Lit from Within: Great Glue Experiment

Friday, August 31, 2012

Great Glue Experiment

Everybody is talking about the 'new' discovery of using PVA glue as a base for glitters.  Of course, the hipsters have been doing this 'forever' and what's the big deal?

Trust me, it's a big deal - no one needs to be scared of glitter polish removal ever again! Hurrah!

I did this experiment three different ways. There are a lot of pix, so please follow after the jump!

The first time I tried the glue base, I started with a thin layer of Elmer's Glue-All, the US version of PVA glue.  It goes on white, and when it's clear, it's dry and ready to be painted on.

I went with 3 layers of Butterflies by Orly.  I don't normally do three coats, but this was such a *sheer* polish!  And brighter than I thought it would be. 

I topped that off with a nice thick dabby layer of Nail Sauce Guns N Roses. 

I love the gunmetal and silver hexes against the pink.  Perfectly named!

A day later, after a shower and numerous hand-washings, the polish held up as well as any other on me - which is to say that I had a few chips and tip wear, but I always do.  Look how cleanly it peeled off - no muss, no fuss.

Then, I (stupidly) thought - what if the glue is bad for my nails?  Maybe I should put a layer of base coat down first?  NO. NO. NO.  I started with OPI Nail Envy, then the Elmer's glue, then 2 coats of China Glaze Desert Sun, and topped it all off with China Glaze I Herd That.

Sorry for the bad pix.  We've all seen a million swatches, though.  These two colors go perfectly together, and are so pretty.  I think I had this on for almost 2 days, and washed my hair in there, too.  You can see the chips and tipwear in my crappy pix.  This is actually pretty minimal for me - Nothing wrecks polish faster than scratching a dog, and I have 4.

Then, I tried to peel it off, just like before.  I couldn't really get it off some of the nails.

This sucked.  *cry* You can see how the edge of my nail just peeled off and is stuck on the peeled polish.  You can also see that some of the top layer of my nail is slightly pitted.

I think I was traumatized, because I don't have more pix, but it damaged my pinkie nail, too before I just gave up and removed it with acetone.

Then I read some other blogs about reversing the order of the glue and base, because the glue doesn't stop staining.  So I figured if anything would stain, it would be blue and teal, so I picked out Butter London Blagger and Slapper.  I love these.  They are gorgeous and the formula is impeccable.

This time, I started with the glue, THEN put OPI Nail Envy on top of the glue, followed by Slapper and Blagger.

Two generous coats of Orly Spazmatic on top.  I didn't think I would like this glitter as much as I did.  And, I got it half off the clearance price at Sally's - about $3.

No more damage.  I had to work a little harder on the tips, but overall, it peeled off nice and easy, and my nails weren't stained any more than they were before.  This is a winner combination!

Elmer's and other PVA glues I've read about are listed as non-toxic, but as far as I know there is no information about the long-term effects of using glue on your nails.  Anecdotally, I've read of people using this for years to do projects, or even to create nail decorations with no adverse effects, but your mileage may vary.  I don't guarantee any results.

Will you be trying PVA glue as a glitter base?


  1. Thanks for sharing this Nidia!
    I probably will at some point - but I'm not a glitter-person, glitters are too noisy for nail art most of the time I think....
    So if I understand you correctly, first glue, then base coat to prevent staining - and then the rest...?

    1. Yes, first glue, then base coat if you want, then the polish and glitter. I updated the post to hopefully make that more clear - that's what I get for writing late at night!

  2. This is really good to know! I had never even heard of this!

    1. It's the newest thing... or the oldest thing, revamped! :) Sure beats foil. I was using the Target acetone dip with plastic scrubber in it, which also worked really well, but this is even easier, and probably better for our nails. :)

  3. This is so cool! I love glitter but I find that even the foil method doesn't help me with removal; the top layer of my nail was peeling in strips, like that scene in Bambi where the deer are eating tree bark during winter.

    As for health issues, I see it this way: nail polish itself contains all kinds of unpleasant things anyway, so could glue really be any worse? On the plus side nails themselves can't absorb/transmit anything useful to the rest of the body since they're dead matter, so whatever is in them stays there.

    1. I think some people were also worried if the glue would damage their nails somehow over the long-term, but so far the anecdotal evidence says no worries. As long as I don't put basecoat down first, I'm good, and I love peeling the polish off!


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