I use nail polish in several of my crafting endeavors. Example would be its use in converting my ties to clip-on or even to stop ribbons from fraying.

Recently I was making construction paper jewels for my kids and testing finishes. I pullout my clear nail polish that I use and it was tacky. It didn't make for a great finish and was hard to apply. I cleaned the brush with acetone to remove the gum from there but it didn't help.

Is there something I could add to the polish to thin it out or something I could do to give it more life? Yes, I could just buy some more but I am not a fan of waste.

  • I realize the validity of this question is subject but I think it is on topic. Also I have no idea how to tag this yet and nail-polish seems horrible. finishing is too vague.
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


Some people use acetone to thin down their nail polish to its original consistency, but this is not recommended since it will cause it to dry out more quickly after application and can cause cracking in the finished result.

There are a number of products available on the market; they are intended for extending the life of normal nail polish but I'm not aware of any reason they wouldn't work for clear nail polish also.

You need to search for 'nail polish thinner'

Also, be aware that shaking the bottle or pumping the brush in and out will cause it to thicken more quickly. Ideally you should roll it between your palms before use instead.

  • It might be worth adding in what the active chemical(s) in those products is. Looking at the couple on Amazon there product descriptions are vague.
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 14:39
  • Thanks for this information. I have acetone and thought about it but it looks like that would be a bad idea. Never though about prepping it either so thanks.
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 14:40
  • I've looked into this in the past and wasn't able to find out much about the active ingredients. I suspect they are generally guarded as trade secrets to stop people making their own cheaper substitutes. Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 14:42
  • Nail polish thinners are typically a mixture of ethyl and butyl acetate, sometimes with a little of another solvent like toluene or heptane. You only need to add a couple of drops, so a small bottle goes a long way.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 1:57

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