When I was young, my sister and I loved abalone shells!! The iridescent color shift, the metallic finish, the gentle coloring, and the pearlized rainbow effect still are beautiful to me now. As I was researching resin techniques, I came across a video from Astar’s Place that demonstrated how to make faux abalone pieces with nail polish & glass gems. I had just grabbed a bag of glass gems (clear half marbles/vase fill) from the dollar store for no particular reason–so I was set to experiment with this project.
While I was at it, I also created glitter, picture, makeup, and galaxy gems. My glass gems had a bit of cloudiness to them, so I remedied that with a layer of clear nail polish over the top. Faux abalone is beautiful, easy to make, and the only items I had to purchase were the $1 glass gems & some E6000 craft glue for setting the stones on pendants. You can place them in empty pendants, wire wrap them, glue them to ring posts, or create buttons out of them.
You Will Need:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Glass Gems/Half Marbles
- Glitter Nail Polish
- Crackle Nail Polish (Green/Blue Toned if You Have It)
- Dark Nail Polish (I used black and navy)
- Clear Nail Polish Top Coat
How To Make The Abalone Gems:
- Clean your gems with rubbing alcohol
- To the flat/back side apply a layer of glitter nail polish & let it dry completely (It is up to you if you use more than one type or shade of glitter/sheer polish.)
- Add a layer of the crackle nail polish and let it dry completely.
- Cover the back with 1-2 layers of black/navy nail polish and let dry completely–It will take several hours for all of the layers to dry thoroughly. If you don’t let it dry all the way through, you will lose chunks of your layers of polish when it sticks to the first surface you set it on!
- Apply a layer of clear top coat to the top (let it dry before flipping!) and bottom of the glass gem.
Misc. Gems (Clean w/Rubbing Alcohol before beginning)
- Glitter Nail Polish: Apply a layer (or however many you choose) of glitter nail polish and after that dries, add a darker shade behind it. After it is completely dry, cover the gem (let it dry before flipping) with clear top coat.
- Loose Glitter: Apply a layer of clear/sheer nail polish and then sprinkle loose glitter (or dip in loose glitter) on top. Tap off loose glitter and then coat gem with clear top coat.
- Mehron Metallic Powder: Mix your mixing medium with the metallic powder and apply to the back of the gem. Once it is dried, apply clear top coat to the gem.
- Liquid Eye Liner and Liquid Lipstick: Apply 1-2 layers of product to your sanitized gem (rubbing alcohol) and then apply clear top coat to the gem.
- Galaxy Gems: Begin by applying a layer of glitter nail polish (I recommend something transparent and not an opaque glitter cover.) Once that dries, use the narrow/bottom side of a cosmetic wedge sponge to apply other colored nail polishes. I made sure to include white and dark colors with a sprinkle of green/pink/purple. This is similar to using makeup sponges to create ombre nails. Once completely dried, cover the gem with a transparent glitter or clear top coat.
- Magazine Picture: Find a pattern/picture you like. Remove the page from the magazine. Apply a layer of E6000 craft glue to the back of the gem and place it on top of the portion of the picture you want to use. Let it dry completely (I left mine overnight) and then trim the excess picture away with scissors. Top with a coat of clear nail polish.
I love these “gems!” You can turn them into jewelry or just admire them by themselves. They are easy, fun, and super affordable! I highly recommend trying this project.