Thermochromic Nail Polish




About: I am a teacher outside of Boston and I love making cool stuff! Any prizes I'm lucky enough to win will go directly to my classroom (when appropriate) where I teach 6-12th grade English & Social Studies (...

While researching thermochromic pigments, which are hard as hell to find in affordable quantities let alone in a variety of colors, I came across this website through some Pins on Pinterest.

The company, I am not affiliated with in any way--has a variety of powders for the average DIY'er and in a variety of colors and for a variety of uses. Also, very affordable. So I quickly placed my first order for a variety pack of 2 different Ultra Thermal-Dusts, one that changes from purple to blue and the other purple to magenta. When my order arrived, quickly I might add, it included a sample of thermal glitter (purple to magenta) from SolarColorDust's sister company, Glitter Hippo, which was a very nice surprise.

This Instructable is going to show how to make color changing nail polish. I plan to bring this back to my classroom and have my students make their own nail polishes (yes, even the boys) and then have them brainstorm ideas for other wearables they can create using the powders.

Again, I am in no way affiliated with either company, but I am a big fan.

I have entered this Instructable into a couple contests. As always, anything I am lucky enough to win goes right back into my classroom for student use (when appropriate) and is used for promoting academic engagement and providing new experiences and skills for the kids.

Step 1: Materials

-Clear or white nail polish

-Thermochromic pigment (

-Disposable gloves for working with the pigment, safety goggles wouldn't hurt either (the pigment is non-toxic, but better safe than sorry).

Step 2: Thermochromic Pigment

Thermochromic pigment is powder that changes color when heat or cold are introduced. The specific powders I'm using for this Instructable are heat reactive at 86 degrees. The company I purchased the powders from have several varieties, including a heat sensitive powder that reacts at 77 degrees and a cold sensitive powder that reacts at 72 degrees and cooler.

Step 3: Mix

You don't need a lot of of the powder to make your color changing nail polish. The company I ordered the powder from recommends a ratio of 1tsp of powder per 4 oz of base (in this case, polish is the base). I was initially going to use a clear nail polish, but ended up testing a white one instead. While a clear polish will hold the shade of whatever pigment you use, a white polish will soften the color.

I poured a little of the white polish into a disposable cup and added 1/4 tsp of pigment to it and stirred with a toothpick until the polish incorporated the powder.

You can add the powder directly to your bottle of polish and then shake until mixed.

Step 4: Paint

When your polish is ready, paint your nails. Depending on the type of polish you use, you may need to add 2-3 coats. The white polish base I used didn't require multiple coats. When it was dry I put a layer of clear top coat over my nails to protect the polish.

Step 5: Ta Da!

See what happens when I dunk my nails in room temperature water!



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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    sorry. that didn't make sense. which temperature of dust did you get?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    I have the 86 degree dust, but the 72 cold activated dust is in the mail :)


    3 years ago

    quick temperature dust did you get?


    3 years ago

    This is awesome! I own a salon & I'm excited to get some pigments to play with. How fun would it be to offer custom polishes? Thanks for posting!