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!

  • caro london

    I really really love this technique and can finally glitter as much as my heart desires

    BUT do you also have the issue that sometimes one or even more nails just peel off themselves. Then it looks like glue on nails of which one just fell off 🙁

    any tips and tricks to avoid “premature peeling”?

    • Katie

      Before I saw this site, I’d bought the OPI version (2 bottles!) and the first night after, one nail was missing in the morning. I’m a nurse and wash my hands a lot, but that night I was just sleeping! haha then another nail fell off! I love the concept, but is there a way to not completely waste all the time it takes to do nail art AND be able to get glitter off quickly?

  • Chahrazad

    bif your container is empty what do you do
    do you refill with some glue or do we have to clean it with some acetone?

    • Chahrazad

      but if*

  • Yasmeen B

    omg i <3 this! seriously i change polish so often…the only problem that i'm having is cleaning the glue + polish combination. I've been using acetone and an angled brush to clean up my cuticles and it ends up peeling off!

    How do you get your cuticles so perfect with the peel off polish? =)

  • DMK

    Where did u get it?

  • Lynzi

    I use this method under ALL my nail polish, because I can’t be bothered with nail varnish remover and cotton wool, tissue. I usually end up dropping the tissue, chasing cotton buds (for cleaning fiddly edge bits), trying to fit all the cotton buds back in the container, knocking over the varnish remover… PVA is difficult to spill and, if you do, it just washes out. It ALSO works brilliantly as a ridge filler, so that you can use foil effects or whatever without having to worry about bumps. The only difference is that I put my base coat on while the glue is still damp. I find that the glue and the base coat seem to form some sort of bond, making the varnish stay on longer, if you want it to. I often wear just that, glue and base coat, to give me a super shiny, smooth looking nail! (Oh, I am I’ll and take all sorts of meds which really mess up my nails so I have HUGE ridges. If it can fill mine, it can fill anyone’s!)

  • Juliettebil2000

    Can you put this on your «finger nail skin» if you put a little to the side of your nail, on the skin?

    • Katie

      I was wondering that too!

  • Marta Ford

    Fantastic idea!!! I’m sharing this post with my female friends! They will love it! I’ll try that tomorrow!I’m so excited!

  • Melissa Locks

    ​I also have a bad reaction to nail polish remover! I just use as little as posible, make sure to wash my hand after, and then I use the Lady Soma Nail treatment after washing my hands. I didnt used to use a moisturizer after nail polish remover, but its a must, because it will leave your hands looking tired

  • Aimee Boisot

    I found that when my hands got wet the glue softened up and the polish just started falling off my nails. So i tried appling a base coat first. This worked pretty well although the polish didnt quite peel off as well. Im gonig to experiment with different glues and see if I can find the right combo. I hate to spend so much time painting to only have it last a day or two.

  • lily

    This will so help, love the glitter but taking It off is a pain! I also love your nail designs!!!

  • Mal

    Can you use it to put on your skin and then peel of after you have done your design so you don’t get polish all on your fingers

    • Kayla

      Ya I have tryed it and it worked for me