I think by now, anyone with a Pinterest account has seen this post on how to make wire nail polish flowers. Or at least, you’ve seen the imagery from the original site, which is in Russian, and has been torn apart and re-shared half a dozen times. (I did some digging and found the real source, which you should always try to do.)
They’re beautiful, but like most things on Pinterest, they come with some degree of skepticism. In this case I was 100 percent sure there was NO WAY this was going to work.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
Making these is THE MOST FUN. And, they’re rather beautiful as well!
Being a wire artist, the wire part was easy. I quickly did up a series of loops and turned them into a flower shape, then pulled out my purple nail polish with severe doubts. Imagine my shock, surprise, and delight when the science of surface tension and the brilliance of Pinterest turned out to be right!
I was immediately smitten and went straight out to buy ten million new colors of nail polish.
I then proceeded to make a bunch more flowers, making errors and learning along the way, and, being me, pushing the limits to see what else I could do.
Let me share with you the techniques I found and the pitfalls to avoid.
Warning: This is possibly extremely addictive. Proceed with caution.
First things first: this will make a mess.
There’s basically no way around it. So, be prepared with something to catch the drips. I like using these not-quite-vinyl-not-quite-plastic placemats from the dollar store to go under my messy projects like varnish, paint, patinas and now nail polish!
The original post used a mandrel (pen, pencil, marker, etc) to create the loops but seeing as I just wrote a book called Freeform Wire Art Jewelry, I went ahead and did them by hand, the way I show in the book.
Lesson: A loose twist will come back to haunt you. Make sure that at the base of each loop, the wire doesn’t create extra loops. See the blue one? See the open twists? Yeah, don’t do that. If there isn’t a closed system the polish is a nightmare to get attached.
Once you have your twists and loops set up, I suggest using the bottom part of the wire to create a “stand” so it can hold itself up.
Here’s the basic technique for creating wire nail polish flowers.
Use the flat of the brush, at an angle, starting at the twist, to slowly begin covering the top of the loop with polish.
Moving very slowly, keeping the brush touching BOTH sides of the loop, spread the polish across the flat of the loop. Flat. I mean it.
Lesson: Do NOT wipe the brush on the side of the bottle. Your every instinct will balk against this lesson. Trust me. If you tap the excess off, it won’t be enough (hence the drips at the end).
Let the brush slide off the edge of the loop.
Lesson: You can only coat spaces which can be covered from edge to edge by the brush.
Keep it really flat and finish by pulling down and off the loop.
Lesson: Newer polish works better than old. The new stuff was nice and smooth and the brush was clean and pliable. Huge difference.
Pretty great, right? Sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes it busts (think of it like a bubble and be gentle), sometimes it takes a bunch of tries. But you can do it. Keep it flat and stay patient.
So at this point I’m basically jumping up and down wondering what else can I do. What about double loops?
The dual colors aren’t perfect here, as I was just experimenting but you can do it. Color the inner loops first, then when they’re completely dry, do the larger color from the back.
What about more loops? How crazy can I get?
Turns out, not very. The more complicated it is, the harder it is to coat. Larger spaces are more difficult, as well, but with some patience you can get them..
On the failed experiment below (on the left, it bust open because the space wasn’t closed, while the bottom space was too large to coat), after it had dried overnight, I poked at the transparent part with my pliers — two pokes and it busted open. The thicker part, though, took quite a few taps with metal pliers without breaking. So they’re fragile, but have some resilience as well.
The neat thing about these simple pieces is they can be stacked — push one inside the other at the stem and voila! More complex flowers.
PS: I know you were wondering and yes, glitter nail polish totally works.
What else can we do? Leaves? Oh, yes.
To make a leaf shape in wire, bend the wire completely in half into a hairpin, then grab the ends and pull the wire back open into a curved shape. These were ridiculously easy to coat but I found this green was smooth and easy to work with, as well.
I wanted to do something even more interesting though. What about, say, a rose, or a camilla? Well I tried a couple of spiral options and they’re not bad! These were really tricky to coat though so get lots of practice in first, and make sure your wire crosses itself and closes up the spaces.
As for what to do with them… well, I’ve used beads in wire flowers on necklaces before:
And I’m thinking these will serve really well in similar settings. The long wire tails let me attach them to pretty much anything. And in the meantime, tiny little nosegay bouquets sure never hurt anyone!
Creating wire nail polish flowers is not only easy, but fun and just a little addictive, as well! Excuse me, I need to go make some more!
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