How To Paint Glass With Nail Polish (2 Ways)

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Although nail polish has a primary function (to paint nails, of course), there are many other ways it can be used. This aesthetically pleasing and durable substance can even be used on glass. Whether you’re looking to paint pretty patterns on a vase or decorate your champagne glasses, nail polish can do the trick.

You can paint on glass with nail polish, but use a thin polish or add some nail polish remover so that it’s not too thick and goopy. You can paint directly on the glass or put some nail polish in warm water for a marbled effect. You’ll want to be extra careful when washing your painted glasses.

Let’s take a closer look at using nail polish on glass, including the different methods, how to prepare for the process, and how to keep your glass safe after painting.

Can You Paint on Glass With Nail Polish?

Nail polish

If you use the right methods and pick the right kind of nail polish then yes, you can indeed use it on glass! Thick gel polish isn’t the best for this, though you can thin it out using nail polish remover (on Amazon).

The consistency of the paint should be fairly thin, otherwise, it’s going to run down the glass and be difficult to work with.

But as long as you choose the right nail polish, like this one from Sally Hansen (on Amazon), then you can create all sorts of beautiful designs on glass.

Method One: Paint Directly Onto Glass

The first and easiest method is to paint directly onto the glass. Pour the nail polish out into small bowls so you can see the colors and make sure you have what you need. If the nail polish looks particularly thick, then go ahead and thin it out with the nail polish remover before getting started.

Once you have your colors set up and ready to go, you can start painting the glass. You may choose to use a paintbrush or even a make-up brush for this (though make sure you don’t need that brush again!), but Q-tips (on Amazon) are also ideal and can create some fun spotted patterns.

Although nail polish tends to dry quickly, it’s a good idea to leave it alone for an hour afterward to ensure it’s totally set. If you make a mistake while painting, dip a fresh Q-tip into nail polish remover and carefully remove the mistake. The quicker you manage to do this, the more likely it’ll easily slide off.

Method Two: Create a Marbled Effect

You can also create a beautiful marbled effect with nail polish! Fill up a basin with lukewarm water and drop your nail polish onto the surface. Put a few more colors on there and then use a toothpick to mix them up, creating a marbled effect on the surface.

Once you’ve done this, you can gently and slowly dip the glass into the marbled water. Make sure to go as far down as you want the marble pattern and then slowly lift up and remove the glass.

How to Prep for Painting

Before you begin painting, you’ll want to make sure you cover your workspace with something, as this process can get messy. If you’re using the marbled method, the paint can run off, and you’ll need somewhere to place the glasses while they dry. 

If kids are involved, even the first method can get messy!

You’ll also want to make sure you have everything good to go beforehand. If you’re painting straight onto the glass, make sure you mix up the colors beforehand and have a bowl of nail polisher remover and some Q-tips ready.

This ensures that if you make a mistake, you’ll be able to immediately remove it — don’t give it time to dry, as this can result in disaster and you may have to start over with a new glass.

You may also wish to wear safety gloves. While nail polish isn’t dangerous when it comes into contact with the skin, it can be difficult to get off when it dries. If it does get on your skin, simply dip a Q-tip into the remover and wipe gently at your skin — don’t scrub, as this may irritate it.

How to Care for Nail Polish-Painted Glass

You should be extra careful with nail-polish-painted glass. Although this is great for fun DIY projects, it’s not the sturdiest material, and it will likely wear off over time. If you used any glitter nail polish, this is especially true.

Don’t put the painted glasses in the dishwasher. Instead, gently wash them, trying to keep soap on the outside to a minimum. Let them air dry on a drying rack rather than scrubbing at them with a dish towel.

Does Using Nail Polish on Glass Take Practice?

Colorful nail polish coloring painting

The amazing thing about using nail polish to paint on glass is that it works very well for beginners — no practice needed! The marbled effect requires no artistic skill, and even painting on the glass can look beautiful and professional from someone who doesn’t consider themselves to be a great visual artist.

Overall, using nail polish on glass is a fun and easy DIY project! Whether you’re an adult looking to do something fun and new with your champagne glasses, or you’re looking to do something fun with the kids and paint vases, this should work well.

Just remember to give the glasses time to try, use the right polish, and be extra careful with them afterward!

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