When I first heard of Unicorn Spit — before I knew anything about it — one thing crossed my mind. I imagined it was a new version of the Elf on the Shelf craze except instead of finding a mischievous elf in the morning, parents created colorful mounds of make-believe unicorn vomit for kids to find so they would believe magical unicorns had visited their home at night.
Thankfully, I was way off-base.
Unicorn spit is a super popular, nontoxic, gel stain and glaze that DIYers are using to transform furniture, glass, fabric, and even their hair into colorful creations. Some of those creations can end up looking like a unicorn threw up on them — super colorful without much sophistication. It doesn't have to be that way, though. With some time, practice and patience Unicorn Spit can be transformative, turning old pieces of furniture or tired kitchen cabinets into something beautiful.
A versatile product
One artist creating amazing transformations out of Unicorn Spit is Mishol Randolph who runs Momzilla's Unique Boutique out of Erie, Pennsylvania.
"This product is amazing," Randolph told me. "It smells like jasmine and it's water based."
The product's website says it's nontoxic, but it doesn't give any details about the specific ingredients. Randolph is confident enough in the product's ingredients, though, that she'll give her 4-year-old daughter a plate of unicorn spit to play with.
"She can go to town," says Randolph. "even if she gets it on something, I can win it off."
If you search for #unicornspit on Instagram, you'll find thousands of photos of furniture, sneakers, glass, hair, clothing, cabinets, countertops, floors and more than have been made new using the gel stain. Some of the creations are really impressive. And of those that are impressive, Randolph's photos really stand out.
"I don't think there's anything this can't go on," says Randolph. "I did a wedding. I decorated my friends whole wedding in teal and silver Unicorn Spit."
She made the centerpieces, painted boards for signs, and even painted the bride's garter belt with Unicorn Spit.
Transforming entire rooms
For the casual DIYer, Unicorn Spit can transform a piece of furniture or a piece of a palate (as Randolph did above) into something unique and decorative for the home. Randolph takes it further and transforms entire rooms with combinations of paints, with Unicorn Spit taking center stage, and epoxies. The single mom has turned her skills into a business that helps support her family of three.
Everything in the bathroom above except for the toilet has been transformed by Randolph's use of the popular gel stain. The floor is the most impressive part. According to Randolph, no one had ever used the product to create what looks like wood planks on a floor before. She painted right on top of the existing white floor.
"I cleaned the floor good and then put on a coat of paint," she says. Then she used a Dremel tool to create the outlines of wood planks.
"I used Unicorn Spit — all the browns — with a wood graining tool and it just flowed. It was like swimming. I was just like, 'ahhhhhh', " said Randolph.
On untreated wood, Unicorn Spit will seep into the wood grain as a stain. On wood or other material that's been treated or painted, Randolph uses a coat of Fusion Mineral Paint before she begins working with the product as a glaze or paint. That's how she transforms cabinets and countertops.
"I use one coat of paint, then Unicorn Spit, and then an epoxy pour," says Randolph. Before she began transforming other people's kitchens, she did her own first.
"I wipe off god knows what from my kitchen cabinets," she says. "It's a been a year, and I still have not had one single mark or tear."
My kitchen is laid out very similar to Randolph's. I even have the scalloped valance over the window sink. For year's I've been talking about how much it needs a makeover, but I've been hesitant to pull the trigger on the expense of new cabinets and their installation. After seeing these photos and talking to Randolph, I realize I may not need to spend thousands of dollars.
I'm inspired to keep the cabinets I have and re-do them using Unicorn Spit. This fits right in with my desire to reuse what I have whenever possible.
How Unicorn Spit came to be
For those who like to keep up with trends, Unicorn Spit can be used to turn what they already own, or something they come across at a thrift store or yard sale, into the style-of-the moment. In the video above, the product is used by Michelle Nicole, the creator of Unicorn Spit, to turn a plain white shelf into a farmhouse piece.
The story of Unicorn Spit's creation is inspiring. Nicole began an arts and crafts program for participants at a senior daycare center. She noticed that the men didn't partake in projects such as macaroni pictures of hook rugs. So Nicole grabbed an old piece of furniture off the side of the road and brought it in the for the men to work on, and it wasn't long before many of the participants were transforming pieces of furniture and this form of art therapy was turning the lights back on in the eyes of the senior citizens.
Nicole created a special stain that was nontoxic and safe for the skin so that anyone who had arthritis and couldn't hold a paint brush could safely use their hands to spread the color instead of using a brush. This stain eventually became known as Unicorn Spit, and Nicole has a grown a business around this product that's inspiring DIYers, artists and entrepreneurs.
The products are available online, and they're also now available at major home improvement stores and craft stores. A 4-ounce bottle costs about $9, but a small amount goes a long way. The product can be diluted with water up to 70 percent to make a stain, up to 20 percent water to make a glaze and up to 10 percent water to make a paint.
"I can do a whole kitchen — 15 or 16 doors and 8 drawers, with a 4-oz bottle," says Randolph.
There are hundreds of video tutorials online from crafty people using the product. Spend some time browsing all the ways Unicorn Spit can be used before starting your first project.