Introduction: Nail Polish Constellation Pendant

About: Aspiring design engineer from Imperial College London from Hong Kong. Museum lover. Interested in STEM communication, experience design, and making things. Chair of Imperial College Artisans Workshop. Secretar…

Ever panicked about last-minute presents? Ever scoured the internet for next-day shipping? Thankfully, that was not me for my friend's birthday this month - and it actually wasn't, because I had a plan. I scrounged up some common household materials I happened to have at hand - a blank pendant, some nail polish - and made my own gift. And here's how you could do it too.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

First, you'll want to gather some stuff. Most of which are mix and match and could be replaced with similar products, or even omitted completely!


  • Bottles and bottles of nail polish - of varying colours. Some light, some dark, preferably.
  • One blank pendant - of any shape and size, or even pre-decorated! Or some other flat sheet metal, acrylic, whatever.


  • One pencil, sharp (or other sharp pointy implements, such as a needle) - commonly found in pencil holders on desks. May require sharpening.
  • Some cotton buds, soft and fluffy - typically located in the vicinity of nail polish or other personal care products.
  • Any number and sizes of nail polish dotting tools - usually found where the nail polish is, but if you don't own any (like me), replace with the following or skip entirely.
  • Any number and sizes of small brushes, tiny and delicate - a nail art brush seems appropriate.
  • An Internet-enabled device, for Google purposes - the same device you are using to access this Instructable would do.

Step 2: 'Base Coat'

Now that you have everything you need, start by applying the first layer of nail polish evenly (or unevenly, for textured surfaces and special effects), in the colour of your proposed background. For a night sky, use a deep, glimmery colour, such as dark blue with subtle hints of glitter. I didn't have blue, so I used a nice shimmery forest green instead, from a Christmas set I bought - you guessed it, over Christmas.

Allow the layer to dry completely, and RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO TOUCH IT. Go do something else in the meantime - like finding or making a box to house your finished product.

Step 3: Plotting the Night Sky

Now that the open sky is laid out in front of you, all dried and ready for the next step, it is time to consult the Internet.

Pull up a picture of the constellation of the star sign of the recipient of your most thoughtful gift (while you're at it, might as well make sure it is the correct star sign), and map the stars onto your little slice of the night sky using a sharp pointy implement - like a pencil. Gently poke on the pendant where the stars are meant to go in relation to each other, keeping the pencil vertical to make as small a dent as possible (the dent in the picture is slightly too aggressive. Just a tad). This is purely for reference so that the stars wouldn't lose their place later on.

If you do make a mistake now, hopefully it wouldn't be visible, and would get smoothed out by later coats of nail polish. If it is visible, simply go over the pendant with another coat of the base colour, or even go an extra step and use nail polish remover to redo everything! Don't forget to leave to dry again.

Step 4: Painting the Night Sky

Once everything is to your satisfaction, get your light coloured nail polish and, using your utmost care and the thinnest dotting tool/brush/pencil tip/thing you can get your hands on, dot the light polish onto the dimples you just made in the last step. Feel free to experiment with different dot sizes, dot textures, dot densities, whatever. You can try to make it as scientifically accurate as you want or as artistic as you like. Explore the different luminosities of the star, the colours - or just go for what feels right. It's entirely up to you (and your friend's preferences, to a certain extent).

Again, if anything goes woefully wrong, the nail polish remover and cotton buds are always close at hand. Or just dab the fresh polish off with the cotton bud and smooth out the bump with a drop of the background colour.

If everything's perfect, DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING and just let it sit there for some time. Better safe than sorry.

Step 5: 'Top Coat'

This step is optional but could be nice to give the pendant a nice, glossy, finished look - simply by applying clear nail polish just as you would on a nail.

Now leave everything to dry and PLEASE DON'T POKE IT. Touching it to see if it's dried is also a big no-no, especially with multiple layers of polish, as I've learnt the hard way.

Step 6: Finished! (...Oops)

Yes I've learnt my lesson. Luckily, it was salvageable with the other two thirds of the Christmas nail polish set (red and glitter), and she likes koi. And glitter.

Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2017