[Archive] Painting with finger nail polish?

Glimpse the Void:

So, It’s exactly what it sounds like. My wife and a friend of hers picked up a color polished that is EXACTLY what I was looking for to paint my chaos lord.

The problem is, it’s incredibly thick and when you mix it with acetone to thin it down, it works like a dream, but you have about 45 seconds before it turns to goup and ruins a brush.

Anybody got any tips?


Hide before your wife notices! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

In all honesty it might be easier to try and colour match acrylic to it now you’ve found the right colour.

Or take it to a DIY store that makes up paint and hope they do acrylic?

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Nail polish is a Laquer based paint. Try thining it with Laquer Thinner. Also, be careful with it on plastics. Laquer has the same properties as Liquid Cement. Actually, consider it as “Coloured Model Cement” - always test the plastic in question by painting it on a piece of sprue or in a place that doesn’t really matter. Check the reaction to determine the result and see if you can work with that result.

Blue in VT:

My recommendation is to use it for nails! I agree with nitro…now that you have the color chosen try to match it with an acrylic paint…Vallejo has a huge range if you have access to them. If not get something close and do some mixing.

Best of luck.



I’d look at enamels like Testors.

They carry some of the same candy color metallics that you would get with nail polish & they are certainly easier to work with.

Tamiya also has some acrylic colors that might fit the bill. Just keep in mind that Tamiya acrylic is an isopropanol/glycol ether base, so you dont thin with water like Citadel.


I wouldn’t paint with nail polish. I would try and find a close match in some sort of model paint. Ummm…out of curosity what colour is it. We may be able to help you with an alternative.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

You CAN paint with nail polish. Like I said, just test it on scrap plastic first. You will have no problem painting it on metal.


Sure, you can paint with nail polish. You can paint with blood and crap too, but why would you want to? Paint is made for painting - smooth consistency, strong colour fastness, mixing, non-toxic (mostly) etc, whereas nail polish is for a completely different purpose, its not meant to last, made to be flexible, etc.

In my opinion, its easier and better just to match the colour in current ranges. If is a bright red you need, there are techniques for punching up the brightness so it pops on your model.

Glimpse the Void:

Thanks for all the fast input, I’ll try and post a picture tonight.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

@ Grndl - I’ve been a pro painter for years now. Painted with every medium from Nail Polish to Laquer to Acrylic to Enamel. Painting for damn near 28 of my 36 years on planet earth. I also was trained as an Autobody Collision Repair Technician AND Automotive painter. I have extensivly tested all of these products. You can take my advice or you can leave it, but please don’t insult me and my knowledge.


Tararakk, I guess if you want to take offense at my comment, go ahead, but it wasn’t intended as one, nor was it directed at you.

Bottom line is that if you want good results, use the right tools. I don’t see what qualities nail polish would ever have over paint formulated for miniature painting when it comes to painting miniatures.

And if we’re going to do compare experience: I’m a trained artist myself, 19 years professional experience, both freelance and salaried and been model building for 28. I’ve used pretty much every medium available, including blood (wouldn’t recommend it, doesn’t hold colour well) and coffee. I’ve done my share of crazy art substitutions, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I’m not sure what citing experience is intended to prove, but there you go. Take it or leave it.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Ok GRNDL, Just thought you were directing it at me. Truce?

Anyway, on Nail Polish - I know people in the model car world who use it on polystyrene plastic, which is simular to GW plastic. It’s just another form of Laquer paint.

Glimpse the Void:

I can’t find my stuff right now, so I’ll try and come back with some pictures tomorrow night.

I found that after thinning out the polish, it worked like a dream. Covers well, nice and smooth, and as I said, the color is perfect. On another note, I just started looking at chaos dwarves this week, and I really like this community.

Glimpse the Void:

Now before you guys are ready to boot my out for painting a pink chaos lord, I must mention that it is for a charity event that will raise money for breast cancer.

Thanks for being patient with my guys.  I want to get an extreme highlight color that will be crazy bright, and have a sort of metallic shimmer.  I want something that pops like this pink, which is exactly what I have in mind.

The picture is not the best, but you can see how I used the color to highlight the plate on his knee and his right foot.  I feel like it worked well, but like said, I could only paint in 30-45 second bursts.

This link is to a picture that is truer to the color.



There is nothing wrong with painting pink minis. I am sure you could replicate that colour.

suggestion 1:

Squid pink Acrylic paint - Vallejo Game Color (# 72013)

mixed with some

Vallejo metallic medium


suggestion 2:

Shocking Pink by Coat d’arms 144

mixed with some

Metallic medium

Is this the sort of thing that you are trying to achieve.

Note 1: this is not my work, I am just “borrowing” the image for this thread.

Note 2: Type in “pink” over at Cool Mini or Not, and you will get a lot of images, and hopefully some hints as to painting with pink.

Glimpse the Void:

You could be be on to something with the metallic medium. I am looking for a very intense, and shiny color for some extreme line high lights on the armor plating.

I think I’m going to try thinning down the entire bottle with acetone, perhaps it will keep it’s consistency and be easy to work with if I don’t pull it out. If this fails, it will be nice to have something else I can try.


I am looking for a very intense, and shiny color for some extreme line high lights on the armor plating.

Glimpse the Void
I thought that is where you were going, that is why I posted the above image. The highlights are more white, but they are extreme.

Keep us updated with your progress. I am keen see how you go, and what you come up with.

Glimpse the Void:

Thanks for the advise and encouragement.  It goes along way, especially when these things don’t go the way they should.


Its no worse than how oldies started painting with enamels. The basic principles are the same but I like your commitment.


Its no worse than how oldies started painting with enamels.

Who you calling the "oldies"....you little whipper snapper. ..... now where is that walking stick.