How to Make Nail Polish Jewelery

Two Methods:Jazzing up old costume JewelryMaking an original piece using a cabochon

Old costume Jewelry pieces that aren't in the best of condition can be made to look amazing again through the application of nail polish. So, the next time you're in the thrift store wondering whether that costume Jewelry is worth buying, consider the potential of jazzing it up with nail polish, and you may just be inspired enough to give it a try.

Method 1
Jazzing up old costume Jewelry

  1. Image titled Make Nail Polish Jewelery Step 1
    Lay the piece of Jewelry on a covered, flat work surface. Decide how you would like to change the piece––choose the parts of it that you'll change the color of, along with which colors you'll use. Usually you'll be focusing on whatever counts as "gems" in the Jewelry, to give them a new, colorful appearance.
    • For example, you might only choose to color broken or faded parts of the Jewelry. Or, you might choose to color pieces in a pattern, alternating colors. Another alternative is to color the whole piece. For your first few tries, give everything a trial, so that you can develop your own unique flair; just be sure to use the cheapest items to begin with.
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    Choose the nail polish colors you'd like to use. If you don't already own them, you'll need to go for a shop. Stick to cheaper brands though, to keep this a budget project.
  3. Image titled Make Nail Polish Jewelery Step 3
    Paint the gems that you've chosen to paint. Paint slowly and carefully, so as not to drag any polish onto other parts of the Jewelry by mistake.
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    Add another coat or two if needed. Allow each coat to fully dry, then check to see whether you're happy with how the result looks. If you think it needs more depth, add another layer, and repeat until it looks good.
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    Seal the nail polish if wished. Paint a clear coat over the top of the Jewelry pieces you've just painted. This can help to keep the color intact for longer.
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    Ensure that the jewelry is completely dry before wearing it.

Method 2
Making an original piece using a cabochon

  1. Image titled Make Nail Polish Jewelery Step 7
    Choose a clear glass cabochon for this project. This is a half-circle dome shaped gemstone-cut used for Jewelry making. You'll also need the cabochon tray, which is the metallic part into which the cabochon fits. Both items can be found in such places as craft stores, Jewelry suppliers or online sites that cater to Jewelry making.
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    Cradle the cabochon facing down on its rounded (convex) side. You can hold it in your hand or place it on a concave item, such as a piece of foam with a dent in it. You could also use a big blob of poster tack attached to the rounded part and pressed against a non-slip surface. Use anything that will stop the cabochon from rocking as you work on it.
  3. Image titled Make Nail Polish Jewelery Step 9
    Paint the first layer of nail polish into the flat side of the cabochon. If adding glitter, do so now and use the brush to spread it about a bit. Allow to dry. Drying time will take about an hour.
    • Don't overdo adding the glitter. If it's lumpy, the cabochon won't fit snugly into the tray later.
    • Instead of painting a layer, you might like to try a design, such as a love heart first, then paint a background layer over the design. This is more finicky but looks really effective.
    • Another approach is to swirl different colors together across the flat part; take care not to mingle them up too much though, try to keep the swirls distinctive.
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    Paint the next layer over the dried layer. At this stage, it might be enough nail polish but you can decide that once this layer has dried. Two layers is often enough for strong, opaque nail polish colors, while another layer or two might be needed for weaker, more transparent polish colors. Again, allow to dry thoroughly between each layer.
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    Let the cabochon dry overnight before adding it to the tray. This will ensure that it is completely dry.
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    Attach the cabochon to the tray. Use a blob of strong glue and apply this to the tray. Press the flat side of the painted cabochon onto the tray, spreading the glue under the force of your pressure.
    • If any glue pops up around the edges, simply wipe it away before it dries.
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    Allow the cabochon to fully dry in place. When it is dry, turn it into a piece of Jewelry, such as a necklace, bracelet, ring or earrings.
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    Wear your new piece of Jewelry with pride. It'll be an unusual piece that nobody else has anywhere.


  • The Jewelry can be further changed by adding nail art decorations, glitter, beads, sequins, etc. as well as the polish.
  • Painted a spot in error? Simply wipe off using a little nail polish remover on the end of a cotton bud. Then allow to fully dry before reapplying a different polish (or just leaving it clean).
  • Nail polish thinner can help to thin the polish if it seems too thick when using it. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer.


  • Be sure that the piece of Jewelry you're painting isn't really valuable; don't accidentally paint real diamonds or emeralds or you'll be in for an expensive clean at the jewelers.
  • Nail polish is generally toxic. Work in an area that is really well ventilated.
  • Dispose of unwanted nail polish appropriately, as it is hazardous household waste and should not be tipped down the drain or thrown into the usual trash. Take it for proper disposal; contact your local municipality for advice.

Things You'll Need

Method 1:

  • Cover for the work surface
  • Old pieces of Jewelry with artificial gems, such as rhinestones, embedded in it; artificial gems with shine in them are the best choice (nothing expensive)
  • Nail polish in colors of your choice
  • Nail polish remover/thinner (optional, only if needed for cleaning or thinning)
  • Decorative elements, such as nail art decorations, glitter, beads, sequins, etc.

Method 2:

  • Cabochon, clear glass
  • Cabochon tray
  • Suitable glue (it must be suitable for use with both nail polish and metal)
  • Nail polish (color of your choice, or a combination of colors per layer)
  • Glitter (optional but adds a sparkle)
  • Chain or Jewelry findings for turning the finished object into wearable Jewelry

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Personal Accessories and Jewelry