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Marbled Valentine Hearts

These marbled hanging hearts are quick and easy to make and so much fun, it’s like magic watching the patterns appear.

marbled hearts made from plastic tubs

Hi, I’m Julie from Sum of their Stories and I’m so excited to be back to share a easy, cheap and fun recycling valentine project with you. Over the last year or so I’ve seen lots of really pretty ideas to make things marbled with nail polish so I thought it was high time I had a go – I suffer from “fear of missing out” on most craft trends, sad but true!

I wanted to try something that wouldn’t need to be too hard wearing, I worry that nail polish is not going to last on a surface that is washed regularly, like a mug. With valentines day just around the corner and a collection of pretty pink, red and purple nail varnishes I thought hanging heart decorations would be easy and fun.marbled hearts 1

I’ve recycled old plastic containers for this, I wash out and keep all our plastic tubs for reuse so I had plenty to choose from, I used the lid for the hearts and the tub itself for the nail polish magic/science bit.

To make them you need:

  • Old plastic tubs (I used a white margarine tub and a clear ice cream tub)
  • Nail varnish – this is perfect to use up any that are old or going a bit gluppy
  • Scissors and a pen
  • Water
  • Something to remove the print from your old tubs *

The first thing to do is remove any print from your tub lid. If you have a plain bit of plastic – congratulations, move on the to next step! If you are not so lucky then you need to get that print off. *I tried a few methods:

  • I have some stuff called Goo Gone, which worked a bit on some of the inks but not all.
  • I tried alcohol, surgical spirit, which was a little better but still left some ink.
  • Best for me was a kitchen cream cleaner. In the UK we have something called Cif (years ago it was called Jif). I put on a blob and attacked the plastic lid with a scouring pad, the Cif is grainy and lifted the ink of no problem. I don’t know if you have a similar product where you are.

plastic lid ink removed

Give the plastic a quick wash and dry to remove any of the products you’ve used to remove the ink, then cut out heart shapes. I just drew them with pen and cut them out with normal scissors. This is easier if you cut the rim from the lid first.

draw shape on plastic

Punch a hole if you want to be able to hang your hearts.

cut out and punch hole

Now for the fun bit.

Half fill the tub with water and start dripping nail varnish in. I found a few blobs sunk to the bottom but most floats on the top making patterns. Try to add a few colours and blob them on top of one another for a marbled effect. What you can’t do is stir the nail varnish with anything before you dip, it will cling to whatever you put near it!drip nail varnish into water

Now dip your plastic heart shape in and watch the nail varnish cling to the plastic.dip heart into nail varnish

This is a one chance thing, almost all the nail varnish clings to whatever you dip in. If there is any left in the bowl you can dip in again, or add more nail varnish and dip again.

It’s like alchemy! You really don’t know what design you are going to get or which colours will work well. I found the sparkly nail varnish was a little disappointing as it didn’t sparkle as much as I expected, plus a lot of colours seemed more muted than when I put them on my nails so don’t be afraid to go bright!

If you really don’t like what you get you can always remove it with nail varnish remover and start again.

Leave them to dry for a few minutes, I put mine of scrap paper, propped up on left over bits of plastic tub. Marbled hearts left to dry

I plan to use mine as decorations or as gift tags or maybe even use them as valentine card toppers.

This is easy and cheap enough for older kids to get involved with, just put paper down on the table and have plenty of kitchen roll and nail varnish remover on hand. I managed to marble my finger at one point so it can be a bit messy!marbled fingerThe two hearts hanging on gold ribbon where made from a clear plastic ice cream tub, I added some gold nail polish on these too which actually came out very lovely. When I punched the hole it made a mark on the clear plastic, the surrounding area when sort of opaque but once it was covering in nail polish it was fine.

The others are from the white plastic tub in the tutorial photos. The effect is slightly different as the colours are a little more vivid on the white plastic but not massively, just experiment with what you have.

hanging marbled hearts

You are not limited to just valentine hearts either, you can cut your plastic to any shape you like, stars would be cute or maybe letters for a banner.

Have fun!sig


I have a few other valentine ideas over on Sum of their Stories which you might like to check out.

Felt heart keyring ls mini hearts card

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