Franken FAQ’s

Hello, franken friends!
I’ve decided to devote a section here to answer some frequently asked questions. This will be a work in progress, so it is by no means a complete list.
Of course, you can always email me with any additional questions you may have. 🙂

Where can I find empty bottles for frankening?
I purchase my empties online from polish supply stores. I usually buy from: , , or
Supply Source
CBS and SS do have a $25 minimum, but they also sell a variety of nail polish and other beauty supplies as well, so it’s a good place to stock up. SS is the place that sells the famous “David” topcoat, as well. TD doesn’t have a minimum, however, they do sell New York Summer brand polish, which is great and inexpensive to use for frankening.

What kinds of glitter can I use for frankening?

Generally speaking, most cosmetic grade glitters will work, but I have found some that don’t. Avoid using poly-based glitters, since they will melt when added to polish. Vinyl is your friend! Glitters can be very tricky, and it is mostly trial and error. When experimenting with a new brand/type of glitter, I will add it to a small bottle with a little bit of clear polish, shake it up, and let it sit overnight to see how it reacts. I’ve been surprised on a few occasions where the glitter didn’t melt, but instead changed color completely. Which isn’t always a bad thing! One brand I use quite frequently is the Martha Stewart craft glitters. I have dozens of colors I have tried, and never had a problem with them.
What basecoat/topcoat/nail treatments do you use?
Nail treatments are usually a subjective thing. What works for one, may not work for others. I’ve experimented with many, and always go back to the tried and true ones that work for me. I use Nailtek Foundation II or Sally Hansen Nail Quencher basecoat, and Seche Vite topcoat. My favorite cuticle cream is Qtica balm and some homemade shea butter my friend Elma makes for me. I also keep a couple bottles of cuticle oil handy…my current favorite being Nfu-Oh’s flower oils (they smell soooo good).

Do you sell your frankens?
At this time, I do not.

Well, why not?
Frankening is a really fun hobby of mine, and I love being able to help out others that want to re-create some of the colors I show on my blog. While I’m flattered that many readers think my polishes are good enough to be sold, I honestly don’t have enough free time to manufacture several bottles of them. I try and do giveways on my blog often, and will be more than happy to answer any questions or provide help to those trying to franken a certain shade. Perhaps in the future I will reconsider. 😉

27 Responses to “Franken FAQ’s”

  1. I’m so glad I read your article in Nails Magazine! How inspiring! I’ve always wanted to do this, but I didn’t think it would be legal, to mix!

    I’m going to get started. Thank you for all your helpful tips. I was wondering how you give credit to the companies on your polish? Do you put on the label what all you used? And do you have to call these companies to ask permission to do this when using their product?

    My father is in the winery business, there are so many rules and regulations on using grapes from different vineyards, and calling it your own.

    I’m very curious!!! Please let me know about all the rules. Or maybe if I read more on your website I’ll find my answers.
    My website will be up very soon!

  2. I love your blog !! you do so beautiful franken …I love especially the blacks one. But you are so talented !!
    I want to try to copy some of your creations
    When you buy pigment to TKB you choose what size? Is the sample enough to do a franken with?
    Best regards and merry Christmas

  3. Hi- what type of ballz do use use? I’m having a problem with settling of my TKB micas. Thanks

  4. Hi hun, sweet website! I really treasure this post.. I was wondering about this for a while now. This cleared a lot up for me! Do you have a rss feed that I can add?

  5. Hi i’ve been trawling through your site every now and then the last couple of days (my exam is screwed, lol!) and am very interested in starting frankening for myself! But there is something i don’t do i pour polish from one bottle to another without spillage? Because the mouths of the bottles are so tiny! Do you use a syringe or something??/: Please let me know:D

  6. Melanie Coffey Says:

    My question involves certain pigments and a problem I continue to have. I have purchaed metallic pigments from both TKB & CS for making polish with either a silver polish, pearl white polish or clear as the base. In every case when I’ve used the gold, orange or red metallics, for example Metallic Olivia or TKB’s crucible colors, the bottles go bad, every one so far. Some odd chemical reaction happens and it either turns into a gel-like or rubbery substance and is beyond salvaging. I have contacted both pigment companies but neither could help me. Have you had this experience and do you have any advice? Thanks in advance for your time.

  7. Hi Melanie…
    That is so odd…I haven’t had that happen to me at all. I’ve used a ton of pigments from both places, in a variety of polish bases (clear, white, silver, black, etc.)
    Perhaps try a different brand of polish for the base?
    It certain can happen with pigments…I’ve had several MAC ones turn into a sticky mess on me.

  8. Melanie Coffey Says:

    I thought I would leave a follow-up myself for you or others whom might be interested after I did some research this morning.
    For me the pigments in question were CS Metallic Olivia, CS Metallic Copper, TKB Crucible Gold, TKB Crucible Red, TKB Crucible Khaki and TKB Forged Gold. All six of these pigments have two ingredients in common, Silica or a variant of it, and Copper or Bronze powder (Lovely Leo, Cancercian Heat and Virgo from TKB also have these powders in addition to silica) but this only became significant after I came across a company and website called Eckart Effects Pigments who manufactures pigments including those for cosmetics. Among those is the Mirage line that Coastal Scents sells as well as another line called Visionaire® Metallic pigments with copper and bronze colors that contain large amounts of copper and bronze. In a pdf file relating to these pigments is a page titled, “Compatibility of metallic pigments – limitations” and on this page it says, “Visionaire® Copper / Bronze powder pigments: preferential use: water-free or silicone based systems, powder applications – not appropriate for nail polish or carbomer containing systems.”
    While that didn’t answer the why, it told me what ingredient in the pigment was causing the problem.

  9. Thanks so much for this FAQ. I’ve been playing doctor with polishes since the ’80s and your blog has rekindled that fire.

    I was going to ask about the best glitters and pigments (including metallics) but my questions have been answered here. Thanks! (I have some CS glitters and pigments, but I’ll try the MS ones you mentioned too.)

    I do have a couple of questions for you though. Do you know what the difference is between Nail Tek Foundation I, II, and III? Even their website doesn’t explain it. They look like they may just be different concentrations of the same thing, but I’ve only used II. If I have to, I’ll order the others sometime, but if I and III just aren’t as good as II for making mattes, I’ll skip them.

    My other question – do you have a preferred clear polish to use as a base for frankening?

    Thanks again!

  10. I LOVE your blog. You are so creative when it comes to your frankens…you’ve inspired me to give it a try. Also, your nails are beautiful!!! You should post your routine sometime. 🙂
    Thanks for a great blog!

  11. Any idea on how I would go about setting up a nail polish company, I have no experience in nail polish mixing but have an eye for colour and a huge ammount of ambition, what do you think I should do/ learn to get started?

    Also, I’d love to see you do some water marbelling with your franken polishes.

  12. Do you know what day of the month your photobucket account resets and we can see the photos again? If you know it you should probably put it in your FAQs.

  13. Hi there, thank you for this info! I was wondering, do you have a recommendation for a clear polish to use when doing a glitter franken? I have not tried it yet but I have heard that not all clear polishes are thick enough to suspend the glitter.

  14. Sorry if I’m missing this answered somewhere else, but where do you buy your pigments, in the plastic baggies I see pictures in your blog?

  15. Can you teach me to do a red jelly holo nail polish??

  16. TreasuresByTan Says:

    Hello, I am new to the “frankening” so have been researching the best products to use. I want to add a nail polish line to my etsy shop so I have to use quality products! You mentioned that you have used Martha Stewart glitter with no problems yet. They don’t bleed, fade, or melt when added to your polish? Thanks!

  17. This blog is dead. If you use MS glitter, almost all of the time they will bleed or curl. There are many solvent resistant sites if you search for them as such. This blog was very helpful in many ways but it does have some bad information. Such as, using zinc coated balls is a huge nono. It will rust in your polish. Searching accordingly will find you many many resources, just be sure to test what you do before selling it.

  18. TreasuresByTan Says:

    Yeah I have researched ALOT of different sites for the proper glitter and have sent emails to many of them asking whether or not they are solvent resistant if they do not state that on their site. Some of them are so damn expensive and I want a good variety (colors, shapes, sizes, etc.) but do not want to waste my money or time on products that are going to be crap. Would be nice to be able to go to the craft store and pick up what I need but I don’t think that any of the regular glitter you would find in a craft store would hold up well. Thanks for the reply. Anyone else have suggestions of sites or purchased glitter from a store that they have TRIED and actually worked well please post, would greatly appreciate it!!!

  19. I wish there were a situation where I could just pop into the store and grab some glitter! If you click my name on my reply it will take you to my facebook page; message me there & we’ll talk.

  20. I love this!! I would really like to use your frankens so I’m upset you don’t sell them. I’m only 13 so my mom won’t let me order offline :-/

  21. I’m really just starting to get into creating my own polishes. I do nails in my spare time and thought it would be a good idea to try my hand at my own nail polishes to possibly sell to those whose nails I do. But I’m getting my knowledge based on reading this site and that site. It can be a bit confusing. If there’s anyone out there who is interested in sharing some tips and tricks, or wouldn’t mind answering a few questions for me, feel free to click my name and message me on Facebook! I’m a huge nail polish fanatic, would love to find others who are, too!

  22. Hi, Same as heather above really. I would really like to make my own polishes but need a dummies explanation of what you need! Do you use powder to colour them? If so where from? Or is it a liquid colourant – where from? Can you just use normal clear polish? What do you mix them in before putting them into bottles etc?

    Any help would be great! Please email me at


  23. hi, i have a few questions because i am completly new to frankening. i like to make stuff! but the two biggest reasons i want to start is because i am a HUGE NAIL POLISH JUNKIE and I have recently decided to go all organic. but all the nail polishes i have are very bad for me and the environment. the second reason is to save money because organic nail polishes are like 10$ a peice more or less. its to expensive to have to replace my whole nail polish collection. that would coste like 1000 $ so i guess my questions would be is there a way to buy a big bottle ( like a jug or 16oz or so, of completly natural waterbased clear nail polish that i could add non harmful pigments and glitters to and what those would be and where i could find them 🙂 thanks

  24. I’ve tried mixing glitters with clear polish. Like you said most fade to a different color. My biggest complaint though is that all the glitter separates and sinks to the bottom so fast. Ia there anything i can do to prevent this from happening? Thanks for your time!

  25. Keryn, use a suspension base, not regular clear polish.

    At the link kat posted, see

    Hope this helps; happy frankening!

  26. I’m after a water based nail polish base, can anyone help? I’m in Australia. I love frankening but I’m getting solvent headaches!

    🙂 Danielle

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