Did you know Teacher Appreciation Week is the first week of May?

If you did know that, you are probably:

  • A) A teacher
  • B) The Room Mother in charge of presents for your child’s teachers

When I told my husband back in September that my son’s pre-school teacher asked me to be the Room Mother, he looked a little surprised.

“You?” he asked. “Really?”

I was a little surprised too. You see, I’m usually more Hot Mess Mom than Super-Organized Mom, but this whole Room Mother gig has not been too bad. I helped out with getting the kids dressed in their costumes for the Christmas program. (Our class played the manger animals. Picture a bunch of 4-year-olds dressed like donkeys and sheep. Super cute!)

My other Official Room Mother Duty was to pick up some vases at the $1 discount store for Teacher Appreciation Week gifts. Our school has a fun tradition where each child hands a teacher a flower as they enter the classroom. By the end of the morning, the teachers have a nice bouquet to take home and enjoy.

Because I am a Super-Creative Mom, I decided to make our vases pretty using Unicorn Spit, the new non-toxic rainbow gel stain we sell at our shop, All Things New Again in Leesburg, VA and right here in our online store.

Unicorn Spit vases2_All Things New Again

* * *

Here’s my tutorial on how to transform $1 discount store vases into beautiful Teacher Appreciation Week gifts using Unicorn Spit.

(Hey, hey… pay attention, class. These will also make awesome Mother’s Day gifts!)

* * *

I started with these ordinary vases I purchased for $1 each.

clear vases_beforeI washed the vases and applied a thin coat of Mod Podge around the outside of each vase. You can also use chalk-type paint for this step. You just need to apply something that the Unicorn Spit will adhere to or else you risk it sliding right off the glass.

Mod Podge dries clear. When applied over clear glass like these vases, the Unicorn Spit will look more translucent when you seal it, almost like stained glass. If you use chalk-type paint, the Unicorn Spit colors will be brighter and more vibrant, but you lose the see-through effect. It’s a trade off. I like both looks.

Once the Mod Podge dried, it was time to have fun.

On two of the vases, I squirted different colors of Unicorn Spit all over and in all crazy directions. It is important to make the colors overlap every which way. If you squirt in straight lines, the colors won’t blend together as nicely in the next step.

SPIT TIP: Don’t overthink this. Just squirt!

Here’s what the first step looks like on a clay flower pot I did with the same technique. (Sorry! I forgot to photograph this step on the vases.)

unicorn spit_flower pot_squirtNext, take a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic grocery bag and carefully wrap it around the vase (or flower pot). Work in sections if you need to. Don’t worry about wrinkles.

SPIT TIP: Sometimes Unicorn Spit is thick. Give your design a few sprays of water before applying the plastic to thin it out and help it to spread around better.

unicorn spit_flower pot_spread

Then take your hand and smoosh it all around to blend the colors. Run your hand over the plastic to smooth out the Unicorn Spit and spread it all over the vase.

Carefully remove the plastic to reveal your design. This is my favorite part of the process—The Big Reveal!

unicorn spit_remove plastic wrap

If you don’t like the look you just created, no worries. You can add more colors and smoosh it again. You can wad up the plastic and dab it in spots like sponge painting. You can even smooth out the Unicorn Spit with your fingers.

SPIT TIP: If you really, really hate your design, just spray it with water, wash it off and start over. No big deal.

There is no right way or wrong way to do this. Just keep playing around with it until it looks beautiful TO YOU!

Here’s my finished flower pot:

unicorn spit_flower pot

And here are my vases. This is how they looked before I sealed them. The two vases in the middle were created using the plastic wrap technique described above. The two vases on either end were created using the Finger Painting Technique I described in an earlier tutorial and video.

You can learn about Finger Painting Unicorn Spit here. (And watch the video.)

unicorn spit vases_before poly

When you love how your vase looks, set it aside to dry. The longer you can wait, the better your final product will be. Because the Unicorn Spit can get very thick in spots, I like to let mine air-dry overnight.

You might get cool crackles in parts of your design. That’s OK. I don’t know what causes it or how to control it, but I’m always happy when the crackles appear because it adds more texture and visual interest to my project.

unicorn spit_cracklesOr your glass might end up smooth as, well, glass. You just never know. Don’t sweat it. That’s all part of the Unicorn Spit fun.

Unicorn Spit closeup

When the Unicorn Spit is completely dry, seal with an OIL-BASED sealer.


minwaxIt sounds counterintuitive because Unicorn Spit is a water-based product, but a water-based sealer will “re-activate” the Unicorn Spit.

Your colors will run together and your awesome design will get all muddy and ugly.

Because these are flower vases intended to hold water, I used MinWax Helmsman Spar Urethane. It provides protection from water so I thought it would be better than regular polyurethane to protect my cool “spit job.”

When that poly hits the glass, stand back because—BOOM!—those colors will pop!

Unicorn Spit vases2_All Things New Again

Unicorn Spit Vases_All Things New Again

unicorn spit vase_closeup2Special thank you to all of the teachers out there who work so hard and do so many things for the children we love!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! <3


unicorn spit mom printer tableAll Things New Again is a family-owned furniture and paint boutique located in Leesburg, Virginia (about an hour or so west of Washington, D.C.)

We are the only shop in the Northern Virginia/metro DC area offering an Introduction to Unicorn Spit class where you learn—and practice—how to create a variety of wonderfully colorful looks with this awesome sauce called Unicorn Spit. Find all the details on our class here.

We also sell Unicorn Spit in our online store. Here’s the link again.

16 thoughts on “Transform Ordinary $1 Vases with Unicorn Spit Rainbow Gel Stain

  1. Great job on the vases! I’m having tons of trouble finding spit ‘ shimmer’ and the newer colors like Navajo jewel Michele talks about on her videos. Any help !

    1. Thank you Deena!

      Unicorn Spit is in a bit of transition right now and, unfortunately, not everything is currently available.

      Michelle was brewing all of the colors and the shimmer spit herself, but recently partnered with a big company for manufacturing and distributing it. This is great news for getting Unicorn Spit out into the whole world! … However, they are only making the original 10 colors right now, not the newer colors like Navajo Jewel.

      The shimmer spit was just a limited edition Michelle made. I know we are sold out of it and I’m not sure if other original vendors have any left.

      Hopefully, Eclectic Products will start making shimmer spit and the other colors in the future. (I really, really hope so!) In the meantime, you can make a teal color similar to Navajo Jewel by mixing Blue Thunder and Dragonsbelly.

      ~ Courtney

    1. Hi Tina, I apologize for the delay in responding to you. I have not updated my blog in several months and was not checking for comments. To answer your question, you didn’t do anything wrong. We always recommend using an oil-based polyurethane to seal Unicorn Spit because it preserves the beautiful design and makes the colors pop. However, oil-based sealers often turn white and lighter colors yellow. It gets tricky when sealing over white Unicorn Spit because you run the risk of it turning yellow. I’m not sure how to fix it when that happens. I think it depends on your project, maybe you can come back and add a little white over the yellowed parts to brighten them up again. ~Courtney

  2. The Mod Podge is what is causing the cracks. When it gets wet it reactivates and when it dries it shrinks and causes the cracks in the paint. I use it and Elmer’s glue for crackling projects. Let it dry till it’s talkie and apply paint. It crackles as it dries

  3. These are so pretty! Perfect gift idea! Love the idea of each child giving a flower then all the teacher needs is a pretty vase.
    I haven’t tried the unicorn spit yet but it sounds fun and I love the colors.

    1. Thank you Linda! It was was fun watching each child walk into the classroom and hand their flowers to the teacher. They were so thrilled to be giving them something special. It was really cute!

  4. Do you know if light will still shine through these vases? I’m looking at making a small table lamp. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen, I think it depends on how you prep the glass. If you paint it with chalk paint first before applying Unicorn Spit, then it will be more opaque and harder for light to shine through. If you prep with Mod Podge, it will dry clear, but still give the Unicorn Spit something to stick too. So the Unicorn Spit will be more transparent. I think it would be really pretty! ~ Courtney

    1. Hi Susan, You can try it! Acrylic craft paints are more opaque than Unicorn Spit … so you won’t get that see-through translucent layered look that Unicorn Spit is famous for… But the designs you create with acrylic paint will be pretty I’m sure! ~ Courtney

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