DIY Liquid Gold Leaf + Alcohol Ink Mugs

Somehow coffee just tastes better when you're drinking out of a pretty mug. These super chic DIY mugs use colorful alcohol ink for a watercolor effect layered with a modern metallic liquid gold leaf. The other mugs in the cabinet might get jealous 'cause you'll never want to use another cup!

We’ve become big fans of alcohol ink DIYs lately. We already made this stunning dishware wall art and these gorgeous watercolor-like pillows, but we can’t get enough! See how we used alcohol ink and liquid gold leaf (yes! It’s a thing!) to DIY these super easy, affordable, and gorgeous mugs.

Step 1: Clean the surface of the mugs with rubbing alcohol. This gets rid of any fingerprints or oils that might be on there that would block the ink from sticking. Then use a brush to paint a little rubbing alcohol onto a small area of the mug surface. Kinda like prepping a canvas with water for watercolor, this allows the ink to flow rather than look like a harsh brush stroke.

Step 2: Brush a small amount of ink onto the mug where you prepped with rubbing alcohol. Have a cup or paper towel underneath to catch any drips. It already looks so pretty! keep in mind whichever way you turn the mug, the ink will flow that way, too.

Step 3: Let the first color of ink dry. Then wash your brush in clear rubbing alcohol and add a second color to add contrast. We think this technique looks best with colors in the same hue family, but you do you!

Step 4: Finally, it’s time to add that liquid gold! You can get liquid gold leaf online or in pretty much any craft store. Before you start, liquid leaf is a bit hard to clean, so don’t use any precious brushes. We like to dedicate a brush for liquid leaf only so we don’t have to worry about messing up our paintbrushes. To get this look, dip your brush in a generous amount of liquid leaf. Leaving the base of your mug on the table, place your brush on the midpoint of the mug and turn slowly so that the drips of gold fall in those nice parallel lines. If you want more drips, add more liquid leaf to the brush. Clean your brush as soon as your done with nail polish remover or other paint thinner if you have it.

That’s it! Just let dry for at least an hour, two if you can. The liquid leaf takes awhile to set. Be sure to hand wash these because the dishwasher can gradually take the ink off.

Be sure to show us your ink and liquid leaf mugs by tagging us on Instagram and use #bemakeful.

  • white ceramic mugs
  • rubbing alcohol
  • alcohol ink at least 2 colors
  • liquid gold leaf
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • nail polish remover to clean liquid leaf