Introduction: How to Make Nail Polish

Picture of How to Make Nail Polish

This instructable will teach you how to make your own nail polish colors using eyeshadow and glitter.

It's an excellent way to get custom nail polish colors you couldn't get otherwise. And I love the way this nail polish goes on and the way it dries - it's much more matte and shimmery than regular nail polish.

Plus, making your own nail polish is very cheap and fast - so why not give it a try?

P.S. Know there are lots of tutorials on how to make your own nail polish floating around online, but I really wanted to give it a try. :D Even sunshiine has one - make sure to check her instructable out!

Step 1: What You'll Need:

Picture of What You'll Need:
  • clear nail polish
  • eyeshadow (I bet blush would work too!)
  • craft glitter
  • a couple sheets of paper
  • a toothpick
I bought the cheapest stuff available at Walgreen's - Wet n Wild. The name is cringeworthy, but at a dollar each for the clear polishes and three dollars each for the eyeshadow compacts, it was a really good deal! And I am actually really impressed with how my nail polish turned out.

The polish is pretty runny, but that's the only downside. :)

Step 2: Empty Out Some of the Polish

Picture of Empty Out Some of the Polish

Step one and the most important step!

Pour a tiny bit of polish out of the bottles into/onto something you were throwing away anyway. I used a ziploc bag. You'll need extra room in the bottle for the eyeshadow or glitter you're adding.

In the picture, the polish on the left has had a little poured out, and the polish on the right is a full bottle.

Step 3: Make a Paper Funnel

Picture of Make a Paper Funnel

This will help you get everything into the polish bottles with very little mess.

You'll need a new funnel for every color of eyeshadow or blush you use, otherwise cross contamination is going to happen!

I folded a piece of printer paper twice so I ended up with fold lines to cut it into four smaller pieces and then used those to make my funnels.

Not sure how to make a funnel? Check out my instructable. :)

Step 4: Prep the Eyeshadow

Picture of Prep the Eyeshadow

Use a butter knife or whatever you like to scrape the eyeshadow from the compact and onto a piece of paper. Then chop the eyeshadow up - you don't want any big clumps, because those will be trickier to mix into the polish.

Step 5: Funnel It Into the Bottle and Shake!

Picture of Funnel It Into the Bottle and Shake!

Unscrew the cap and wipe the excess polish off the brush and set it to the side on a scrap of paper so it doesn't ruin anything. :)

Use the piece of paper you've chopped the eyeshadow up on to transfer the eyeshadow - just fold it in half and tip it into the funnel.

Tap the funnel to get the eyeshadow to fall down into the bottle. If the eyeshadow gets grumpy and starts to clump at the bottom of the funnel, use a toothpick to help push it through. This happened almost every time.

Try to be quick while doing this, otherwise the nail polish brush can dry out and you'll have to get the nail polish remover after it to clean it up.

Screw the top back on and shake like a madperson. I did lots of shaking and rolling it between my hands - it took a minute or so to get everything nice and smooth. You don't want to see any clumps or dark spots in the polish!

This polish will settle after it's been sitting around for a few hours, but it is easily remedied by a bit more shaking. :D

If you're unsure about how much eyeshadow to use, see the next step!

Step 6: How Much Eyeshadow Should I Use?

Picture of How Much Eyeshadow Should I Use?

The eyeshadows I'm using are 4 oz each. Using the whole 4 oz gave a highly pigmented opaque polish, while using half the eyeshadow gave a really sheer polish (shown on my thumb).

I'm not a fan of sheer polishes, so I went with the full 4 oz tray of eyeshadow.

Both photos are shown using only one coat. :)

Step 7: Glitter Polish!

Picture of Glitter Polish!

I chose not to mix the glitter + clear polish + eyeshadow because I'm not a fan of colored glitter polishes... but I'd love to know how it works out if anyone tries it!

I used the same method as the eyeshadow - tipped some glitter into the funnel and then lots of shaking. I'd say I used about 1/2 teaspoon of glitter per bottle. You just want it to look nice and full when shaken.

Keep in mind that the glitter will settle to the bottom when not in use - just shake well before every use and shake occasionally while applying too and you'll be good to go!

Step 8: Final Photos + Comments

Picture of Final Photos + Comments

I really do like this more than most polish I've bought! The polish I made from eyeshadow is really matte and shimmery, and it dries quicker than normal polish as well.

The glitter polish turned out great as well - just make sure to do a clear top coat over it because craft glitter can be a little chunky. You don't want the glitter snagging on your clothes/hair/pets/whatever. :D

Now we'll have to see how long it lasts! I ended up doing a base coat of the purple polish I made, covering that with the gold glitter polish, and topping that with a clear top coat. I'll report back! It's held up well so far and I've had a hot shower and washed a load of dishes since yesterday.

POLISH UPDATE: It ended up lasting four days, which is not bad for cheapy nail polish. I think I could have worn it longer - I only had one tiny chip on my right hand! Came off pretty easy too, but the glitter is always tricky. :)

COMMENT UPDATE: A few of you have suggested putting either a bb or a glass bead into the bottle to help the polish get mixed. I'm going to do this myself and I think anyone who tries this should do it too. I hadn't thought of it! :D


Iloveicecream (author)2016-04-12

I actually love using wet and wild. I only like some of their colors, but the brushes are nice and the price is right. :)

texasgirl06 (author)2016-02-03

I will be trying it this weekend for sure.

zoe hoachlander (author)2016-01-12

it was cool and pritty easy

Mamamida (author)2015-11-29

What would happen if you added the eye shadow to colored nail polish you already have but it's too light and you just want to make it darker?

Althea MaeH (author)2015-11-27


RylinD (author)2015-10-22

i did not have a nail polish brush so i used a q tip it worked but u need a nail poilsh brush

cheerisme (author)2015-10-14


that is cool!(=

anisamo (author)2015-07-27

This is soo coool im so gonna try it

crissyisaboss (author)2015-07-19

This looks so cool and I am a big fan of nail polish and this will save a LOT of expense I will be sure to try it very soon! ;D

LaraA2 (author)2015-07-09

You can put in a tiny metal ball to make the remixing easier.

kittykat1 (author)2015-05-26

WAW! Thank You sooooo much I saved the trouble of my great expense and I am gonna make it with my friends to let them save less money and have GREAT quality like you and I

kreborn1997 (author)2015-03-18

I use cheap nail polish all the time, it works very well for me.

tamucky69 (author)2013-06-14

I read the first page of comments, but did not see the most obvious way to crush the eyeshadow. Use a PILL CRUSHER! It is very durable, inexpensive can be found almost anywhere, simple to use, no mess, easy to pour into funnel, easy to clean, won't hurt your hands, easy to clean, and small enough to store with your polish making materials in a makeup caddy or bag.

The pictures below give you an idea of the various kinds of pill crushers available on the market today. As you can see there is one for everyone no matter what ailment you may have. They do make automatic pill crushers if you have problems with your hands.

The first one is available at Walgreens for around $7. This is the one I use. It all comes as one piece that breaks down into 3 separate sections: the pill cutter on top, the crusher in the middle, and the drinking cup on the bottom. I found that to just use the crusher, the pill cutter is a real pain and is in the way and more difficult to use. I took it off permanently, but when I need to use it, I do not need to put it back onto the other two sections. It is still very easy to use without being attached to the parts.

TishK (author)tamucky692015-02-05

Fantastic idea - thanks! (even two years later, lol!)

JenitM (author)2014-11-23

Thanks, That was really helpful!!

7addison_yinger7 (author)2014-11-19

I like this I am definitely going to try this

aj123ps4 (author)2014-11-11


christine.chipman.71 (author)2014-09-13

What is bbs please?

elizakan (author)2014-01-09

You could also put the eye shadow through a sieve first, to remove big lumps, then put it in the funnel :)

ptran8 (author)2013-08-02

You can try to put the eyeshadow into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash it up before putting it into the funnel.

mk3girlie (author)2013-07-10

They make solvent resistant glitter that won't break down. I found many varieties on Etsy. Plus color for polish. They also make a "suspension" fluid to make glitter polish that wont let the glitter sink to the bottom.

lmcdonald8 (author)2013-07-07

Some glitters dissolve into the polish and all you're left with is a slightly tinted bottle of polish.

crazylam15 (author)2013-06-24

Luv this. OBVIOUSLY gonna try this

BriannaRenee (author)2013-06-17

Whenever I made glitter polishes the colored glitter I uses always dyed the clear polish and when I mixed it up it turned into a gross color, how do you prevent this?

Kk13 (author)2013-05-04

I am so trying this its really cool!!!!! :):):)

Mandaa (author)2013-04-03

so awesome! :D

GummiBear (author)2012-12-21

I never thought of doing that! What a brilliant idea!

Les Créateliers (author)2012-09-06

Soooo cool! Had to post this on my website, here's the link:

Pixie Puddle (author)2012-09-02

defiantly going to try that I got loads of eye shadow that I have dropped and broke inside there cases, can never be bothered to use them as eye shadow cause the powder goes everywhere, cant throw them out like the colours to much, sorted nail polish it is then, cheers for putting this on although there maybe tutorials on line I wouldn't have even thought to look for it. wicked, :)

lifechristine (author)2012-08-31

a custom color,Just an's a Great idea!!!

starwalk (author)2012-08-29

I've just tried this - it's brilliant - I had old 'Barry M' eyeshadows that I didn't use anymore, but now they have made fantastic nail colours. You're right about their slight matte-ness too, much nicer than a full-on gloss finish.

One little thing, my eyeshadows were loose powder to start with, so didn't need crushing, which I reckon made it much easier: plus I had a tiny funnel that came with a cheap refillable perfume atomiser, these might be worth looking out for.

Thanks so much for the inspiration :)

b4byl65 (author)2012-08-14

Fabulous!! Thank you :))) Another use for old eyeshadows other than to use them as mica powders. I hate waste xManuns

lineofbirds (author)2012-08-13

Just a heads up - adding bbs to your polish could ruin it.
I tried it , and the bbs rusted.

thebeatonpath (author)2012-08-13

This is WONDERFUL! I can't wait to try it.

Judith756 (author)2012-08-13

My absolute favorite glitter. They have to best micro fine. I used it about ten years ago when I was a face painter.
Great ible. I have a niece who will be trying this.

dangerine (author)2012-08-13

Finally, a use for old eyeshadows!

sitearm (author)2012-08-13

@jessyratfink; Hi! Clever idea. I've tweeted it to my nieces and nail polish loving friends. Cheers! : ) Site

emilyvanleemput (author)2012-08-08

Sounds great!
My nail polish is always destroyd after washing dishes :(

mslaynie (author)emilyvanleemput2012-08-12

A good base coat and top coat are helpful with this. Even cheap nail polish can last lots longer when you use a good base coat and top coat!

emilyvanleemput (author)mslaynie2012-08-12

problem is the top coat doesn't work for me.
When I use topcoat, it chips even faster...

mslaynie (author)emilyvanleemput2012-08-12

What top coat are you using? It might be worth it to try a new one. I'm really partial to quick-dry topcoats, but they range in price from fairly cheap to REALLY expensive. My three go-to top coats are Seche Vite (Around $8-10), Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-chip top coat ($4-5, if I remember correctly), and ProFX Quick Dry High Gloss top coat ($5 at WalMart for a HUGE bottle).

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri doesn't smooth things out quite as nicely as the other two, but it's fantastic. The other two are wonderful at smoothing out bumpy nail art or rough glitters. All of them dry your nail polish to the touch within around a minute, and I wouldn't be able to actually wear nail polish without them.

emilyvanleemput (author)mslaynie2012-08-12

I use topcoat from essence.
where do you buy your topcoat?

BTW I love your easy ombre manicure :)

mslaynie (author)emilyvanleemput2012-08-12

Thank you so much! I'm in the US, so I'm not familiar with shops in the Netherlands. I have to say, though, I'm jealous of your access to Essence products! We get some, but not as many and your products are often cooler!

Are there any cosmetics stores near you? It might be worth looking to see what topcoats are available there. If not, just check the nail polish sections of your shops. I'm sure you'll be able to find something worth trying!

emilyvanleemput (author)mslaynie2012-08-13

They are not really near me, I live in a small town, but when I'm in the city I usuallly go to a store where they have a few brands, but most of the time I buy essence, they have much cheaper stuff and I don't have so much money. :)

mslaynie (author)emilyvanleemput2012-08-13

I understand completely. Polish can be expensive!

emilyvanleemput (author)mslaynie2012-08-13

that's for sure!!!

scaffnet (author)emilyvanleemput2012-08-12

Have you heard of dish gloves?

You might be putting on the actual color and or the top coat on too thick, when I just put a layer or two of polish over mistakes it peels off in almost perfect sheets (without leaving a trace!) because it's just to thick...

Mine used to do that every time, but I've finally started letting my polish dry FOREVER between coats which seems to be helping it stay. Maybe I should do a how to paint your nails ible too. I'm getting pretty good :D

you should make an 'ible about that
i'm hopeless at painting my nails

About This Instructable




Bio: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working ... More »
More by jessyratfink:DIY Gold SlimeHow to Hand Embroider Flowers How to Clean A Coffee Maker with Citric Acid
Add instructable to: