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Water Dip Marbling & Mottling With Spray Paint

Hello hello! How was your weekend?! I had the honor of doing another Bloggers Heart Habitat project and it was amazing. I’ll share all the details soon but for a sneak peek check out this before and after!


When my kids were younger we did tons of art projects. One of our favorites was marbling (or swirl painting) with enamel paints.  The paint is poured onto the surface of water and swirled around, then a canvas or an object is placed on top of the water to pick up the paint. It’s mesmerizing to see the designs that are created!

Marble painting with enamel paint poured onto the surface of water.

We also tried marbling with acrylic paints which is fun too!

Marble painting with acrylic paints poured onto the surface of water.

Right before Thanksgiving, I was cleaning out all the paint in my garage and I had the bright idea to attempt this technique with spray paint. I tried it, it worked great, and I thought I had actually come up with an original project but when I looked online OF COURSE this has been done about a milllllllion times before on objects like helmets and skateboards. HA! So much for my original idea. Is there anything that hasn’t been done yet?


This is my home decor spin using metallic spray paint on water to achieve an interesting finish on glass – it’s especially wonderful at giving new life to old candle holders! I tried this on one glass votive holder, and then got out my whole collection and did every last one of them, it was just too fun not to! (See my note at the end of the post on how to easily remove candle wax from votives.)

They all came out a little differently and look so pretty with a candle lit inside them!


Here’s how to create this effect on glass!

Water Dip Marbling & Mottling With Metallic Spray Paint


ONE • Gather your supplies. Fill a container with water that is deeper than the item you are gilding. It’ll get messed up so consider this your crafty container going forward. Grab a bottle of metallic spray paint – for this tutorial I used one from my collection that I’m not a fan of for other projects (I really dislike this brand in general – the spray is hard to control, yielding drips and overspraying, but it’s okay for this purpose.)  And of course: you’re going to need something to paint.

How to add a marbled gold effect to glass votive holders or vases with spray paint misted onto water.


TWO • Lightly spray the paint onto the surface of the water.

For marbling and/or mottling, you want the paint to be very light so that if you move the container of water it will spread out, vs. a solid mass like most of this silver. Some spray paints are more difficult to spray finely so this might be a bit of an experiment to find one in your arsenal that you can swirl a bit. Beware that the paint kind of “sets” quickly so you have to be ready to dip your piece right away, otherwise the paint can get a little gummy.


THREE • Dip and turn your object so that the paint clings to it, trying to capture the swirled bits of paint. Set it on cloth or wood to dry; it will stick to newspaper.


FOUR • After the paint has dried, use a soft rag to gently rub off any bubbles or clumpy areas. I found that a dry paper towel was too rough and rubbed much of the paint off.

Votives dipped in spray paint that has been sprayed onto water creates a mottled and marbled effect.

In this photo below the paint is not dry yet, but some of those areas will be rubbed off so it’s not so solid. In solid patches it looks like silver or gold leaf which is pretty too.

I love how the gold ones came out when I used a spray paint I was able to lightly mist vs. spray a solid mass. Aren’t they pretty?


Gold marbled votive holders have a finish that is achieved by misting spray paint onto water and dipping the piece.

Embrace the fact that no two are going to come out the same! Sometimes I dipped several votives into the same round of spray paint and the first would come out really marbled like this one above, the next ones a little more mottled like the one below.

Gold spray paint is sprayed into a bucket of water and a glass votive is dipped into the paint for a mottled effect.

This is such a great way to change up glass items you have owned for many years and are sick of!

A few quick notes:

I haven’t taken this step yet, but sealing the paint will keep the pretty marbled or mottled finish going strong for a long time. This clear sprayable sealant is great on glass crafts.

Be gentle when you clean these. Don’t put them in the dishwasher or soak them, just wipe with a damp cloth if need be.

Use a paper towel to fish out all the spray paint remnants before disposing of the water so they don’t cause any issues to your plumbing.

Metallic paint is not microwave safe so don’t try to remove candle wax by softening these votives in the microwave.

Check out this Quick Tip Tuesday to see how restaurants clean the wax out of votives – it would be perfect for these delicate beauties!

Have fun getting crafty with this super easy project!!




How to marble paint votive candles with spray paint.

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Charlotte Smith

Sunday 28th of January 2018

I love this idea! You know I'm down for ANYthing marbled... Thanks! :)


Wednesday 31st of January 2018

It's a fun diversion for those of us with a long endless winter! :)

Stephanie @ Casa Watkins Living

Wednesday 24th of January 2018

Super cute votives! I haven't tried marbling with spray paint yet, and I clearly should be! LOL. Great idea for all those glass jars and vases I have sitting around the house.


Wednesday 31st of January 2018

If you have a bunch of spray paint on hand, it's fun to try!


Sunday 21st of January 2018

What a fun project. Metallic and marble are two of my favs anyway. Love how this turned out! So creative.


Wednesday 31st of January 2018

Thanks Jess! It's fun to play with, especially in the midst of boring chores like cleaning out the garage! :)