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Paint with nail polish?

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  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Zephyrhills,FL
Paint with nail polish?
Posted by daddy1 on Saturday, May 01, 2010 7:15 PM

 I am currently involved with an air racer GB  and am building a very exotic , highly modified F-82 Twin Mustang air racer named Tantrum.

 I've been aware of using nail polish as paint on model cars,and although I have learned how to use auto touch up paints on models, I've never used nail polish before.

 I would love to explore the wild colors of nail polish with this air racer. Any tips from anyone using the nail polish would be greatly appreciated. What type of thinner to use, etc...? I will be using my Aztec airbrush to apply the "paint" 

Thank You,



  • Member since
    June, 2006
  • From: Westerville, Ohio
Posted by Air Master Modeler on Saturday, May 01, 2010 7:40 PM

I would certainly advise against using nail polish on a plastic model simply because they are not formulated for use on styrene plastic or any type of plastic. I suggest an enamel model paint color line made by Testors called Boyd after the hot rod auto maker. This paint line comes in many exotic colors and can be airbrushed with simple testors airbrush thinner. Its sold in a 1/2 oz. jar and in 3oz. small spray paint cans.

Here is a link to their color line at testors website.




30 years experience building plastic models.

WIP: Revell F-14B Tomcat, backdating to F-14A VF-32 1989 Gulf Of Sidra MiG-23 Killer "Gypsy 207".

  • Member since
    June, 2006
  • From: Asheville,NC
Posted by georgebluhm on Saturday, May 01, 2010 8:29 PM

There are a lot of people that use nail polish on their cars. I do not as I use rattle cans.I am under the idea that if you use a compatible primer and thinner you would be ok.

There are probably better modelers to chime in on this.

Good luck and post your finished racer!!

  • Member since
    March, 2003
Posted by rangerj on Sunday, May 02, 2010 2:08 PM

Be sure to protect the plastic with a barrier of some sort, like a laquer based primer. The Nail polish will etch the plastic, or worse.  Use the same brand of thinner as the nail polish and it will spray nicely. Use light coats and make surre there is NO exposed plastic befor you begin. I used nail polish to spray a pink 59 Caddy and it worked beautifully. The lady behind the counter at the drug store looked at me in a strange way when I bought the pink nail polish. 

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Zephyrhills,FL
Posted by daddy1 on Sunday, May 02, 2010 10:07 PM

Tkanks for the input guys. Pretty much confrmed what I thought would work.

 I'm posting a few pics of my project ,so you can see why I want this right,

 A modeler for 40plus years , I"ve gotten back to mainly WWII warbirds past few years , but have lots of time with scale street rods, customs  and circle track racers over the years.

 I've used bottles of auto touch up paint many times, using auto sanding primer as a base sealer. Works great sealing off red or yellow plastic  before paint.

Currently closing up the bottom with the oil cooler/radiator  inlets and exhaust. ALready a couple coats of sanding primer.

 My final caots of prime will be the filler sanding primer to take care of small scatches. ( I want this beast smooth, it's a 500 MPH racer).

Found some great hot rod colors at Walgreens. Sinful Colors?,is the name . Very wild colors to fit the name Tantrum.

Lady looked at me crazy when I explained what I was looking for. May take a look into nail decals too.

Thanks again,


BTW A couple pics of auto touch paint I've used over the years.


  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, May 02, 2010 10:30 PM

Aw, c'mon---this isn't your first time using nail polish is it??? Wink

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Wingman_kz on Sunday, May 02, 2010 11:56 PM

Yep, just mix it up as you would the touch up paints. I usually dump the nail polish in a 1oz bottle and refill the NP bottle with thinner to get the last drop or two and add that then adjust the mix adding a little thinner at a time. Some NPs are more translucent that others. A white or complimentary base color helps. When you get the mix right it sprays very well and clear nail polish is about the clearest clear I've found. I have some bottles of clear that are probably 7 years old and are still perfectly clear.




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