Jewelry Blog

Create Beautiful Wire Nail Polish Flowers in 4 Simple Steps

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.

Wire Nail Polish Flowers by Gayle Bird for Craftsy

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!

wire nail polish flower

I was immediately smitten and went straight out to buy ten million new colors of nail polish. 

Bag 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. 

placemat for drips

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! 

wire nail polish flowers

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. 

Step 1:

Use the flat of the brush, at an angle, starting at the twist, to slowly begin covering the top of the loop with polish.

Step One

Step 2:

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).

Step Two

Step 3:

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. 

Step Three

Step 4:

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. 

Step Four

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.

Variations

So at this point I’m basically jumping up and down wondering what else can I do. What about double loops?

wire nail polish flower double looped

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. 

back of double loop flower

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..

failed experiment one

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.

failed experiment two

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. 

stacked wire nail polish flowersstacked wire nail polish flowers

PS: I know you were wondering and yes, glitter nail polish totally works

What else can we do? Leaves? Oh, yes. 

wire nail polish leaves

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. 

round wire nail polish flowers

As for what to do with them… well, I’ve used beads in wire flowers on necklaces before:

celtic garden necklace with wire bead flowers by Gayle Bird copper necklace with wire bead flowers by Gayle Bird

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!

wire nail polish flower bouquet

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!

Free Guide! Make Wirework Wonders

Create beautiful jewelry when you conquer wirework basics with these tutorials.Download FREE Now »

28 Comments

auntie em

These are so pretty and nostalgic to me. (I was a teen in the 70’s) We did a similar craft with twisting wire to make the petals and then dipping the loops into the medium to coat them. The end result was very similar to your designs but of course the colours were very few. Nail polish comes in so many beautiful colours now.
Thanks for sharing your fun creations! 🙂

Reply
Gayle Bird

I was a tiny child in the 70s so I didn’t know that was a thing! TWICE AS COOL 🙂 I had SO much fun with these colours. I like painting on just one side, though, so the wire shows through – different effect than dipping would be. Super fun nonetheless!

Reply
Peggy Stirling

I am assuming that once the first coat has thoroughly dried that it might be possible to add a second coat of the same colour to deepen the shade. Why not add detail to the first coat by using a second colour to accent the design?

Reply
Gayle Bird

Oh yes, definitely!!

Reply
Rox

I do these all the time, I usually add 5 coats as they are extremely delicate once dried. Then I do approx 3 thick coats of clear overtop and underneath to reinforce strength:) I use styrofoam to stand flowers as I do them. And let them stand up to dry overnight.

Reply
Renae

We did a similar project at a Girl Scout event in the 70s. I was about 8 years old at the time, so I don’t remember what the product was called, but it came in little cans, about the size of a paint sample, and you dipped the wire into it. The stuff we used came out more translucent, they reminded me of stained glass. I was thinking about those flowers recently and wondered if there was anything similar on the market today. This is really clever. I guess if you had a group y

Reply
Renae

We did a similar project at a Girl Scout event in the 70s. I was about 8 years old at the time, so I don’t remember what the product was called, but it came in little cans, about the size of a paint sample, and you dipped the wire into it. The stuff we used came out more translucent, they reminded me of stained glass. I was thinking about those flowers recently and wondered if there was anything similar on the market today. This is really clever. I guess if you used cheap polish and poured it into a small tray you might be able to dip it.

Reply
Louise

Hi Gayle do you have a tutorial for how to make the double flower petal (the little spiral in the middle of the petal) ?

Reply
Gayle Bird

Hi Louise! Nothing more to add than what’s above – make a spiral and do your best 🙂

Reply
debbie

Hi Gayle
I have just started this awesome craft. My husband gave me all sorts of wire from his garage to try, although it works, it does not look as pretty as yours, what wire do you use?
Thanks for the awesome tutorial, answered a few questions I needed to know.

Reply
Gayle Bird

Hi Debbie! I use ParaWire – it’s a non-tarnish, coated wire, that takes to this beautifully. Have fun!!

Reply
Rosalee

Gayle, where do you find Para Wire ? I can’t wait to do this project– You are a very talented lady & thanx for sharing with us the how to’s & teaching in such a wonderful way. RB aka Rosalee

Reply
Gayle Bird

I buy straight from the company online! parawire.com 🙂

And thank you!! I’m blushing!

Reply
Rox

You can buy wire for this at Walmart I use24 gauge beading wire. Like 2 bucks for 20 ft!!!!!!!
Brand name is “cousin”

Reply
Barbara Friedl

Hi, love, love, love this technique!! What gauge wire do you use? Does it matter?? Thanks for sharing!!

Reply
Alice

So beautiful, wish I had talent like that, I do some stuff but not nearly as good and beautiful as yours. I love it. I will start practicing!

Reply
Suz

I love using this technique to make flowers. Thank you for posting this! After coming across it I finally succeeded in making the flowers and a couple of other pieces. Does anyone have any tips to make the nail polish stronger? (Even after several coats of nail polish?) I’ve come across 2 techniques suggested that I’m currently trying as we speak.

Reply
Alayne King

Hi, I am wondering if anyone has tried any different polish types? For instance has anyone tried Gel polish with the primer, top coat and actually cook it under the light? Has any one tried Shellac? Is there any difference between polish from say walmart as opposed to getting a professional polish from a salon? Are any of these polishes more durable then the others? Thanks!

Reply
Tadhg

I bought tons at dollar store and they work great. Top coat with clear acrylic to make mire durable.

Reply
Rox

Gel is most durable!!!!!

Reply
Tadhg

Had an open back leave pattern brooch pin, used this idea to fill in the leaves, added some sparkle to wet nail polish and it went from pkain to fantastic…

Reply
Veronica E Raj

Hi Gayle, I love this post!
This is such a great idea and a great way to use up nail polish (I have tons from being a Julep member [that’s a great company by the way]).
I love the thumbnail shown of your “Wirework Wonders” free Craftsy pattern, but when I clicked the link I got an error and couldn’t find your tut. I was really psyched about it so please let me know if it’s still available; I’d take it in PDF through email or however I can get it.

Reply
Gayle Bird

That pattern isn’t mine – not sure what’s up with the link! Craftsy is in the middle of a website overhaul. Maybe contact them to see what’s up?

Reply
Veronica Raj

Awesome! Thank you both so much!
I love Craftsy!

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Rox

Thank you for sharing! I have been making these for about 6 years now. I enjoy making them it’s so calming for me. I love to see different ideas when it comes to this craft!. I layer mine to make fuller flowers but usually stick to one or 2 shapes for petals. I like the spiral idea and will try it in my next batch. Thank u for the inspiration!
Also try using styrofoam to stand flowers as u fill them! Makes it so easy to paint them and let them dry!
What do u use for the center of flowers? I typically use sequins or gems/crystals but looking for something new:)

Reply

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