How to Decorate a Cell Phone with Nail Polish

Updated on April 8, 2016
Decorate your cell phone with nail polish
Decorate your cell phone with nail polish | Source

Staring at the same cell phone day after day can get boring. Since most people are stuck with the same cell phone for as long as their contracts last, it can be nice to give your cell phone a facelift. Decorating a phone is a great way to spice up your gadgetry and make it look more fun and interesting. If you want to paint your cell phone, nail polish is one of the best methods you can use. It’s permanent, waterproof and durable. Not only that, but nail polish is readily available, relatively inexpensive and it comes in a wide variety of colors. It’s the perfect medium for giving your old cell phone a more attractive appearance.

Disclaimer: Use caution when decorating a cell phone, because if done incorrectly you could permanently damage it. Make sure that when you are painting your phone, you use precautions to ensure it is painted correctly and so that it continues to function properly.

Materials You Will Need to Decorate Your Cell Phone

  • Cell phone
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Q-Tip or cotton swab
  • Nail polish
  • Plastic wrap/and tape
  • Nail polish remover
  • Stencil (optional)
  • Rhinestones and/or stickers

Step One: Choose Your Design

It’s a good idea to plan ahead and decide on your cell phone design in advance. If you want a really complicated design, on a piece of paper, sketch out the pattern that you want to use on your phone. Decide in advance what colors you will be using and where your design is going to be placed. You don’t have to do this step, but it’s highly advised: planning your cell phone design in advance before you paint it, will give you an end result that looks more organized and neat. It’s also less likely that mistakes will occur if you know exactly how you are going to paint your cell phone.

Step Two: Protect the areas that you don’t want to get paint on

There are certain areas of a cell phone that you definitely don’t want nail polish getting into: If paint gets into these spaces, your phone could stop functioning properly. If your cell phone has a camera, a keyboard or any keys or buttons, you will need to protect these areas before you start painting. Also make sure that you don’t get paint on the screen, microphone holes (it is possible to have more than one microphone hole) and the speaker holes. Getting paint in these areas can ruin your phone so be very careful .

Note: Some phones have holes that allow LED lights to shine through. These holes are so small that you can’t see them. You can only see the light that passes through them. If you have this feature, it’s important to keep this in mind when painting your cell phone: if you paint over these holes, the feature will no longer be useful. Any place that your cell phone has a fine hole, can be a vital feature for your cell phone to function properly. Keep this in mind when you are painting your cell phone and avoid these areas at all cost. Only paint areas that are smooth and flat that aren’t near any important cell phone features.

Protect these areas by covering them up with plastic wrap and tape. Locate the areas that you want to be protected and place pieces of tape onto these areas. For large areas like the screen, you can place a piece of plastic wrap over it and secure it down with tape.

Protect your cell phone's buttons and holes
Protect your cell phone's buttons and holes | Source

Step Three: Clean Your Cell Phone

You will need to wipe the area that you want to paint with the rubbing alcohol. Take a Q-Tip or cotton swab and dip it into a rubbing alcohol solution. The alcohol will remove any fingerprints, oils and dirt that have accumulated on your phone. Before wiping your entire cell phone, test a small and inconspicuous area first. Testing a small area out first will ensure that your cell phone does not have an adverse effect to the rubbing alcohol. Once you have established it is safe, wipe the area you plan on painting with the rubbing alcohol. Wait 1 minute to allow the surface area to dry properly.

Clean your cell phone with rubbing alcohol
Clean your cell phone with rubbing alcohol | Source

Step Four: Test your nail polish out on a small area on the phone

Just like you tested out the rubbing alcohol on your phone, it’s a good idea to test the nail polish on a small area of your phone, to ensure that the nail polish reacts well with it. In some rare cases, the texture and material that your phone is made out of will make it very difficult to paint. It is better to find this out on a small surface area before you paint your entire cell phone. It’s important to take every precaution because you don’t want to ruin your phone!

Test the nail polish out on a small area
Test the nail polish out on a small area | Source

Step Five: Paint Your Cell Phone

Here is the fun part! Now you can start painting your cell phone!

Choose a base coat and apply it to your phone. Depending on the nail polish and the look that you want, you might have to apply more than one coat of paint. For my phone I chose an iridescent base coat and didn’t need the color to be uniform in every spot, so I only did one coat. Once you have the desired effect for the base coat, let it dry and then you can start painting on layers and adding shapes and designs to your phone.

Start painting your cell phone with nail polish
Start painting your cell phone with nail polish | Source

If you want clean cut edges on your phone, you can use a stencil or scotch tape to make your design. I wanted to keep my cell phone design very simple so I used scotch tape. If you are going to use tape, make sure it’s one with a very light adhesive so you don’t remove any of your base coat nail polish. Apply nail polish in the design you want and allow it to dry before you remove the stencil or tape.

Place scotch tape on your phone to make a pattern
Place scotch tape on your phone to make a pattern | Source
Use a scotch tape stencil to create shapes with the nail polish
Use a scotch tape stencil to create shapes with the nail polish | Source
Start painting your design
Start painting your design | Source
Painting a design on your cell phone with nail polish
Painting a design on your cell phone with nail polish | Source

Once it has dried, you can remove the tape. If there are any mistakes or areas that you want to touch up, you can do so with a Q-tip and some nail polish remover.

Step Six: Apply a Topcoat to Your Cell Phone

Once you have finished painting your cell phone, place a top coat on your design to protect it from wear and tear. Nail polish is durable but it can chip or flake off if you aren’t careful. A top coat will ensure that your lovely creation is protected.

Add a top coat to your cell phone paint job
Add a top coat to your cell phone paint job | Source
The finished product: cell phone decorated with nail polish
The finished product: cell phone decorated with nail polish | Source

Step Seven: Decorate Your Cell Phone With Stickers and Rhinestones

With some strong glue and a few rhinestones you can add some more glitter to your cell phone. You can also add some carefully placed stickers to your phone to finish off the decorating.

It's Voting Time!

Would You Paint Your Cell Phone?

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    • profile image

      Iris J 

      3 years ago

      Noway would I write on my phone crazy lol that's why they created Cases

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      ... that's nothing new, we did that like 10 years ago at least

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 

      6 years ago from Fountain, CO

      Very cute! I've seen some really creative phones decorated this way.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Its easy to see how this was chosen as a HOTD! Not only good information and instructions but great pictures to go with!

      Your caution is well placed and I have a feeling there will be nail polish on a lot of cell phones after this.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • vibesites profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      I have a spare and broken unit, I will test my so-called creativity on that. Really fun idea, and I guess it goes without saying that it will never do any harm on your phone. And oh... I think a nail polish with glitters will add shimmer to that!

      Thanks for posting. Voted up and shared!

    • hhunterr profile image


      7 years ago from Highway 24

      What sjkan and crystal flower said. Just too cool.

    • sjkhan profile image


      7 years ago from Pakistan

      wow! this is really cool, I'll try it.Thanks for sharing.

    • crystalflower profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow! that's cool.I like hand mades. Thanks.

    • CZCZCZ profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon

      Fun idea, my wife has used nail polish to color a variety of things, no cell phone designs yet, but this is a great idea.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Cute! I can totally see my nieces doing this. Congrats on HOTD! :-)

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Wow, this is very creative and affordable. Perfectly green! I'm telling my nieces. My votes up and I'm sharing. HAPPY NEW YEAR Meow:=)

    • NornsMercy profile image


      7 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This is so cute and creative :)

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Interesting Hub and I agree that it's a great idea for a cellphone cover. You would never have to worry about being caught with the same design! Thumbs up on HOTD.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 

      7 years ago from Atlanta

      That is just too cool. Who would have thought of decorating a cell phone with nail polish. That is one of the most original arts and crafts ideas I have ever seen. Great hub!

    • nehanatu86 profile image

      Petite Hubpages Fanatic 

      7 years ago from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

      Wow! That's nice and creative.

    • Monis Mas profile image


      7 years ago

      That is quite interesting and very creative! Congratulations of Hub of The Day!

    • talfonso profile image


      7 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Great idea - but like most others say, I'd get a separate case to paint on and leave the phone alone. (Hahahaha - it rhymes!) Oh, and I'd paint a coat of gloss, water-based Varathane on it instead of a topcoat because it doesn't peel off easily and it's UV resistant.

      But nevertheless, it's a great idea to bling the phone up without using all rhinestones to bedeck it - especially for frugal people. They envy the Swarovski-crusted cases, but it's a good idea to have them create their own decorated phone cases without paying a lot.

      Oh, and I have some Swarovski flatbacks, so a minimum I and my wallet see fit would work with this project.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I never thought about doing something like this. It's annoying when you can't find the right cellphone covers in shops, so this is a great idea for anyone who wants to get creative with their phones. Thanks for these tips and congrats on HOTD! :)

    • lanablackmoor profile image


      7 years ago from New England

      Very cool and unique DIY idea! I might have to try that on a case or two down the line, thanks! Voted up.

    • Recommendables profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      oh yes i too agree with james , i will never paint my phone , i would also rather get a plastic case and do masterpieces on it .... but anyway quiet innovative idea :)

    • Jay Samson profile image

      Jay Samson 

      7 years ago

      That's neat! I personally would never paint my cellphone. I'd rather get a blank case and paint on the case. Nevertheless, great hub! I really enjoyed it and might send it off to my mother (she has an excess amount of nail polish lying around).

    • peachpurple profile image


      7 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Very unique idea to use nail polish on cell phone. If i have spare cell phone, I would definitely design it. Bookmark this hub for future use. Thanks.


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