How to Thicken Nail Polish for Stamping

Have you tried nail stamping only to have it fail because of old, separated nail polish? Or maybe you’ve bought new nail polish for stamping, but it has the consistency of water?

Well, your struggles are over because we have the perfect guide on how to thicken nail polish for stamping. 

We know it can be frustrating when nail stamping doesn’t turn out the way you wanted. But with our easy guide, we’ll show you how to thicken nail polish for the perfect stamping consistency.

What This Article Covers:

How to Thicken Nail Polish for Stamping: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Open the Nail Polish 

The first step to how to thicken nail polish for nail stamping is to open the nail polish bottle. It might feel unnatural to deliberately expose polish to air but just trust the process. 

Put the nail polish applicator in some nail polish remover, like our all-purpose Genius Remover, to prevent the applicator from drying out and stiffening.

can you use regular nail polish for stamping

Step 2: Air Out the Nail Polish

Put your open bottle of nail polish in a room with consistent airflow. This could be near a window or even in front of a fan. Having airflow and ventilation will help the nail polish thicken up faster. 

The goal is to have your nail polish dry out but only enough to thicken it and not ruin it. We do this by exposing it to air. This way, the process of evaporation takes place. The liquid solvents in nail polish evaporate when exposed to air, leaving you with a nail polish that is marginally thicker. 

Step 3: Check with a Toothpick

Nail polish consistency varies widely across brands and different polishes, which will affect how long you need to leave it open. For example, sheer nail polish will take longer to dry and thicken than glitter nail polish, which already has a thicker consistency. 

Use a toothpick and check every 10 minutes how much your polish has thickened up. The goal is to achieve thickness without clumps. It also shouldn’t be so thick that it’s hard to move the toothpick around. 

The nail polish should be just thick enough to hold form when stamped onto the nail. 

You can also stir your nail polish if you notice a film drying on top. This way, the thickening will be more even and not just the top layer of the polish. 

It’s important to check the consistency to prevent your nail polish from thickening too much. If this does happen, add a few drops of nail polish thinner. ORLY Polish Thinner not only extends the life of thickening nail polish but does so while preserving your nail polish quality.

how to use regular nail polish for stamping

Step 4: Return the Nail Polish Applicator

Once you have the consistency you like, return the nail polish applicator to the bottle. Make sure to clean off the brush and remove any excess nail polish remover before returning it to the bottle. If you don’t, it could undo all your hard work. 

And there you have it. Your nail polish should now be the perfect consistency for nail stamping.

With this method, you can use just about any nail polish for stamping. As long as it’s thick enough to hold form, you’re good to go. 

Bonus Method: Thickening Agent

If you don’t feel like going through the above steps, we have another method to thicken your nail polish for the perfect stamping consistency. 

To do this, you’ll add a thickening agent to your nail polish. 

Natural food thickener is usually used for thickening jams, sauces, and even shampoos. Natural food thickening agents are very potent so work sparingly when using this method to thicken nail polish. With a thickening agent, you can use regular nail polish for stamping. As long as it’s thick enough to prevent the polish from running. 

How You Can Thicken Nail Polish for Stamping

To thicken your nail polish with a thickening agent, add very small amounts of the agent while mixing thoroughly. While mixing the thickening agent, frequently check the consistency of your nail polish by trying the nail polish to see how it applies. 

If the nail polish is still too thin, add some more of the thickening agent. Repeat these steps until the nail polish is the desired thickness. 

When using this method, be patient and use very small amounts of the thickening agent. Rather repeat the process a couple of times than have your nail polish thicken to a clump. It’s recommended to first try this method on nail polish you don’t like to get a feel for how the thickening agent works. 

Why Should You Thicken Your Nail Polish for Stamping?

Nail stamping has been a growing trend in recent years with more methods and stencils coming out almost daily. It’s a beautiful form of nail art but can also be expensive to have done professionally. 

The goal of thickening nail polish is to create the perfect nail stamping polish; One that is opaque and thick enough to capture intricate and detailed nail art, without smudging and running all over your nails. With thick enough nail polish, you’ll be able to stamp your nails right home. 

Thickening up nail polish is the perfect way to repurpose old or runny polish and create beautiful DIY nail art without burning a hole through your wallet. 

Drawbacks of Thickening Nail Polish

Thickening nail polish requires you to dry out your nail polish. If the nail polish is left out too long or too much thickening agent is added, it can leave you with hard or clumpy nail polish.  

We recommend purchasing quality nail polish that will get the job done without needing DIY intervention. There’s an ORLY nail polish for everything.

how can you use regular nail polish for stamping


Thickening up nail polish for nail stamping is a great way to indulge in salon-quality nails by repurposing nail polish that would have gone to waste otherwise. It’s super easy to do and is a cost-effective alternative to having your nails professionally done. 

With our easy guide, you’ll be creating intricate nail stamping looks at home in no time. But if you are struggling to do nail stamping even after thickening your nail polish, it might be time to invest in the best nail polish for stamping.  

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