How to Customize a Metal Water Bottle

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If you prefer using a lightweight, taste-neutral, metal water bottle rather than disposable plastic bottles, identify and personalize the container to make it as decorative as it is functional. Use basic craft supplies and simple techniques to adorn the metal with colorful patterns, a monogram or themed designs to suit the season, your personality or current fashion trends. Use the embellished containers to tote your own water or design additional bottles to present as party favors or gifts for friends and family members.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrap paper
  • Paint primer
  • Paintbrush or foam applicator
  • Acrylic paint
  • Decorative rub-ons
  • Scissors
  • Blunt wood craft stick
  • Glaze or sealer

Place scrap paper on your work table to protect it from paint, sealers or stray embellishments that might stick to the surface.

Leave the surface of the bottle in its original color, or alter it by applying a layer of paint primer, such as white gesso, sold at craft and art supply shops. Brush on a thin layer of the primer using a paintbrush or foam applicator. Let it dry for at least one hour.

Cover the primer with two coats of acrylic paint. Let the bottle dry for at least one hour after you’ve applied each coat of paint.

Embellish the metal water bottle with decorative rub-ons sold at scrapbooking, rubber-stamping and craft stores. Choose the desired letter, pattern or image rub-on and cut it from the sheet with sharp scissors.

Remove the protective top sheet from the rub-on design. Place the design face down on the water bottle in the desired spot. Rub over the design with a blunt wood stick to transfer the image to the surface of the bottle.

Lift the paper from the bottle slowly. Lay it back down and rub the paper with the stick again if any bits of the rub-on are still stuck to the paper. Repeat the process until you’ve covered the desired area with rub-ons. Consider adding a single design in the center of the bottle, an inspirational word around the bottom of the bottle or a decorative pattern to the entire surface.

Seal the artwork by applying two light coats of glaze or sealer with a paintbrush or foam applicator. Let matte or glossy finish dry for at least one hour between coats. Let the bottle dry overnight before using it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you change your mind about a decorative rub-on after you've applied it, remove the design from the water bottle before sealing the project. Lift loose rub-ons by applying a piece of tape over the design then removing it. Scrape any remaining bits off with your fingernail or a blunt wood craft stick to avoid scratching the bottle's painted surface.
  • Do not wash your embellished water bottle in the dishwasher. Although the instructions from the bottle's manufacturer may specify that the container is dishwasher-safe, the heat and spray of the water may cause the decorative embellishments to peel off. Wash the bottle by hand with hot, soapy water and let it air dry.

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