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Proving that nail varnish is pretty and practical! These quirky alternative uses are why everyone (boys and girls) should have nail polish on hand!

I love my nail varnish! I have an entire shelf of pretty (read: cabinet) of colours, glitter, pens and add-ons to suit whatever mood or occasion that strikes but nail varnish has its alternative uses too! I think that because I do a lot of typing for work (and blogging) I look at my hands a lot which means I am always changing my polish. Although I don’t think I have ever made it through an entire bottle before! Whether it’s clear or colour, nail varnish is pretty good for lifting my mood and feeling good about myself.

BUT over the years I have actually found nail varnish to be pretty handy too (pun definitely intended)! so here are some of the ways I use it (other than to look pretty) to prove it can be functional as well as fashionable!

1. Avoiding Rust Transfer

If you have any metal cans or tins around (think cleaning products or hairspray) you’ll know that eventually, they go rusty. In particular, if you leave things in the bathroom the rust easily transfers to shelves, sinks, boxes and other areas and leaves horrible rings everywhere. Instead, use nail varnish to coat the metal areas, leave to dry (or you’ll end up with a whole other disaster) and voila, no more transfer. Depending on how old and rusty they are you might need a few coats!

2. Toy Car Paint Jobs

In a previous post I discussed how we give new life to some of my little guy’s toy cars after they have taken a beating! It means he can play with them for longer and they look good as new too which saves money trying to replace them, plus it helps fix the chips and dents too.

With all of the different colours you can get it is no wonder you can match it up to the toy cars and it is incredibly simple and easy to touch the paint up. Plus the Varnish leaves a shiny finish (or a matte one if that is the effect you are after).

Top Tip:

You can use nail writing pens to fill in logos or smaller areas that have become chipped!

3. Distinguishing Keys

Use nail varnish to colour code your keys to tell similar keys apart! You can also make funky patterns too with thinner tipped nail pens – for no other reason than how cute it looks and it is safer than adding labels to your keys!

bunch of keys for alternative nail varnish uses

4. Frugal Decorating

Nail varnish is particularly useful for creating tie-dye or marble effects on mugs, plates and other ceramic items. You can also spruce up old furniture by “splattering” nail varnish on certain areas (just make sure to put a sheet down, it gets messy) for a fun art effect.

5. Avoiding Fraying

Fabrics such as ribbons, rope or string have a tendency to fray but nail varnish helps to bond the ends so that it no longer comes apart. This can work for things such as shoelaces that have lost their aglet, threading a needle or on gifts for a ribbon that you have cut!

avoid fraying materials

6. Ladders

One wrong move if you have a small hole in your tights can ruin a day and cause a ladder so high you might as well call the fire brigade for practice! Using nail varnish you can halt its progress so I recommend keeping a small bottle in your handbag for emergencies!

avoid laddering tights for alternative nail varnish uses

7. Costume Jewellery Protection

Using nail varnish on costume jewellery works both ways. You can coat the inside to avoid that green transfer to your skin (it takes a couple of coats) or you can prevent them from tarnishing and make them last longer!

protect costume jewellry

8. Protect Buttons

Nail varnish is not just for the ladies, you can protect the buttons on a shirt from coming loose, fraying or from chipping by coating in a clear polish. This makes them last longer and is particularly useful for those who don’t like sewing.

protect buttons

9. Clear Layers

Seal homemade or DIY labels to make them more durable and avoid the pen or ink from running.

10. Breathe New Life

Nail varnish comes in a variety of colours so you can use it to touch up anything with marks, refresh old paint jobs or add something new to an existing item you own. For example, breathe new life into sunglasses, paint murals on the soles of your shoes or create a fun frugal activity with the kids and paint rocks from the garden to turn into a colourful rockery.


Bonus Tip:

Use diluted Nail varnish remover on vinyl (or shiny) shoes in small quantities to remove scuff marks! (and then match the polish to touch it up if necessary

Do you have any cool ways to use nail varnish? I would love to know in the comments section

*A version of this post appears on my author contributions on*

Proving that nail varnish is pretty and practical! These quirky alternative uses are why everyone (boys and girls) should have nail polish on hand!

8 comments on “10 Alternative Uses For Nail Varnish (that actually work!)”

  1. Ooooh this is brilliant. I love these ideas. Especially the rust transfer one. I wish I had known about this a few months ago before I ended up with a stubborn rust ring on my windowsill that I cannot get rid of! Haha. X

  2. I honestly had no idea nail varnish could be used in the above way what fab tips thanks for sharing – off to Pin this!

  3. Clever post this. I never knew that nail polish could be used to touch up on damaged toys but it makes perfect sense!

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