Before starting with each band, I attached them to an empty soda bottle, as you'll see in some of the photos. First, I've got way too many of those lying around, and second, it allowed me to set them down easily without messing up one side. I heard many warnings about painting the bands while they were laid flat, so I wanted to make sure we could avoid that problem.
One of the movies I most associate with my little (6'2", 23-year-old) brother is Toy Story. He sort of came of age with those films and I know they mean a lot to him. For his band, which started orange, I went over it twice with a brown nail polish. FYI, solid brown, non-sparkly nail polish is very hard to find, at least where I'm at. It took one Target and three different CVS's before I finally found one I liked! Anyway, once I went over his enough you couldn't see the orange peeping through, I used a black sharpie to write Andy's name. My initial thought had been to smear and smudge it, ala Woody's boot after he has been well-loved, but it seemed to hold firm after I wrote it. Maybe if he wore it long enough :)
As you can see in the photo, I still had some cleaning up to do. I went back in with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol and wiped down the gray edges and managed to clean up most of the overreach from the brown polish.
Her design was the only one I had that wrapped all the way around the band, so I took a quick little video so you can see all of the different angles.
My husband is not big on overt display's of Disney, so I wanted to do something subtle for his. I found a beigy-gray polish in my reserves, went over the central circle a few times, then drew over it with my paint pen. I debated redoing this one with a darker gray color, but he immediately recognized it as the Death Star so I left it as is. This one was by far the simplest of the designs, but that was just the way he liked it. His, surprisingly enough, was actually the only one I heard any comments about
Mine was by far the toughest, and in fact, I completely scrapped the whole thing at one point and started over. Growing up one of my favorite shows was Kim Possible, so, of course, my band needed to be the Kimmunicator. My band started green, and in the end, it took three coats of the teal to cover it completely. In my first design, I had the lighter mint color all the way around the "screen" area and actually laid that down as a layer before going over it with my black paint pen. The texture got really gummy and gross and resulted in my redo. The second time around I put down the black first, then put two strips of the mint using carefully applied tape as a guide. If you do use tape for straight lines, be very careful that everything is VERY dry or you'll make a huge mess. Voice of experience here.
After taking this photo I actually went in over theMickey head with yellow and green, trying to replicate the Kim Possible logo. It looked awful, and I went back over the whole thing again with black.
When I finally decided that my designs were good enough (after all, art is never finished, just abandoned) I sealed them with Modge Podge Arcylic Sealer. I chose the matte version, as I didn't want them to be too shiny. I sprayed the entire surface, including the gray outside part as I wasn't sure how to avoid that. All-in-all, it worked out very well. There was some slight cracking of the bands by the end of the trip, but really nothing that I felt disrupted how they looked.
I hope this helps anyone thinking about decorating their own bands. I would love to see pictures or details of how you personalized them!