Story Time: DIY Neon Rhinestone Necklace Using Nail Polish! Monday 27 August, 2012
I’m a huge collector of vintage jewelry, particularly the rhinestone-dripping kind. One particularly bad bout of insomnia led to me buying nine vintage rhinestone necklaces and bracelets on Etsy. Oy! I justify the purchases by telling myself (repeatedly) that I will use the pieces for a photo shoot (I have). Justification, qualified! And when you’re […]
I’m a huge collector of vintage jewelry, particularly the rhinestone-dripping kind. One particularly bad bout of insomnia led to me buying nine vintage rhinestone necklaces and bracelets on Etsy. Oy! I justify the purchases by telling myself (repeatedly) that I will use the pieces for a photo shoot (I have). Justification, qualified! And when you’re seeking vintage, it’s typically not too huge a price to excuse; most pieces I settle on don’t top $25. But I’m a sucker for big, grand, collarbone-sweeping statement necklaces, and $25 doesn’t quite get you that. If I had my druthers, I’d be scooping up pieces by the designer who tickles my fancy, who’s pieces go for around $1,000+. The man I speak of, Tom Binns, is like a rhinestone god. I’m forever in awe of his Madame Dumont baubles that rain sparkle all over you and his Dot Dash collection, which flashes neons next to clear rhinestones. So, naturally, because I can’t fork out a good portion of my paycheck for the Tiered Baguette Multi-Coloured Necklace any time soon, I started hunting around for a DIY route to make my own neon rhinestone necklace.
(My two vintage rhinestone necklaces, pre-neon-paint-age)
At first, I found DIY bloggers touting regular neon acrylic paint as the modus operandi, which caused me to put off doing this project for months. (Yes, I’m that lazy, because there’s no craft store near me and I couldn’t motivate to hunt one down.) But then, I saw Alyssa over at TheSparklyLife.com use neon nail polish, and I knew I had no more reasons to put off my electric venture because, yes, I have tons of nail polish at the ready to paint every last rhinestone on this earth.
(My tools: Neon polishes Color Club The Lime Starts Here; Orly Glowstick, Skinny Dip and Melt Your Popsicle; and China Glaze Beach Cruise-r)
(My art shot: Before the venture begins, I do a fun photo shoot. Pretty, no?)
I set to work by selecting two petite vintage rhinestone necklaces (both bought on Etsy during that sleepless night eons ago) that I thought I could piece together easily. A note about the rhinestone necklaces: I find that you want to use something that looks worn and vintage—i.e. the setting should be darker and even the stones should not be too bright. This helps the neon pop even more. So even though you don’t necessarily have to buy a vintage piece, you want it to look the part.
Then I chose my five nail polishes: China Glaze Beach Cruise-R, Orly Melt Your Popsicle, Orly Glowstick (a personal fave!), Color Club The Lime Starts Here and Orly Skinny Dip. I kept a box of Fran Wilson Nail Tees cotton swabs handy; the pointed tip is perfect for cleaning between rhinestones if you mess up.
(Slow and steady wins the race when painting your stones. And balancing an iPhone with the other hand to take this picture is not helping the “steady” part of that equation.)
I started slow and steady with my pink polish, though I’ve read on some blogs that you can do a coat of white paint (or polish) first to make your color pop. I just went right in with the color, using a light hand so that my application didn’t get too thick and runneth over. With each successive polish, it got easier and easier.
I applied two layers of pink and orange, which seemed to show the brightest, and three coats of yellow, green and blue, which tended to be a little more transparent. You can certainly keep your application to one layer; this allows the rhinestone to show through more, giving more of a stain-glass effect. But I prefer the punch of opaque color.
(Tah-dah! High-wattage neon rhinestones!)
When I completed my design, I allowed it to dry and then proceeded to curse many expletives as I affixed the two necklaces together with some jump rings. (Those jump rings can be shifty.) When I tried on the finished project, I found that my neck is a little too thick for these vintage necklaces; I need a chain extension. Can you believe it? But I still love the way it came out, and after I elongate the crap out of it (going to do this soon), I’m definitely going to be wearing it to Fashion Week.
What do you think of my DIY neon “nail polish” rhinestone necklace?