Thrift Tips: 5 Ways to (Nail) Polish Up Your Thrift Finds


Part of the fun of thrifting at Volunteers of America is finding items you can transform into your own perfect creations. Best of all, so many items can be, ahem, polished up, with a couple coats of nail polish. If you're looking for new ways to put that epic nail polish collection to good use, then you're in luck. Here are five of the top items you can use nail polish on to make your thrift finds even more beautiful:

Coffee mugs

How amazing are these marbleized coffee mugs? This easy craft instantly elevates the look of any mug. It is a perfect gift for a friend or gift for yourself. You’ll need a bowl of warm water, plain white ceramic mugs from the thrift store, toothpicks or skewers and colorful nail polish. First, pour a little bit of nail polish into the warm water, quickly swirl the polish with your skewer, and slowly dip the mug 80% into the water. You don’t want the polish to touch where your lips will touch the mug. Repeat with a different color nail polish. When you’re done, be sure to only hand wash your mug.



You can add nail polish to any set of earrings, bracelets or necklaces that you find at a Volunteers of America thrift store. This is a great way to update cheap jewelry you find. Feel free to borrow the marbleizing technique, mentioned above, and try it on a bangle or chunky piece of jewelry. You can also use painter’s tape to create bright geometric shapes in different colors.


Plastic Animals

These little animals can be so easily polished up and add a pop of quirkiness to your life. Find several small dinosaur or exotic animal figurines at the thrift store near you and then give them a few coats of nail polish. Tape a magnet to the back for a unique fridge friend. If you happen to snag an elephant figurine, you can attach it to a wall and use the trunk to hold your keys or rings. You could even paint small animal figures to be used as name card holders at a wedding.



Make your heels pop by updating them with a couple coats of nail polish. The thrift store is a great place to find cute vintage shoes and you can easily make them your own by adding a dash of color to the heel, toe, or underneath.


Christmas Ornaments

At our thrift stores, you can find holiday ornaments that you can decorate and personalize for your family's Christmas tree. Pick up some clear ornaments at the thrift store, take off the top silver hook, pour a generous amount of nail polish inside and swirl it around. Repeat with different polish colors and let dry.


Storage for your Nail Polish

Don’t forget about picking up vintage furniture to display your nail polish collection. To neatly organize your pretty polish collection, you can pick up a spice rack, tier cake stand, lazy susan, suitcase, picture frames or shelves at the thrift store. These are all creative yet functional ways to store nail polish.


Remember, every time you buy or donate something at one of our ten Ohio thrift stores, you are helping your community. All of the proceeds go toward our programs that help homeless families, individuals and veterans receive the support they need to build a brighter future.