One of the greatest girlie rites of passage can be found within a bottle of nail polish. Upon painting that first swipe of color all the way down the length of a finger nail, we become instantly connected to the transformational power of primping and preening. In terms of today’s mainstream nail polish brands, however, we’d actually all be quite wise to exercise a complete hands off policy. Aside from the fact that they’re tinted in a drool-worthy array of rainbow colors and flecked with everything from disco ball glitter to optical illusion mica, the formulas contain an all-too-common blend of endocrine-disrupting, EPA-classified potential carcinogens (known more commonly as phthalates – think camphor, formaldehyde and toluene) which easily absorb into the body directly through the nail bed.
Fortunately, there are a whole new generation of somewhat safer nail colors on the marketplace. So, at the very least, manicure fans don’t have to endanger their bodies just to indulge in a bit of fanciful femininity. Once we finally round up all of those old-school bottles, it may seem as though the garbage can is beckoning, but there are some inspiring and downright practical ways to make the most of yesterday’s nail paints… as long as they’re used with proper cross-ventilation:
- Empty bottles can be cleaned out with a non-toxic paint thinner (such as Turpenoid Natural) and then repurposed as miniature flower vases, craft storage receptacles for beads, rhinestones, glitter, etc. or used as household paint touch up containers.
- Prevent cut fabric edges from fraying with a light coat of clear nail polish.
- Thread needles with less effort by first painting a tiny drop of nail polish on the cut edge. Blot it with paper and it should be dry enough to take on a firmer consistency, which will ensure that the thread will pass through the needle easy-breezy.
- Use old colors to bestow va-va-voom to hobby models, your cell phone, snooze-worthy picture frames, buttons, hair clips, bobby pins or just give life to a new pet rock.
- Chipped household tile can be restored to its former glory by touching up affected areas with matching nail polish.
- Clear polish is a great sealant that can be used in lieu of crazy glue to adhere minor chips on decorative plates, prevent rust from developing on the bottom of metal cans that are regularly exposed to moisture or keep screws permanently in place.
- Personalize a beat up but beloved guitar – come to think of it, why should guitars have all the fun? How about customizing the facade of your two wheeler… or laptop… or e-reader?
- Use deeper colors to permanently mark house keys, color-code electrical cables, mark children’s school supplies/backpacks or label work bench and craft room supplies.
- Seal a hand-folded paper bracelet with a nail polish shade that complements a special outfit you plan on wearing.
- Jazz up or just revamp Christmas and other holiday ornaments – remember, beads and glitter stick quite well to a wet coat of nail polish.
- Transform one of the Altoids tins you’ve been saving into a totable emergency kit and be sure to give the outside a new nail polish facelift!
- Car dealerships typically charge a chunk of change for mini paint applicators that match the shade of your car’s exterior. If you drive an older model and you’re not as worried about its cosmetic appearance as if it were straight off the lot, you can at least prevent chips from becoming rusty eyesores by painting them with a few coats of clear nail polish.
- Repair window screens with minor damage – just paint a coat of clear nail polish directly into holes so they don’t get any larger, plus insects won’t be able to fly inside.
- Jazz up a pair of old high heels for a special occasion… or no reason in particular!
- Tired of constantly sewing buttons back onto shirts? That wouldn’t happen in the first place if you dabbed the center of each with a coat of clear nail polish!
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