Nail Polish Jewelry Tutorial – Pendants

November 14, 2011By

This is my 400th post! To celebrate, I’m sharing a tutorial.

As you all know, I’ve been on a nail polish kick recently. There are just so many amazing colors available these days, and so many types – glitters, holographics, shimmers, metallics, shatters, you name it. And while I wish I could wear all of them, some just don’t look pretty on my nails. But I still want to wear them, and I’ve found another way to show them off: nail polish jewelry.

It’s very easy to make, and the possibilities are only limited by the nail polish you find. I think the results are stunning:

Fabulous, right? And so simple! Here’s what you’ll need to make your own nail polish pendants.

A clear base coat, a variety of nail polish, topcoat, glass cabochons with trays, glass cabochons (round), glass cabochons (square), glass cabochons (rectangle),  jewelry bails, heavy-duty glue, nail polish remover and q-tips or cotton.

I purchased my glass cabochons, trays and bails from etsy, but you might also be able to find them at your local craft or bead/jewelry-making shop.  (Update – so many people have asked where to get supplies, so I’ve added Amazon links to items that can be found there.) I recommend domed cabochons if you can find them. The curve has a nice magnifying effect on the polish and gives the finished item more depth.

Step one: Paint the back of the cabochons with a layer of clear polish or base coat. Be sure that your base coat does not have any color – this needs to be perfectly clear. This will even out any flaws in your glass before you start painting with the colors. Wait until this coat is absolutely dry before moving on to step two.

Really. I mean it. Step away from the project until it is completely dry. Get a sandwich or watch an episode of Parks and Recreation. Drag marks from layering not quite dry polish will ruin this project. Ask me how I know.

Step Two: If you’re using a crackle polish, add a layer to the glass now. Here I used OPI’s Silver Shatter. It goes on normally, but “shatters” as it dries. I’m not really a fan of this look on my nails (although I’m sure it’s lovely on yours!) but I think this looks fabulous on this pendant. Wait for this to dry, and move on to the next step.

Step Three: Start to layer your nail polish. On the left, I’m using Zoya Roxy, a deep purple with tons of purple glitter. On the right, I’m layering Butter London Bluey over the shatter.

Keep building the layers until it’s at the opacity you like. It might take just one or two coats, or in the case of some clear glitters, as many as five or six. Be sure the polish is dry between layers.

Note: if you drip down the sides or generally make an error, you can try to correct it with the remover and q-tips. Or, if you accidentally flip your still-wet project over so it lands face down on your working surface, you can start over entirely by removing the polish. Ask me how I know. (And always protect your work surface, just in case.)

Step Four: When you’ve built up the layers to your satisfaction, add a layer of topcoat. This is especially important if you’re not setting the pendant in a tray, but just adding the jewelry bail. This will help protect the polish.

Step Five:  Once the top coat is dry, it’s time to glue. I use E6000 – it’s very strong, and dries clear, so it won’t alter the look of the colors. For the tray setting, smooth the glue in a thin layer evenly over the back of the cabochon, and place in the tray. For the bail, add a touch of glue to the back of the bail, and center it along the top of the glass.

Step Six: Let the glue dry. It can take anywhere from 24-48 hours for the E6000 to dry completely. Be patient. Eat another sandwich. Watch some more TV. Give yourself a manicure, you’ve earned it.

That’s it! You’re done! You now have a beautiful pendant just ready to slide onto your favorite chain and wear. These are just two examples – you can also play with layering different types of polishes for different effects: shatters and metallics, glitters and shimmers, or even just a stunning holographic polish on its own.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions, let me know. And if you decide to make your own nail polish pendant, please keep me posted. I’d love to see your finished projects!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed in: Step by Step Tags:

Comments (50)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Frances D says:

    Now who would have thunk it? Nail polish jewelry, and it’s really nice too. I never knew there was such a thing as crackle polish either.
    Definitely mentioning you on my own blog.
    Found you via the NaBloPoMo blogroll.
    Waving at you from New York

  2. Harlan Kelk says:

    Great site. Very interesting and informative :)

  3. Divya N says:

    These are lovely..I am big fan of nail polish jewelry

  4. Bev says:

    What a great idea. Can’t wait to try it out.

  5. What a clever idea, and so pretty! I’m very excited about this tutorial. :)

    Sadly, my nail polish started to discolor, so I threw it our years ago, but I do have acrylic paint. I may have to see if it works, and if it does, I’ll let you know.

    – Sarah

  6. Love this idea! It’s just so clever (and easy to do!!). Thanks.

  7. Marlene Strait says:

    I have been using nail polish since 1998 on my painted brass charms but i never thought to use it in this fashion. Great idea!!

  8. Vicki says:

    So clever! Thank you for sharing your tutorial. I have a tray full of nail polish I no longer wear. This will be fun to try! :)

  9. Dee Dee says:

    Love this idea! I am in Mexico, and the bead shops are very limited, but if I stock up on glass cabs, I can do this!! Thanks for a great idea!! love it :)

  10. salla says:

    I love this! Unfortunately, fingernail polish and my asthma don’t mix, but I may have to try it with some no fume paints and resin….

  11. morphine says:

    these are stunning!

  12. Jerry says:

    Hi, I’m a nail tech and I have a good bit of nail polish on hand. My question is where do you buy these pendants at? I really enjoyed this. Thanks, Jerry

  13. Mary says:

    This is such a fantastic idea! I love designing jewelry and making odd one of a kind pieces. Thank you so much for this tip! Will let you see one or two that I make.

  14. vicki says:

    very very interesting–might be worth a try as I have been using diamond glaze for my glass jewelry . This looks much easier!! Thanks for sharing

  15. AMAZING!!!!!!!!
    If anyone interested in watches so visit our
    Watches in Pakistan

  16. lorrwill says:

    Freaking brilliant. I found you on The Beading Gem’s Journal. What a great idea this is. Thanks for posting this tute! Both pendants are gorgeous.

  17. oshi says:

    hi! I’ve linked your tut in my blog! here –>


  18. Linda says:

    I do not wear nail polish, but love the colors offered, now I can play with it and make something very creative. Love this idea. Thank you for sharing. Take care.

  19. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial! :) I’m a nail junkie, so I found it really fun to see step by step how to create pendants with nail polish!

  20. Debbie says:

    These are very pretty! They look similar to dichroic glass pendants! My head is thinking of all kinds of ways to get different effects! Lovely!

  21. Lucia Kaiser says:

    What a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to try this.

  22. Amy says:

    Awesome tutorial! It made me giggle several times, always a bonus! Thanks so much :)

  23. Anusha Pinto says:

    I have some glass pendants and I was wondering what to do with them. Thank for sharing this lovely tutorial. :)

  24. Rebekah says:

    Hi , thanks for sharing . I was looking for tips on how to make stuffs like that on Google and found your blog ! Everything is described in details , great for starters like me !

  25. antonette says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for this wonderful idea! You have truly inspired me for crafts again. It’s been a while since I have had the desire to try anything! You are Awesome (ask me how I know) hahaha That cracked me up!!!! Thanks again! (((HUGS)))

  26. Becky says:

    Awesome idea!!!! I do not wear nail polish, but I’ll definitely buy some and dry this idea!

  27. Karen says:

    I love these, they are fun to make with so many color possibilities!

    I have made some to sell in my Etsy shop. Here is the link to one of them:


  28. Steph says:

    I love this! Awhile ago I made a bracelet the very same way!!! You can check it out here!!! I’d love to know what you think!!!

  29. Cindy says:

    This line killed me: “As you all know, I’ve been on a nail polish kick recently”. It’s like you plucked the words right out of my daughter’s head!!! All she wants for Christmas is nail polish and lots of it. This looks so darn fun, I can’t wait to make these with her. Thanks! Awesome gift idea. :)

  30. pixelkat says:

    I.have a question. How durable is this jewelry. Does the ish hold up well? My concern is it flaking or.chipping off the backside of the glass without a better protective coating.. can anyone give me some feedback either way?

    • Karen says:

      The pendants are durable as far as I’m concerned. I have never had any issues with them not holding up. As long as you put several coats of polish on, then finish with a clear top coat I don’t see any reason for it to ever chip or flake off. Besides, the glass dome is glued to the bezel pendant, so it is protected and unlikely that the polish will ever come off. The pendants should last a very long time, if not forever.

  31. Jane says:

    Where do you get the metal , fixtures from ? I am new to all this and dont know where to get the jewelry chains etc

  32. Jane says:

    sorry for asking basic questions but new to all crafts . What do I look for ? ie is there a word describing the bits !!!

    • Karen says:

      The materials needed to make these pendants is glitter nail polish, clear top coat polish, bezel pendants, glass cabochons, and craft glue. Go to the online shop that I mentioned in my last post, they have the materials needed to make pendants, except for glitter polish. You can find nail polish at almost any store.

  33. Ramya says:

    Ma’am pls tel me wer do get these material in Bangalore finding difficult to search the cabochon ….

  34. Allison says:

    I’ve been doing this for a while now, I use tacky glue instead of E6000, and I’ve never used a clear coat, but some of my cabochons have started to bubble after they have been glued. I was just wondering if adding the topcoat helps, and if that ever happens with E6000? I used superglue gel once and that was awful. It completely destroyed my polish. I have no problems with glitters bubbling, just creme and shimmers.

  35. Karen says:

    Clarify what you mean, it makes no sense