Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Silhouette Mugs


Like most librarians, I get many ideas from Pinterest. When I saw a Disney castle mug made of decorative dots, I knew my teens would love it because Disney inspired crafts are very popular at my branch. Although we focused on Disney inspired silhouettes, any silhouette would work. In fact, you can turn your own photo into a silhouette using this tutorial.



  • Dollar Store Mugs
  • Paint Sharpies
  • Tape
  • A silhouette image for a template (these can be made on a cameo machine). You can also use large, removable stickers. For example, large letters for initials works well.

Here’s an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to Sharpie Mug Art


  1. Wash and dry the mugs
  2. Tape a silhouette to the mug. Make sure the tape is under the silhouette. You do not want to cover the part of the mug where you will paint with the tape.
  3. Make sure all paint sharpies are prepared and shaken so the paint will come out.
  4. Have teens test sharpies on a piece of paper so they are aware of how the paint will come out.
  5. Then have the teens start adding paint dots around the silhouette. Make sure they are very close together. If the cardstock is thick enough, it is fine to touch the cardstock with the paint pen. They need to make dots all around the image and as close to it as possible.
  6. This process can be done on both sides of the mug.
  7. Allow the paint to dry and then remove your silhouette template.
  8. To complete the mugs, you can instruct teens to bake the mugs at home in an oven for 30 minutes at about 350 degrees. However, this step is recommended but it is not necessary.


While your mugs are drying, you can tie this craft into the great artistic technique known as pointillism. Artists like Georges Seurat and Paul Signac made entire masterpieces using nothing but dots and their artwork is still influencing artists of today. You can learn more about pointillism here.

Working Title/Artist: Study for A Sunday on La Grande JatteDepartment: Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary ArtCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: 1884 photography by mma, Digital File DT1026.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 9_29_11

Final thoughts: This was a fun craft. It is a little bit more expensive than some other crafts because of the cost of paint sharpies. Couponing can help. As long as the teens are patient, they should get good results.

Editor’s Note: This would also work well on a blank canvas, a t-shirt, or even on a piece of card stock that you then frame.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Nail Polish Gems


Today Cindy is sharing with us how to make gem stones with nail polish. Please note, the galaxy gemstones would make a great craft to go along with the 2019 space themed summer reading program.



  • Old Nail Polish
  • Clear Glass Gems (can often be purchased at dollar stores or craft stores)

Additional supplies (not needed, but can be used to turn gemstones into magnets)

  • Magnets
  • Felt
  • Hot glue gun

I am always looking for cheap fun crafts and ways to use old supplies. I had lots of old nail polish from a previous craft, so I looked up nail polish crafts and found nail polish gems.

I tried three different types of Nail Polish Gems– crackle, rainbow, and galaxy.

See Also: How to Make Nail Polish Gem Stones

Crackle is when the back of the gem is painted white and then covered by another color. This one did not turn out well and would not recommend making this one.

Rainbow is very easy and very pretty. You make use of all the colors of the rainbow in order. I always make sure to have an image because some people, including me forget the color order. This would be an awesome craft to do with for a library Gay Straight Alliance Pride craft. You could use all the different pride color designs.


Galaxy was the most popular. You start off using a light glitter nail polish and keep adding more layers of glitter nail polish and the last layer is a dark color like dark blue or purple. Galaxy gems are so shiny and beautiful.


You have to make sure when doing nail polish layering the teens wait for to it to dry before applying the next layer. Layering is very important.

Finishing touches: If you put a circle of felt on the back it can be made into a magnet by hot gluing a magnet to the felt. They do not need felt, but this can be an added touch to make the back smoother.

Final Thoughts: This craft was so much fun and easy to make.. The teens loved it and the adults who saw the gems were very impressed. I would do this craft again. I would also try to learn a few more complicated designs.

If you still have nail polish left over, here are 31 DIY crafts you can make with nail polish