Consider Using Nail Polish to Add Color to Your Punched Tin Butterflies

Punched Tin Butterflies - color accents nail polish

I didn't know it at the end of May, but there were more punched tin butterflies to be made!

A message appeared from Italy suggesting I might want to try nail polish to add color to my butterfly wings. I would have never in a million years have considered using nail polish, so the lovely success of these little butterflies is all due to Silvia - known in the blogisphere as Madame Renard.

She sent this link as an example if you would like to refer to it.

Punched tin butterfly - nail polish experiments

Having previously had disappointing color coverage using Sharpie pens, I immediately dropped by my neighborhood drug store with the intention to purchase one bottle for testing. I walked out with five!

And I had no intention of paying more than a couple dollars per bottle - and then I found "Color Foil" by Sally Hansen. HAD to try it. And boy am I glad I did!

The first step was to determine how well the nail polish played with metal. I am happy to report that not only do they play well together, but also , when dry, the polish seems to be staying put.

When "pooled" onto the surface of the tin (as opposed to brushed) the polish covers beautifully - and most importantly - does not run!

Punched tin butterflies ready for color tests

Next step - create a few butterflies! (If you missed the "how to post" in May, here is the link.

Punched tin butterfly - nail polish test

And Â… ready for color!

A couple things I learned!

1. Use a full brush; and rather than brush the color onto the surface, let the color pool onto the surface gently guiding it into the shape desired. A little practice wouldn't hurt. Mine were done without practice and as you can see - even without practice the results are acceptable.

2. If you really mess up, you can wipe away the color as long as wiping is immediate. But seriously, I personally found that allowing a little imperfection here and there is better than trying for absolute perfection.

Foil nail polish detail

I loved playing with Color Foil polish. What I learned was this: swiping it on leaves a pool of foil surrounded by color. But gently and carefully dabble and swirl the brush in the color pool just a bit and the most wonderful designs appear! Very butterfly wing like designs in fact!

I also loved the results using a glittery product called "Sinful Colors". It dries into a beautifully sparkly pool of deep color.

Having tried glitter glue in the past with disappointing results, I was thrilled to finally be able to add color sparkle that stayed put once dried!  (In the past, those lovely sparkly dots have popped off!)

Punched Tin Butterfly - color accents nail polish

Glue on a bead (using Aleene's Fast Grab Super Tacky Glue) and add a bit of wire per these instructions, and butterflies are done!

Punched tin Butterflies - color accent nail polish

I am not happy with the white bead body - may paint a stripe down the back - with nail polish! Maybe a sparkly stripe!

Faux Punched tin Butterflu

For those of you who want to share butterfly making with young children, metallic cover or card weight paper is a great look-alike stand-in.

Faux punched tin butterfly using metallic paper

Follow the instructions for punching described in this tutorial, fill in the design on the wings with polish and finally glue on a bead using the instructions in the link above for punched tin butterflies.

Don't want to punch holes! A gel pen works beautifully to outline the wing edges. And a lead pencil is great for marking the design. I made my design lines a little darker here so they would be visible.

I hope some of you will play around with nail polish on punched tin and send me your results! If nothing else, it is lots of fun!!! And I think you too will love the satin-y opaque color spots nail polish delivers. (Or in the perfect words Dawn (blogging as "Girl Unwinding") shared in her comment below , "the rich lacquer-like color" nail polish delivers! 

And Silvia, Grazie mille!

I love using nail polish on

I love using nail polish on all kinds of projects. It's enamel paint that will stick to about anything in all kinds of colors! Since I've switched to polishes with less chemicals for my nails I have a whole bin of old polishes to use on art projects. :)

Well Diana, I gave up nail

Well Diana, I gave up nail polish years ago and tossed out all my old bottles.  That was when there were only pink and red shades available.  Now the crafty possibilities are huge!

Pam, they are beautiful, but

Pam, they are beautiful, but each time I try a craft that calls for nail paint, I just hate the smell so much, I cannot make myself continue! Doesn't the smell bother you?? I have been working with tin lately and will give it another try as your butterflies are just adorable!
Thanks for sharing,

Lisa!  I thought of you often

Lisa!  I thought of you often while I was working on them!  Know you will love the results, but - yes - the smell was pretty strong.  I am not fond of it either and it did permeate the entire studio until the color dots dried. Working in a well ventilated area would help.

Very cool effect! Nail polish

Very cool effect! Nail polish is a lot easier to find here than the markers that work with metal.

Yes Avital, nail polish is

Yes Avital, nail polish is pretty universal.  And, these days, it seems to be available in every color of the rainbow!



Thank you Liz!  I appreciate

Thank you Liz!  I appreciate Silvia's suggesting theidea so much.

So pretty, Pam! While they

So pretty, Pam! While they all turned out beautiful, I really like the Sally Hansen Foil effect - what a perfect find for this project! Thanks for sharing your beautiful butterflies and wonderful photography with us!

Arielle!  I know right? And

Arielle!  I know right? And to think I almost didn't buy that bottle!!  I'd pick it up, put it down, pick it up, put it down!!  The practical side of me, already standing there with a fist full of bottles, had a tough time spending $6.00 for a tiny bottle of color that might not even work.  But Muse in all her wisdom prevailed!!!

What a simply great idea for

What a simply great idea for spots of rich lacquer-like color!

Yes!  Dawn!  "Rich

Yes!  Dawn!  "Rich lacquer-like color"!  Exactly the right words.  

pretty, pretty!

pretty, pretty!

Oh!  Thank you Maryline!!

Oh!  Thank you Maryline!!  :-)

ooooh!!!! *____* Love the

ooooh!!!! *____*
Love the colors you've picked up!!!
they are perfect on the silver surface of the wings. Well done!
I also like that the colors are a bit translucent and with the effect of mother-of-pearl. It gives to your butterflies more life.
I'm happy you appreciated my idea. Bye!

Silvia!  I am happy you

Silvia!  I am happy you shared your idea in the first place!  I definitely see more butterflies wearing nail polish in my future!!!