D.I.Y. Idea & Tutorial: Nail Polish & Glitter Bobby Pins

Sorry about missing Wednesday & Friday last week! I had a post queued up for Wednesday (another Out-of-Print Wonder), but realized too late that the photos weren't good enough. 

I did do blog spruce-ups, however: I moved the search field to the navigation bar, and made a major change to the blog's category system. Now the blog has 10 main categories, which I created buttons for in the sidebar (examples below):

Category buttons

I'll write more about making these, the new category system, & other key blog changes soon. For now, here's a goofy D.I.Y. project I hope will serve as creative fodder.


Neon bobby clip inspiration

Above image from a cool neon wedding concept shoot by Brooklyn Bride (styled by Merci New York, and photographed by 1. art beauty life). 

When I saw the bobby pins above, my mind immediately went to Discount Creative's faux enamel jewelry tutorial and my new yellow nail polish. I felt very clever for five seconds, then I read the accompanying text and saw the words: "Adding pops of neon doesn’t have to be expensive!  Sometimes all it takes is a spray can, fabric dye, paint or even nail polish." Oh, well.

The bobby pins are credited as J.Crew, though they don't appear to be for sale anymore. You can, however, get 50 neon bobby pins from Rue 21 for $3.99. 

I decided to try the nail polish bobby pin hack anyway, and while I was at it, make glitter bobby pins with Mod Podge.

What I used:

Neon glitter bobby pin materials

From left: Crafter's Choice foam brush, Mod Podge Matte Finish, Martha Stewart glitter in White Gold, Wet N Wild Megalast in Tropicalia, China Glaze Lemon Fizz, Sally Hansen Double Duty Strengthening Base & Top Coat; not shown: bobby pins, disposable plate or cup, aluminum foil.

I had all of these items already, and I'm betting most of you at least have bobby pins and half-finished bottles of nail polish. For those interested in pricing/sourcing info for the rest: the Mod Podge was $4 at Hobby Lobby (during the Labor Day Weekend sale), the glitter was $6 at Michael's (with a 40% off coupon), and the foam brush (as part of an assorted 15-piece pack) was $4 at Michael's. Also, Michael's has weekly printable coupons on their site, usually offering 40 to 50% off one item. 


Nail polish glitter mod podge bobby pins (2)

For the nail polish pins: Slide bobby pins onto a card or piece of aluminum foil to keep the two sides from sticking together. Paint two or three coats of polish on each side, then finish with a clear top coat. I recommend painting one side, then waiting at least 12 hours for it to dry completely before flipping the pin & foil over and painting the other side.

For the glitter pins: Combine glitter and Mod Podge in a disposable plate or cup. You're only doing 2 to 3 coats, so you want a high proportion of glitter to glue. Slide bobby pins onto small strip of aluminum foil to protect the non-glittered side/keep the two sides from sticking. Paint on 2 to 3 coats of the glitter/Mod Podge mix with the foam brush, allowing each coat to dry between applications (about 10 minutes each coat). Since I didn't have clear acrylic sealer, I finished off each barrette with one application of the Sally Hansen base/top coat. The result is remarkably smooth, without any glue tackiness or (to my amazement) any flaking.

Taking It Further: 

  Nail polish hair accessories next steps

From top left: Conair wide headbands, 3-pack; Goody No Metal barrettes; jagged manicure by Forever the Ugly Duckling; striped nails by Let Them Have Polish!; China Glaze Neon in Lime Light; DCNL black auto clasp barrettes.

I loved the ease and results of both bobby pin upcycling methods, and think both methods lend themselves to bigger D.I.Y. projects. The Mod Podge/glitter method came from two glitter shoe tutorials; I'm already thinking about using it on larger hair accessories, eyeglasses, even notebooks. The nail polish upcycling method would work well on non-flexible barrette surfaces, and also for accents/detail work on larger accessories like bracelets and headbands. What's more, there is copious nail art inspiration online, featuring some truly amazing designs. Start with Chloe's Nails, SuPa Nails, or the two blogs credited above for more ideas.


  1. m says

    i’m amazed by how good the striped nails look, i’d make a mess.
    speaking of hairpins, i scandalized myself by paying 12 dollars for these floral hairpins, and to further offend myself, the floral-y things fell off c. immediatedly. if i had any diy skills i would diy but since i want them to look good i am hoping to find some alternatives on etsy.

  2. says

    I know, right? The trick is Scotch tape. Destick the tape on your hands a few times, apply the tape to the nail, paint your line, then carefully remove the tape before the polish dries. I used that method for a recent French mani and it worked really well (even if my lines weren’t always as clean the ones above).
    Sorry to hear about the hairpins! I hope you superglued those suckers back together. I like this kind of glue, if it helps.

  3. m says

    ps. i read all my darling daughters. it was interesting, i liked the arranged marraige story, it was hard telling the people apart tho (the faces looked really similar to me)
    did you pick a winner of your contest

  4. says

    I’m glad All My Darling Daughters worked out! I haven’t read it, but I’ve read other Fumi Yoshinaga works, and yeah, she kinda draws the same face over and over. I like her art, don’t get me wrong, but it’s her writing that stands out to me.
    The contest still has another week before it closes (12 AM on Sept. 28th), so no winner yet. Only six entries so far, though, so the odds aren’t bad =).

  5. Teresa He says

    This is so easy! I was originally thinking of doing this, but I didn’t think it would last at all. The trick to paint several layers. Thanks for this. :) I’ll try it out when I finally get my hands on neon nail polish.

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