Frankenpolish 101: A Crash Course In The Art Of “Frankening”

First, I’d like thank everyone who has stopped by to check out my blog! And an ever bigger thanks to all the lovely ladies that have linked to me.  There’s a list under my links section to many other wonderful nail blogs that are definitely worth checking out!

Today, I bring you “Frankenpolish 101”.  Before I break down the simple steps of the frankening process, I’d like to point out a few things.

Creating your own polish can be fun and addicting, but it can also be  frustrating (not to mention, messy).  Don’t get discouraged if your first polish doesn’t turn out well. Frankening is all about experimenting!  I’ve created my fair share of hideous, blindingly ugly polishes that would make anyone shudder in disgust.  It’s a learning process, and even the most experienced frankeners have the occasional failure!  So let’s start with the basics you need to know…

Franken Supplies

A frankeners’ best friend is BALLZ! Yes, you read that correctly. Ballz help your polish creation mix together, and also save you from endless hours of shaking the bottle until you’re dizzy!  Ballz are often called ball bearings, or BB’s. There are many places you can buy ballz, most commonly they are found in the sporting goods/hunting section at stores like Wal-Mart.  I use Daisy Brand (purchased at Wal-Mart) zinc plated steel BB’s, 4.5 mm size. They do come in smaller size containers, and only cost a few dollars.


Another inexpensive frankening tool worth purchasing is a small art plate.  You can mix together a tiny amount of your combination in the plate to see how it will look.  It’s an excellent way to play around with different color combinations and saves you the aggravation of mixing together an entire bottle only to discover it isn’t what you wanted.  Paper plates can also be used for this, but I prefer the paint tray because it is reusable and less wasteful.  Again, you can find these at chain stores like Wal-Mart or craft stores for around $1.00 or less.  It is easily cleaned off using polish remover/acetone and a cotton ball, or my personal favorite, plain old felt!


You’ll also need something to mix your “test polish” with.  Toothpicks are a good choice, as well as cuticle sticks. Cuticle sticks, or sometimes called orange sticks, come in both wooden and plastic varieties.  They are also very cheap to purchase and can be found at beauty supply stores or drugstores.  I like using the wooden cuticle sticks because they are bigger than toothpicks, which make mixing easier, and I can clean them with acetone and get several uses out of one.


Once you have a color that pleases you, you’ll need a bottle to put it in!  Empty polish bottles come in a variety of sizes, and can be bought at beauty suppliers.  You can also clean out old polish bottles with acetone to re-use in your frankening adventures.  Empty treatment bottles (such as Nailtek) are also wonderful to use once cleaned.  The larger sized bottles will use up more of your supplies, so you may want to start off using smaller bottles.  Dollar Stores are a great source for buying polishes to franken with.  Those unappealing sheers take on a new life once a darker color is added!  Cheaper brands such as NYC, Wet N Wild, and others found in drugstores are awesome for making frankens, and cost very little.  On a side note, I like bottles that have peel off labels.  It helps distinguish between my “real” polishes and the frankens. 🙂



Mixing together different polish colors is a great way to exercise your creativity!  You can also use cosmetic pigments (such as eyeshadow pigments) and glitter to jazz up your frankenpolish.  If you’re using glitter, cosmetic grade glitter works very well.  I would avoid using craft glitter, unless it’s fine grade, because it tends to be too big and doesn’t mix well.  Glitter and pigments are best mixed with a clear or sheer polish.  If you are going for a darker color, like black, make sure you add a good amount of clear to it first.  This will help your glitter stand out better in the polish, and also avoid settling to the bottom of the bottle.  Using glitter and pigments can be tricky, since some brands or types just refuse to play nice with any type of polish.  Again, experiment with several kinds and see what works for you!



A quick little trick that will make adding pigments and glitter much easier (and less messy) is to make a small funnel out of paper.  Simple roll up a small square of paper (approx. 3 x 3 inches works well) into a funnel shape and tape together.  Make sure the hole at the end is slightly smaller than the opening to the polish bottle, but not too tiny. Voila!


Alright! You’re ready to franken!  Here is a step by step example to help you get started:

*For this example, I am using Wet N Wild Sapphire polish, frankened with Fantasy Makers silver cosmetic glitter*

Step 1

Place a couple drops of polish into your art tray.


Step 2

Shake in a bit of glitter.  Remember, start small! You can always add more in as you go along.


Step 3

Use an orange stick or toothpick to mix the glitter and polish together.

Step 4

Swatch the mixed polish on a piece of plain paper. If you are satisfied with the appearance of your franken mixture, go to the next step, otherwise repeat steps 2 and 3 until you get the desired effect.


Step 5

Taking your base color bottle (WnW Sapphire in this example), set aside the cap/brush and place your funnel into the top of the bottle.

Step 6

Slowly add glitter or pigment into the bottle. Same rule applies here…add a little at a time!


Step 7

Add your ballz! Two or three should be sufficient.


Step 8

Shake, shake, shake! Swatch the polish on paper, the same way you did with the test batch.  Add more glitter if needed and shake some more.



Step 9

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of your very own frankenpolish! Be proud of yourself, and enjoy your new pretty! 😀


Hopefully this tutorial was helpful!  Please feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions, or requests!

60 Responses to “Frankenpolish 101: A Crash Course In The Art Of “Frankening””

  1. Love your Blog – such a creative way to express our individuality! Looking forward to more. Thanks!

  2. itzzzkimmm Says:

    wow!! so cool!!

  3. I love that blue bling! Awesome.

  4. Gabrielle Says:

    OMG! The art tray makes SO much sense! I may have to retry this!

  5. Great blog, I found you from Polish Pixie. Looking forward to more posts!

  6. This is shaping up to be an amazing blog Amanda, I’m so glad you started it =D

  7. Wow, thank you so much for this tutorial! I have always wanted to franken some polishes but w/o a good tutorial I was scared I’d just make a huge mess. This is such a great blog! 🙂

  8. Amanda…you are the queen of the Frankenpolish! I love your creations 🙂

  9. Yay! I love the blog! Long live the Queen of Frankening! ❤

  10. Oh, it turned out fabulous!

  11. Yay! I’m so glad that you have a guide!
    Yay that I can get ballz from Wal-mart!
    I have the art palette already for my mineral makeup mixtures.

    Your guide is awesome!
    Thank you so much for sharing it!

  12. – cooooolest domain name)))

  13. finally thank goodness! i used to get all flustered about ‘frankening’ thinking it would be a mess and i wouldn’t know what to do but you made it look so easy, but i’d still pay you for some of your creations!

  14. How does one get polish from one bottle into another bottle? You use a dropper? From where?

  15. ditto to the comment above me, how do you get the polish from one bottle to the next? i’m trying to de-bottle a few of mine and having a hard go of it. 🙂 any help would be appreciated dr.

  16. I have the same question….
    If i want to mix 2 nailpolishes, how do i get one into the other…


  17. youcouldbelievethis Says:

    How do you revive oil nail polish? I used to use banana oil, but I heard it wasn’t the best option.

  18. youcouldbelievethis Says:

    oil nail polish…Ha, I meant old nail polish

  19. So… silly question… where did you order your bottles from? I’m totally feelin the smaller bottles… they look like they’re the same size as the Petite’s polishes at walmart… is that right? I was thinking those might be the way to go for me… since I’m new at this and all… Thanks so much!!!

  20. fauxfun Says:

    Where do you order your 0.25 oz bottles from? I’m having a hard time finding them online (without the 5,000 unit minimum). I have a ton of pigments, old shadows, polishes I feel are “ehh”… I just need the bottles! 🙂

    Thanks, in advance… and keep up the awesome blog! I really enjoy your creativity and willingness to share your recipes!

  21. Thank you everyone who entered so far! I’m so glad the contest is going over well. There’s still time to enter…the contest is open until Friday! 🙂

    As for the 0.25 oz size bottles…I bought a set of 3 polishes from my dollar store that came in them. The colors were clear, white and pink, so I dumped them into other containers to use for frankening, and cleaned out the empty bottle with acetone to reuse.

  22. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for some time, and I think I’ve been bitten by the frankening bug too! I ‘ve tried some mixes but I need to purchase some materials, specially ballz and empty flacons, do you know by chance any eBay seller where I can buy them? Thanx

  23. I am very interested in removing one polish from a bottle and putting into a small bottle for my clients to take with them when I do a manicure or acyrlic. I didn’t see however, were you actually explained how to do this process of taking one polish and putting into another.

  24. You just slowly pour it in. Just do it carefully and you can do it without a funnel or anything. I’m the clumsiest klutz in the world so if I can do it, anyone can. (I do it over the sink though just in case.)

  25. This is incredibly helpful! I’m going to make my very first franken tomorrow.
    A teal holo. (I hope, lol)

  26. I’m interested in locating the bottles you have in your pic. Where can I find those?

    Thanks for the tutorial – excellent job!!!

  27. […] check out my post Customization: Frankenpolish & The Art of Layering or head on over to Dr. Frankenpolish for her detailed […]

  28. I just did my first frankenpolish!!! It was messy fun and the color isn’t bad at all. A purple mauve with gold & silver flecks.

  29. I never thought to mix nailpolish and other stuff…how neat! I can’t wait to start mixing!

  30. I’ve been searching for this precise info on this subject for a while.

  31. […] Ik had nog een leeg potje SV en besloot eens om een nagellak te ‘frankenen‘. […]

  32. Is the Zinc cooating onthe ball bearings to stop them rusting.Im no good at science.Would plain steel ball bearings rust in nail varnish.btw love your blog 🙂

  33. Really it is rather useful post and i also want to read these techniques plus I will be giving it a go and thanks for sharing such method of techniques please maintain it sharing.

  34. This is great! I was going to make a tutorial on my blog for my crafty readers (which is not a nail blog), but yours is perfect! May I add a link to your blog on my post about frankening?

  35. Great tutorial!!! I am quite new to experimenting with nail polish and try to share my experiments on my blog;

    I just made a post about your great tips and blog, and hope that you will return with more fun frankenpolishes =) Keep up the amazing work!!!

  36. thank you so much for this great tutorial!!! 😀

  37. *gasp* I was so worried that the zinc plated balls would oxidize/rust in the polish and mess everything up. Thanks for posting that those are the balls that you use. I will def be going to walmart SOON! 🙂

  38. I got the zinc bb pellets (from Walmart) and they DID oxidize.

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  41. There’s just one thing…
    You should never ever shake a nailpolish, even when you mix your own you should roll it between your hands to prevent air bubbles that cab form when you shake it.
    Otherwise I love your blog!! =)

  42. gummybear999 Says:

    Love that colour
    Soo cool
    Awesome and lastly love ur creativity

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  47. Where can I get bigger bottles to blend more polish at the same time? I tried to find it on Etsy, but couldn’t find any… Please help 🙂

  48. did the bb’s distort the color by chance? im getting conflicting messages from makers….

  49. […] I did what any mani maniac would do in my place:  I “frankened” the color, by adding a teensy bit of dark brown lacquer to a half-empty bottle of a bright […]

  50. […] mattes and glitters so feel free to challenge her creativity. She even has an amazingly detailed tutorial for you newbie mixers out there. It’s a must […]

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