Monday, February 20, 2012

Nail Polish Jewelery Tutorial!

Hello and welcome to my nail polish jewelery tutorial!
A ton of you have been requesting this, and I'm sorry it has taken me a few weeks to put it together, but I was waiting on more earrings in the mail before I could finish!

Using very few supplies and some nail polish, you can create amazing, one-of-a-kind pieces to add to your jewelery collection.
I wear a different polish ring almost every day and not a day goes by when someone doesn't ask me about my ring. (Where did you get it? What? You made it? That's nail polish?!)

This is insanely long with a lot of pictures so keep reading to see the rest of the tutorial!

Here's what you'll need to create your own polish jewelery:
- Clear glass cabochons
- Ring bases/blanks, or earring posts + backings, or pendants
- Superglue
- A clothespin (not shown)
- Nail polishes! (Duh!)

The superglue I use is just plain old liquid superglue that I got from Born Pretty with some fimo canes, but superglue gel apparently works great also.

I'll start with rings.
First, let's learn more about the ring supplies themselves.

To make rings, you need a ring base/blank and class cabochons.
The diameter of the inside of the ring tells you what size cabochons you need. Above is a 16mm ring blank, cabochon, and a finished ring.
You find these supplies on eBay or Etsy.
Search for things like "ring base" or "ring blank" or "glass cabochon" or "glass cabochon 16mm" (or any size you like.) You'll usually be able to find a set of 10 for a really decent price. Add other keywords like "sterling silver," "bronze," "round," or "oval" if you like. Look around, you'll find something that suits you.
(If you have sensitive skin, you'll want to get sterling silver or stainless steel rings - they will be more expensive. If you have skin that turns green with cheap jewelery - try out "antique bronze" finish. I turn green ridiculously easy but the bronze doesn't turn me.)

This is a 25mm round antique bronze setting and a 25mm cabochon. This size ring is my favorite! I like 'em big and flashy.

This is a 18x25mm antique bronze ring with a 18x25mm oval cabochon. The added details on this ring make it a cool piece!

Here's how the three rings shown compare in size.

The sky is the limit when it comes to designs. I'll talk more about some designs shown as we go along.

The first thing you do to make a polish ring, is paint your bead/cabochon.

It's really difficult to just paint directly onto the bead because it slides around.

I like to sandwich the bead between two fingers to stabilize it and then paint it.

The trick to making jewelery is that you have to paint your layers in reverse order.
In these photos I am starting with Sally Hansen HD DVD because I want my ring to have that nice sparkle. In a manicure, this would be your last step. In a ring, it is the first.
(I love adding HD polishes into my rings, it really gives a cool effect.)

You must let each layer dry completely to help prevent bubbles. Go do something else while your layers dry! Organize your polish! Twiddle your thumbs!

You can stamp on your polish jewelery! Here I did it after the HD polish but you can also start with stamping. You just stamp as you would on your nail, but remember, the image will be flipped, so you can't really use the ones with words.
I used Sally Hansen Insta Dri Silver Sweep and Bundle Monster BM-223.

Also, see that little lump on the bead? I stuck on a piece of star-shaped glitter before stamping. You can set any glitters into the rings.

Paint your base color last. I used Barielle Do Unto Others. I recommend putting 2 or 3 coats of base color even if you only need one - it helps the glue from ruining your design when you set the ring. This is essential with stamping especially.
Remember to let each layer dry. Bubble prevention!

See how pretty the HD shimmer is? And the star glitter peeking out? You can do whatever you can dream up!

Now, once your ring is toooootally dry, you can glue it to your ring blank.

Put a little but of glue into your ring blank. Not too much because you don't want it to overflow when you put the cabochon in.
And not too little, because you want it to stick! You might make a few booboos when you're starting out but you'll get the hang of it.

Next, you lay your cabochon into the ring base and press it down to spread the glue.
Quickly, take a clothespin and clamp it over the bead.

Lay your ring and clothespin cabochon-side-down to dry. I do this because if any bubbles form, gravity will not pull them up into your design and ruin it. Leave it like that overnight.
I say this because I learned the hard way with my first ring.

Bubbles. Sad bubbles.
I only squeezed the ring down for about 5 minutes and then I started wearing it. The bubbles started forming as the day went on.
Learn from my sad mistakes!
(Ring shown is Ozotic 505 and 528 over black. So pretty)

Once it dries, you've got yourself a ring!
Go show it off and make all your friends (and some random strangers) jealous.

...And once you've done that, get your butt back home and make some matching earrings!

I like to make stud earrings but you can also make other varieties, like these which were made for me by Sarah of Chalkboard Nails.

Embedded glitter! Stamping! Flakies!
She did a tutorial for these (which is very similar to the rings) here.

I do studs because I like the way they look in my ears. And I feel silly with things dangling from my ears.

For stud earrings you need small cabochons - these are 10mm. 8mm and 12mm will also work. Or bigger if your ears can handle heavier earrings!
You also need earring posts - search "earring posts" on eBay or Etsy and again, get sterling silver or stainless steel if you have sensitive ears. I chose "silver plated" ones and they don't bother my semi-sensitive ears.
I got 300 for just $3. (The pad of the post I use is 6mm, you should just make sure the pad is smaller than your cabochon.)
You also need earring backings. You can use ones that you already have on other earrings or you can buy them. I got 1000 for less than $2 on eBay.

You follow the same process for rings. Start with your top layer and work your way down.
(Shown - Lynnderella Love Potion No. 99)

Let your first layer dry before going onto the second. Here I used Nubar Violet Sparkle.
(These match a mani I did!)

Once it's all dry, add a drop of glue.

Then, gently lay your post into the glue, as close to the center as you can get.

Leave your earrings alone overnight before wearing them.

These earrings are a bit more fragile where the post is just sitting on the bead - I dropped one once onto a tile floor and the backing popped off. But no worries, you can glue it right back on!

Make matching sets! This combo is my favorite of all the jewelry I've done. I'm wearing this ring right now!

Another option - necklaces/pendants.
I don't have any pendant making supplies, but you can make some damn pretty necklaces too.
Laurie from Dressed Up Digits made me a matching ring and pendant for my birthday!

This was made with Zoya Ivanka. I love it! I want to grab some pendants for myself!
You look up "pendant blanks" or "pendant bases." This one is 20mm I believe.

Okay, got all that?

Now let's talk design ideas.
I'll show you the photo from the beginning of this post again because it showcases most of my rings, and then I'll explain each one.

You can make a variety of different colors and finishes!

1. Stamped glittery zebra ring! Design idea taken from a mani by That's So Fresh. I first stamped the black zebra pattern from BM-16 onto the bead twice because once does not cover the whole bead. I filled in any missing spots with a small brush. I added some white lines, and then covered the ring with OPI Crown Me Already. I gave this ring away - I need to make it again!

2. Double shatter ring. I started with clear polish, then OPI Black Shatter, and then more clear polish. I added OPI Silver Shatter and finished it off with 2 coats of Milani Red Sparkle. I love the different layers!

3. This ring is hard to capture. The first layer was Sinful Colors Green Ocean, a mixture of green flakies and glitter. I added Ozotic 505 for the gorgeous color shift and finished with black. This one looked really cool in person. The flakies added a cool dimension.

1. Snakeskin ring! I did this ring just like my snakeskin mani - but backwards, of course.

2. Ozotic 505 + 528 + black. Your standard gorgeous purple-green color shifting ring. (Without the bubbles, this time.)

3. More flakie layering! This is is made of Sally Hansen Hidden Treasure (flakies) + Orly Halley's Comet (turquoise glassfleck shimmer) + China Glaze Up All Night (a dark blue with shimmer to darken the ring and show off the flakies.)

1. Purple zebra! This was again BM-16 but stamped with China Glaze Harmony. The base color is OPI Lincoln Park At Midnight. Be careful applying your base over the stamping, it can smear. Let it dry well!

2. Deborah Lippmann Glitter In The Air over China Glaze Sea Spray. Simple and pretty.

1. Kleancolor Holo Chrome. You won't believe how gorgeous this is in person. If you make polish jewelery, make sure you have this polish to use. It's amazing.

2. China Glaze Atlantis. Another simple stunner.

1. OPI DS Glamour. Yes, holo works in jewelery! Preserve some of your hard-to-find polish in a ring to cherish forever!

2. Another flakie and glitter creation! Nfu-Oh 50 + Sinful Colors Pearl Harbour + Sinful Colors Nail Junkie + OPI Ski Teal We Drop. This one's a stunner.

1. Glitter creation. Nails Inc Bloomsbury Square + Fitzroy Square. Then a coat of CND Teal Sparkle for some, well, teal sparkle. Finished with black to pop the glitter and shimmer.

2. Lynnderella Gotta Love Brains over China Glaze Sea Spray. I made this into a ring before I even wore the polish, haha!

1. Sally Hansen HD Byte with BM-16 zebra again stamped in black (several times, filled in with small brush,) followed by Color Club Poptastic. Another great HD ring. I love this combo! I gave this baby away too, and for sure need to make another.

2. Same thing but with OPI Black Shatter.
Tip - when using shatter on a ring, you have to put down a clear base first. The shatter will not shatter on the glass without a layer of polish down first.
I also find you sometimes have to help the shatter by pushing parts with a dotting tool or other small object, to make the pattern bigger and more noticeable.

Here's another pic that shows how the shimmer changes color:

I really like adding the HD polish before the shatter or stamping because then your shatter/stamping is shimmery and so is the base color. It's a cool effect.

So as you can see, basically any polish works fantastic! Polishes on their own look great, layering is great, glitter and flakies are great, stamping is great. Let your imagination run wild! Take inspiration from your own manicures! Or my manicures! Or other people's manicures!

If you make some booboos, don't get discouraged. You saw my first booboo. Everything takes practice.

Making polish jewelery is a great way to show off your polish and your creativity.
I hope this has all the information you need, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will reply to them here.

If you guys try out making your own jewelery, show me pictures! :)


  1. wow this post is very useful and informative , thanks alot for posting this ..

  2. This is awesome!! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing jewelry techniques with us!! :D These look so beautiful!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this!

    great tutorial & beautiful jewelery.

  4. Thanks for posting! I'm definitely trying this! :)

  5. Fabulous tutorial! Thanks for being so detailed. Off to look on eBay...

  6. Thanks for sharing! gonna get some supplies and start experimenting!

  7. Thank you Rebecca :)Please visit me :)

  8. Aaahh, I loveee this tutorial, thankyou so much! I am ordering all the things on ebay right now :) I will definately make a picture when I'm done making the jewelery!

  9. i loooovvvveee!! i want to make some!! i have to find those cabochons first! super love! you're awesome! <3

  10. Great tutorial! I will definitely try it, I already have some glass cabochons around, just need to find some ring bases :)

  11. Thank you for this post! It's definitely very informative. One day I'll have to try my hand at making my own jewelry. :)

  12. Thank you for this post Youre the first that shares info . ive been keeping asking questions everytime i see this kinda rings and no one ever answers me .
    Thank you so much !

  13. WOW - these are ALL absolutely beautiful!!!! Keep up the GREAT work....your blog is one of my FAVES!

  14. Thanxfor posting this. Amazing tutorial!

  15. Fantastic tutorial, can't wait to give this a go!

  16. That's awesome, it looks like so much fun :D

  17. Really helpful and inspiring :)

  18. This is a really good and very helpful post, thank you so much! :)

  19. Thanks for those instructions and now I really have to try this ;)

  20. AWESOME!! i've been wondering how people do this. i love it! can't wait to try it myself!

  21. They are really wonderful are your creations .. Congratulations!

  22. These are amazing! Thanks for the tutorial!

  23. this is seriously brilliant! thanks for breaking it down for us! will definitely be trying this out! :-D

  24. awesome post Rebecca! I am in the middle of making polish earrings to sell at a gala in a couple weeks. Will most likely put a photo on my blog soon :)

  25. Great tutorial! Would you mind telling me where you found those gorgeous ring blanks? Love them! Thanks :)

    1. mine are all from ebay. i haven't seen the oval ones in a while but if you search for 25mm bronze ring blank you should find the round one, and 16mm should find you the smaller ones. (i got the smaller ones with the cabochons in the same listing but the others were sold separately.)

  26. love it - you rock - thanks

  27. Awesome post Rebecca! I just got my pendant supplies in the mail!

  28. Thank you so much for taking the time for doing this post. I had no idea how to do this and you has explained it really well. Thank you!!!!

  29. I really like your rings :) Especially the one you sent me :D

  30. Awesome I think I need to try in the future too! I thought it would be way harder to get the beads and stuff but sounds fairly easy...

    1. Okay I searched for the beads and stuff now. Any chance you still remember where you got them for this awesome price?? As I can't seem to find anything close to what you described

    2. these are exactly what i bought but i can't guarantee these listings will be around forever:

      as i mentioned i can no longer find the exact oval rings i used but here is something similar:

    3. and earrings:

      these aren't the exact backs and posts i bought but this is the right kind:

    4. OMG that is detailed!!! Thanks so very much!! You are a gem!

  31. awesome post, i'm sure the number of polish rings in the world will rapidly increase after this ;-D

  32. Rebecca! Thanks for the great tutorial :) Awesome!

  33. Oh my this is such a great idea. I'm so going to try this. Fits right in with my love of jewelry and nail polish. Thank you.

  34. This is fantastic! I love artsy stuff like this. Thank you! I'm going to try this in a couple of weeks.

  35. First of all congratulations for this post, it's very complete, I was here trying to understanding this thing of the rings and thanks to you know I know where to start. I will follow!

  36. Wow this is so cool! It combines my two favourite things together :) Love it <3 (And it's probably cheaper too!)

  37. Awesome tutorial! Thanks so much :) Now I need to go buy some supplies...

  38. OMG! love love love how you used my snakeskin mani for that ring!!! BRILLIANT!!! Now I'm going to need to make some too! :D

  39. such a creative idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Brilliant tutorial; thanks so much for posting it!

    I have a question though: I'm not sure if the glue I'm using is reacting with the polish because although the polish is dry (am experimenting to see if I need to let it dry even longer), once I glue the ring on, it sort of dissolves the polish a bit and it oozes out between the cabochon and the ring. Have you had any experience with this before?

    1. hmm, no i haven't had issues with it oozing out or dissolving the polish. i did have it smear my stamping once but i couldn't figure out WHY and it only happened once.
      i think you should try another glue!

  41. Oh Rebecca, you are such an enabler. ;) Inspired by this post I decided to experiment with some of those glass bead thingies for planters and stuff from the Dollar Tree and cheap ring bases from Hobby Lobby. Having fun but decided to "upgrade" and order the 16 mm cabochons and ring bases from the E-Bay seller you purchased from. You're so bad but so good, thanks! :)

  42. Hey rebecca what colours did you use to make the stud earrings (set of 6) the very top row, far right!

    1. they were made with Ozotic 505 and 528 over black :)

  43. This is awesome. I know what my summer project will be and future gifts for my friends! Thank you so much for posting it!

  44. This is such a wonderful idea! Makes me wanna make them myself, lovely!! Love your nails by the way!

  45. GREAT tutorial! Thanks so much!

  46. Thank you fot this awesome tutorial!! I've started making my own jewellery now, all because of you. :)

  47. If the ring blank shows it due to not enough nail polish?

    1. hmm... sounds like it. i make sure to add lots of coats!

  48. Ok, thanks! I will try more coats next time and longer nail polish dry time. :D This is my new hobby thanks for the tutorial!

  49. Hi , thanks for sharing <3
    Was using Google and found your blog and now i can get nice pendants and earrings ^~^

  50. Do you have any tips with stamping? I tried it on a clean glass cabochon, left it for several hours and the when I added polish, it smudged and bled. Awesome post btw!

  51. Your talents never cease to amaze me! Your jewelry is beautiful!!!
    Great tutorial, as always...I learn so much from you!

  52. So pretty! I'm making these as Christmas gifts this year. I do have a question though. You secured the ring with a clothespin, but what about the earrings? How do I make sure the glue really sticks?

    1. i just left them standing up like in the photo, it doesnt give the strongest seal but i couldn't think of a better way!

  53. Just a note to people trying this if you get one with bubles or a smudge all is not lost! As long as you use a glass cabochon you can remove it from the base and wipe it down with acetone just like nails. Dont get acetone on the base unless its stainless steel, i wouldnt risk on silver or anything plated. So if you have already placed it i suggest a pointy nail file and some jiggling.

  54. Your jewellery it's so beautiful, I like it vey much, I also bought one at
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  55. If you were to paint on just a pendant surface ---- could you just use 1-2 layers of clear nail polish to protect it? like let's say the front of the pendant had epoxy but you needed something to protect the back of the pendant that is painted as well. Can you just put a layer of nail polish? I've tried mod podge and it eventually peels off in areas. :(

  56. Thanks for posting this because I had used E6000 glue and it had a bad reaction with some of the polishes I used!

  57. So weird. I've got 6mm posts that look bigger than that. The 6mm posts I got actually took up the whole backing of the 10mm cab! So now I dont know if my seller labeled the posts wrong. Argh

  58. Wowsers! You've got an amazing stash of jewellery there! What a great tutorial.

    Re your issue of the cab wobbling around on the table while you paint, and having to hold it still - if you grab a blob of blue tack (putty? not sure what it might be called where you are?) and stick it on the table, push the cab into it, and voila! Stays exactly where you want it to and gives you two hands to decorate and your fingers don't get in the way!

  59. Oh my God! Your jewelry is fantastic! I recently started making my own rings and was just browsing the internet for ideas when I came across your page. I love what you came up with. I can't wait to try them out! Any excuse to buy new exciting nail polish! :)

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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