I was recently inspired to go through my treasure trove of nail polishes. Over the past few years, I have collected easily 100-200+ nail polishes of all different shades and textures, and they’ve all been tucked away into plastic or wooden boxes. Of course, there’s no logical reason for having nearly 200 nail polishes, but I like nail polish and I don’t purge my collection often.
Unfortunately, as we all know or have sadly learned, nail polish doesn’t last forever and starts to decline pretty much as soon the original seal has been broken on the bottle. Nail polish preservation tools and tricks aside, sometimes you just have to say goodbye to the old ones…or the hideous ones that make you ask yourself ‘why did you buy even that?’
Instead of just tossing away all the colors I don’t wear or the polishes that have gone bad, I took some of my favorite colors and used them to marble gift boxes.
The technique is exactly the same as water-marbling your nails, but much more intense. It is a little tricky though and you will want to practice, practice, and practice on scratch paper and with old polish you don’t like at all just to make sure you get it right. You have to be quick and you have to know exactly what type of marble pattern you are going for even before adding the polish to the water.
- Nail polish in coordinating colors (I played around with a few but ended up using a silver and teal in on the final product)
- Cardboard or chipboard box
- White acrylic paint
- Sponge brush
- A large tub big enough to cover the bottom and sides of the box when the box is submerged
- Skewers, wires, or some type of disposable rod. You will want more than one.
- Mod Podge
- Paper towels
- Optional: gloves
Paint the box with white paint using the sponge brush. Paint in even layers until the box is fully opaque. This will help the colors really stand out on the box, but you can choose to skip this step if you’d like.
Fill a large tub with clean, room-temperature water.
Unscrew the caps of the nail polish bottles you wish to use for a practice run. (YES, it is so important that I’m writing it into the actual directions!). Splatter the colors onto the surface of the water by flicking polish into the water with the brush or by just turning the bottle sideways and spilling the polish. Find a method you’re comfortable with that allows you to dispense the maximum amount of polish .
As you splatter each color, quickly use the skewer to spread around the colors. Then, submerge a scrap piece of paper into the water, right over the area with the design you like best. Keep the paper submerged as you clean up any polish or clear film layer that is still floating around. You can use the skewer to do this. Once the surface is clear, remove the paper from the tub and observe. How do you like it? Keep practicing until you start to like what you see.
Once you have the method and color combination down, do the same thing with the lid first by splattering around the polish, mixing it with the skewer, and submerging the lid top down into the water. Clean up and set to dry. Repeat with the box.
After the boxes have dried, you can seal the polish with a layer of mod podge. Do NOT, however, use an acrylic sealer that contains acetone (check the listed chemicals!), or else the polish will peel away. Acetone removes nail polish.
That’s it! Present amazing gifts to your friends and family in these boxes or use them to store jewelry, candles, nail polish, rings, necklaces, and more.