Ombre Paint Your Phone




This is my first instructable, so let me know if something is not clear.

A few years ago, I found a cover that I really liked, but it was twenty or thirty dollars. I'm a tightwad, so I found fingernail polish that looked similar to the holographic quality of the cover and painted the phone with it.

For four dollars, I had a phone that looked like the expensive case.

The nail polish stood up to the wear for months before I removed it and changed the color.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies.

You will need:

1. Cheap kitchen sponge. Cheaper the better, they have smaller holes and create a better finish.

2. At least two colors of nail polish. Make sure the polish is not transparent. The polish should cover completely with two coats. You can use this method with other types of paint on other items. I like the polish because it's cheap and has a lot of lasting power.

3. Scissors, to cut the sponge.

4. A surface to work. I use a piece of paper, usually junk mail, if I think I'll be messy.

5. Nail polish remover and a cloth to use with it. I do not recommend cotton balls because of the lint. I use cheap baby wipes to wash my face and reuse them for nail polish removal when they have dried. This is just for clean up, if you need it.

6. The item you are painting. This can be almost anything. If you are using nail polish though, it should be small. The polish dries fast.

Step 2: Polish Selection

There are different types of polish.

Nail polish with obvious glitter will last much longer than a polish that has no glitter. The larger the bits of glitter the tougher I have found it to be. A cell phone case covered in only glitter polish lasted almost a year before I started noticing chips around the edges.

If you choose a glitter polish, be willing to spend a couple more bucks on it than just a straight color. The pricier it is, the more glitter it will have. I don't think I paid over $5 for any of the polish displayed.

Step 3: Paint the Surface.

I painted the back of my cell phone. Take it off the phone before you start!

I am demonstrating on an index card because I painted the cell case and then realized I should have done an instructable for it.

I like to have the colors angle across the surface. You can use as many colors as you want and whatever angle you want.

The line between the colors can be a little messy, you are going to fade it out in the next step.

Let everything dry completely. Nail polish will be quick, but I usually give it an hour to stop being tacky.

Step 4: Sponging

Cut the sponge into smaller bits. I used this tiny piece to do the demo, but it had been cut to use on my fingernails. It is about an inch long and a quarter inch wide. After starting I wished I had used a larger piece.

I put the polish directly on the sponge, but you can pour it out and dab it if you want. Because the polish dries so fast, I found that I wasted a lot of polish that way.

Step 5: Dab

Start with the same color as the color on the sponge. I started with pink so I started on the pink side.

1. Touch the sponge down and lift it straight up near the border between colors. The color will go on thick and starting here will help you spread it better. You can dab it on another surface first, but I thought it a waste of paint.

2. Twist the sponge between dabs. Make sure you press straight down and straight up with no twisting while the sponge is down. That would create a smear. You can play with that option later to create a different design.

3. Work the color over the line to begin blending. I blend about an inch on either side of the line.

4. Reapply paint to the sponge as needed and begin working onto the other color to help blend them.

5. Change colors. I used the same sponge with the new color. It helps to blend them better.

5. Work in layers. You can always put on more paint, but it's a pain to take it off.

6. When you are happy with the two color blend, let it dry.

Step 6: Add Sparkle and Depth.

After the two colors have dried, I applied a thin coat of tiny glitter polish to the same sponge and did a few pounces to get a star like field.

I then took a polish with larger bits of glitter that have a holographic effect and put just a tiny bit on the sponge. I focused most of the larger bits around the blended line, but scattered a few around the whole thing.

On the index card, I followed the blended line for the sparkles and galaxy effect, but on the cell phone back I went at a different angle.

The polish dries so fast that it will feel rough to the touch.

Add a clear coat. Spray paint would work for this or you can stick with the polish. I didn't have good luck with the polish, it's thick, the brush is small and it dries fast.



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    19 Discussions


    3 years ago

    if u dont want to do anything to ur phone, u cud buy a cheap case and use that


    4 years ago on Introduction

    The finished result looks great - this is such a fun and do-able way to personalise your phone! Well done!

    I love the blues you used.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    That is what I was going for. Thanks. I am still trying to figure out how to do a nebula, but in the mean time I did the Milky Way.


    4 years ago

    that's soo cool, I'm gonna do it


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have never had an iPhone so I can't say. The only thing that might cause problems is I believe they have a slick surface where mine had a little texture. If you are willing to do it, rough up the slickness with some very fine grade sand paper and wipe down the surface again with polish remover.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I like the results a lot. That style of painting livens up anything with filleted edges, like phones and technological devices...


    4 years ago

    I like it a lot and you were very clear :)