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airbrushing nail polish


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I was getting more sanding sticks at the beauty supply and came across some had to have nail polish colors. Some years ago Betsy bought me an airbrush but I never got up the courage to use it. So- what do I thin nail polish with? Second, will the same thing clean an airbrush properly ( cleaning the airbrush was why it never got used).  Third, what primers can be used under nail polish? I usually use inexpensive rattle can flat black which seems to bring out, to my eyes, little imperfections to correct before final paint. Also, I am partial to deep jewel tones such as maroon and midnight blue and this seems to enrich these colors. Any advise appreciated, and if a topic covering this already exists, please point it out for me!

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You should be able to thin it with acrylic thinners as its just thick automotive acrylic usually which is why they use it on nails. I use duplicolour primers a or tamiya. I find tamiya thinners good most of the time but a couple have gone gummy

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No sir, nail polish is not acrylic,  it is lacquer. Thin it with lacquer thinner to the consistency of 2% milk. Your base will heavily affect the final color as nail polish is translucent.  It will take a number of coats to get your desired depth of color.  This 37 Ford was painted in a flip flop nail polish with gray primer.  Duplicolor primer should work fine. 

37_for14.jpg

Edited by Classicgas
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Be sure to use a good respirator designed for automotive paints, with new cartridges.  I quit spraying nail polish after getting headaches a day later. I was using lacquer thinner as a reducer. I have now switched to acrylics. 

Although the results can be spectacular if done right, mine were inconsistent and it just didn't seem worth it. 

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Rick is correct,  acetone will work too, but is a "faster" reducer, meaning it flashes quicker.  Bill also is right. No matter what paint you spray you should use a good respirator. 

Edited by Classicgas
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I've used hardware store lacquer thinner which is supposed to be medium dry but added a mix of xylene into it to slow it down a little bit. Xylene is somewhat effective but still not slow enough for warmer weather. What you really want is a slower drying thinner or a little retarder added to faster thinners. The Mr Leveling thinner pretty well covers the need, of which I have none lol .

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Yes, nail polishes (acrylic, Nylon, or whatever marketing name they use on the bottle) are "stinky" solvent based  lacquers.  The word "acrylic" is terribly misused by the modelling community to broadly describe water-based acrylic paints. 

As others mentioned, any of the "hot" thinners will reduce them.   I use hardware-store lacquer thinner, or PPG (automotive) Medium Temperature Reducer.

There are lots of good automotive colors available as nail polishes. I probably own close to 100 bottles.

Bottle01_zps25474a88.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

These cars all all shot with nail polish cut about 50% with lacquer thinner. Here in hawaii its harder to get nice colors, just use a good primer. Tamiya or duplicolor primer sealer works good for me 

Revlon and CVS brand nail polish seems to lay pretty good. Haven't tried OPI and Essie yet

IMG_20210611_191332_973.jpg

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20210807_094907.jpg

Edited by Hondamatic
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On 8/18/2021 at 7:25 PM, Hondamatic said:

These cars all all shot with nail polish cut about 50% with lacquer thinner. Here in hawaii its harder to get nice colors, just use a good primer. Tamiya or duplicolor primer sealer works good for me 

Revlon and CVS brand nail polish seems to lay pretty good. Haven't tried OPI and Essie yet

IMG_20210611_191332_973.jpg

 

 

 

Very useful tip.  That is one cool wagon!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I, too, have many colors of fingernail polish that I wish to use on cars. My question is how do you get the paint out of the bottle for airbrushing. All of the ones I have seem to have that sleeve inside the neck of the bottle that wipes the brush down to just having enough to paint a nail with. Of course, with that sleeve in there there's no way to pour the paint out so how do you guys get it out of the bottle??

Edited by 1st 700 Quad
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I probably have around 100 bottles (purchased few years ago) and I never encountered that sleeve. All my bottles have wide open glass neck.  The cap has a gasket and brush in it, so I can freely pour the polish out of the bottle.  Can't you pry the sleeve out of the neck, so you can pour the paint out?

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All mine have open necks as well. Not very wide necks but open with no sleeve. I only have about three- four brands though and there are many brands out there. My newest bottle is maybe two years old.

And I lost my LA colors green I wanted to use or experiment with anyway for Ford flat heads.

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On 8/2/2021 at 3:46 AM, peteski said:

Yes, nail polishes (acrylic, Nylon, or whatever marketing name they use on the bottle) are "stinky" solvent based  lacquers.  The word "acrylic" is terribly misused by the modelling community to broadly describe water-based acrylic paints. 

As others mentioned, any of the "hot" thinners will reduce them.   I use hardware-store lacquer thinner, or PPG (automotive) Medium Temperature Reducer.

There are lots of good automotive colors available as nail polishes. I probably own close to 100 bottles.

Bottle01_zps25474a88.jpg

I think that inspection sticker is expired.

 

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I have had good luck with nail polish, but also had one model which faded a bit. The blue colour turned purple over time on the light facing side. I also used nail polish clear on that particular model so probably didn't have the UV resistance like other models covered with 2k clear. Never left in the sun (always in covered).

IMG_6867.JPG

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3 hours ago, Michael jones said:

I have had good luck with nail polish, but also had one model which faded a bit. The blue colour turned purple over time on the light facing side. I also used nail polish clear on that particular model so probably didn't have the UV resistance like other models covered with 2k clear. Never left in the sun (always in covered).

IMG_6867.JPG

If it's any consolation many an old car faded to hues of purple as well. Nice Ford !

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14 hours ago, Rick L said:

I think that inspection sticker is expired.

 

True, but it wasn't when the model was finished, and few years ago the inspection stopped inspecting model cars .  ;)

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8 hours ago, Michael jones said:

I have had good luck with nail polish, but also had one model which faded a bit. The blue colour turned purple over time on the light facing side. I also used nail polish clear on that particular model so probably didn't have the UV resistance like other models covered with 2k clear. Never left in the sun (always in covered).

IMG_6867.JPG

Good looking 40 Ford coupe.  Paint still looks good.

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