, I found it easier to dip the ornaments without the top and did so with the rest of the ornaments.

The photo on the left is the ornament after dipping one side. It's a little goopy because I was taking photos, which slowed me up a bit… Slow = not good for nail polish marbling!

The photo on the right is the ornament after dipping the 2nd side. By then, the paint was starting to get really tacky and didn't adhere as well so I ended up dipping it a few times. It went on a little thicker, but I actually don't mind the look. If you're picky about getting the "perfect" marbleized design, you'll need to work quickly or perhaps change out the paint between sides.

After dipping the ornaments, you'll need a place to dry them. Some of the ornaments I let dry upside-down on a piece of parchment paper. This worked okay, but they were more stable with the make-shift chopstick drying station.

I just stuck chopsticks into a piece of styrofoam. Skewers or dowels will work too. Easy.

Clean-up! I did not change-out the water between each ornament. I just waited about a minute and used the skewer to skim the top of the water.  That glob on the end of the skewer is nail polish. Although it may look like I used a ton of nail polish, for 12 ornaments I maybe used 1/5th of a bottle in total. It was a little hard to calculate since I used 6 different colors, but basically I still have plenty of polish left.

Marbleized Heart Ornaments!

Besides being smelly and getting nail polish on my fingers (nail polish remover to the rescue!), this was a pretty quick and easy project. It took me about 45 minutes to "marbleize" twelve ornaments.

They dried pretty quickly and I was able to hang them up an hour later. I did not seal the ornaments. If you want yours to be "chip-proof", I suggest spraying them with clear acrylic sealer.

I have some gold branches which I've used over the years. They've held everything from Christmas cards to ribbon bats for Halloween...

… So I figured that hearts would work too.

This is it for this year's Valentine's decorations!