DIY gift: Creative and colorful coffee cups

On the lookout for inexpensive DIY goodies for holiday gifts? (And who isn't?) Here's an idea that went over swell for my youngest daughter's birthday this past summer.

Andrea loves coffee as much as her mother. For her birthday in July, she requested a set of special cups from which to drink and share her favorite breakfast drink. She even directed me to some ideas on Pinterest.

I accepted the challenge, tweaked a few Pinterest pictorials, and came up with these—a unique gift that cost less than $10.


What you need:

• Inexpensive, white ceramic mugs (I found mine for $.99 each at Walmart)

• Two or three colors of inexpensive nail polish, not the quick-drying kind

• Large plastic bowl that you will throw in the recycle bin when done (I used one of those containers that originally held cookie dough purchased via a school fundraiser)

• Hot tap water

• Wire racks for drying cups

• Q-Tips and nail polish remover for possible touch up


What you do:

• Remove price tags or labels from cups; wash and dry thoroughly.

• Open each bottle of polish then just gently rest the brush in the bottle to ensure you can pull it out and use quickly without difficulty.

• Prepare for the process—which requires moving quickly: Set out the wire rack, have the cups nearby and polish ready to go.

• Run the tap water til hot, hot, hot (no need to boil, though) then fill the plastic container about half way with the hot water.

• Quickly and carefully drop a few drops of the nail polish on the very top of the water by holding the fully loaded brush (not swiped on the bottle edge) close to the surface til the polish falls from the brush and settles without sinking—hopefully—into the water. Quickly, quickly, quickly.

• Holding one cup at the rim—not the handle—quickly swirl the cup a bit here, a bit there, on one side and the other and definitely on the handle through the color floating on the surface of the hot water. (If some polish drops have fallen to the bottom, just ignore them.) No need for perfection but when swirling, less is more as thick polish will chip or peel off. Plus, do make sure you don't get polish near the rim of the cup where lips will touch to sip and slurp. (If color does end up there, it can be remedied; see below.)

• Quickly—yes, that's the key word here—set the cup on its rim on the wire rack to dry. And move onto the next cup.

• If water is still hot, drop more polish on top and repeat the process for the second cup. Don't attempt to match the first cup as it's the unique design that makes each an original masterpiece.

• Dump out the water and refill bowl with hot, hot, hot water for the third and fourth cups, repeating the entire process.

• If you find after the fact that some spots lacked color, carefully repeat the process just for those spots. Again, beware of ending up with too much polish in one spot, making it likely to chip and peel.

• Once polish is dry on the cups, use a Q-Tip dipped in nail polish remover to ensure there's no polish within about a half inch of cup rim because sipping hot drinks from painted spots would taste disgusting.

• Place completely dried cups upside down on oven rack and bake the cups at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to set the designs. When time is up, leave in oven till fully cooled.



Handwashing the cups is recommended, though I'm sure they'd survive at least a few runs through the dishwasher. (And, even if not, they're inexpensive enough to make more... or repeat the process on a faded one.)

Wrap the cups with a package of coffee to create a gift sure to warm a coffee lover's heart.

cup gift.JPG
andie loves her cups.JPG

Today's question:

What percentage of the gifts you plan to give this holiday season will be homemade?