Saturday, 5 July 2014

DIY: Make Your Own Peel Off Base Coat

DIY Project: Make Your Own Peel Off Base Coat

For a long time I deprived myself of the joy of wearing glitter nail polish altogether because I simply couldn't deal with the aggravation of trying to remove it! Of course, there was the foil method which was my saving grace for a while but let's be honest, it's not much of a time saver. The first peel off base coat I remember reading about was Essence's offering way back in 2012 and around that time, I was also reading a lot of stuff about PVA/Elmer's glue being a cheap and easy alternative. With nothing to lose, I decided to give it a try and haven't looked back since.

Getting started

All you need to make your own peel off base coat is some PVA glue and an empty nail polish bottle. So we're not really making the base coat itself, just facilitating its easy use on the nails!

The proper name for PVA glue is Polyvinyl acetate and I often see it referred to as Elmer's glue in the US. It's basically a water based craft glue that you'd find in any school classroom and if you've ever done crafts at home, you probably already have some lying around the house.

DIY Project: Make Your Own Peel Off Base Coat Equipment
I picked up this bottle in Wilkinson for 65p and the bottle is from a polish that I used up. If you don't have any empty bottles or would prefer a fresh one, you can buy them online from Born Pretty Store who have one for $2.99 here.

DIY Project: Make Your Own Bottle of Peel Off Base Coat

Cleaning the bottle

If you're going to be cleaning out your bottle, you'll need some pure acetone which you can get at Sally stores and most pharmacies. Fill your bottle about half way and give it a gentle shake. Any polish that's left in there will melt away and pour down the drain. Repeat if required and when everything's clean, rinse it well with warm water. 

Don't forget to make sure the brush, cap and neck of the bottle are clean as well. I used a combination of cotton pads and cotton buds to clean all the fiddly bits.

Stand your bottle and brush on a piece of tissue for a few minutes to get it mostly dry. It doesn't matter if there are still a few drops of water inside as the glue is water based.

DIY Project: Make Your Own Peel Off Base Coat with PVA Glue

When your bottle is dry, simply fill it with glue and replace the brush. 

Now, instead of your normal base coat, just use one of two coats of glue instead and apply your nail polish like normal.

A few tips

Make sure the glue is completely dry before applying your polish. You'll know it's dry when it goes from white to clear.

If you find it too thick, just add some water one drop at a time until the consistency is thin enough to easily spread on your nails.

This won't prevent staining (in fact, sometimes it makes it worse) so if you're using a polish that you think might stain, use your normal base coat over the glue.

You can also use this under regular old polish if you want to avoid the fuss of using polish remover altogether.

Happy Glittering!



  1. Eu adorei essa ideia. Realmente é muito chato ter que tirar o glitter e acabamos por optar a não usar. Beijos

  2. Thank you for these tips!

  3. I gonna try to do this thanks!

  4. Nice DIY! I might have to try this out.

  5. I tried the essence peel off and didn't worked very well for me...
    I'll give the glue a chance too ;)

    Just don't put the polish+ acetone down the drain because it will end on the water and soils...
    I believe (but I'm not sure of it) that the less harm way is to put it on newspaper or paper towel and let the acetone evaporate and let the polish dry, then put it the trash.

    1. I'm glad someone already said this about throwing it down the drain, I was about to make my own comment. It's definitely not good for the environment.

    2. Same here. I would strongly suggest editing the post to include the environment-friendly way of disposing of polish and acetone :)

  6. I love this method, I made a DIY about it on my blog, too! I rarely wore glitter polish before because the removal was so hard!

    For all the Germans out here: The equivalent for us is "Holzleim", I used Ponal Classic :)

  7. Great tip! I used this glue, mix with water, as aquabase for FNUG holographic polishes and it worked fine!

  8. I was using the glue method for the longest time but when OPI released their peel-off base coat, I snatched it up. I love it so much more. It applies as easily as nail polish and dries in half the time of the glue. I also only need one coat and it peels like a dream without damaging my nails even a bit. But it doesn't peel until I want it to peel. It has great staying power for a peel-off polish.

  9. Honestly, Essence peel off doesn't work for me, however i use in gradients around the nail lol. I never tried the PVA glue becaue I'm not yet pissed at the foil method. Just a trick, I use alcohol after cleaning the empty bottle with acetone to further enhance the dryng time (it evaporates) and also, it is best not to pour polish down the drain. Kisses,


  10. Sammy you need to edit the post, acetone + drains = possible disaster, acetone can dissolve plastic pipes! I have had pva in a bottle for some time, I cleaned my bottle out with acetone and poured it into kitchen towel, let it dry up and binned the paper.

  11. I might try this out. Thank you.

  12. I'm so glad you put the staining part in - I never thought of putting my usual base coat OVER the peel-off base to prevent it. I got some hideously green nails last time I tried the peel-off base coat! :O

  13. This is such a great idea! I'll definitely have to try this, thank you! :)


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