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How do you make jelly nail polish color?

Jelly nail polish has become a popular trend in recent years. Unlike traditional nail polish, jelly nail polish has a transparent, gel-like finish that makes nails look like smooth glass. The jelly effect allows your natural nail to show through for a fun and unique manicure. Making DIY jelly nail polish at home is easy with just a few ingredients and steps.

What is Jelly Nail Polish?

Jelly nail polish, also sometimes called gel-like nail polish, has an ultra sheer, translucent finish. Regular nail polish contains opaque pigments that fully coat the nail. Jelly polish contains minimal pigment, allowing the natural nail to be visible underneath a glossy gel-like layer. The smooth jelly finish makes nails look healthy and strong.

Jelly nail polish is versatile and can be worn alone for a minimalist manicure or layered over other polishes. Applying different colored polishes underneath jelly polish creates a colorful, dimensional jelly sandwich effect. Jelly polish is also often topped with glitter or flakes for extra pop.

Benefits of Jelly Nail Polish

There are many advantages to wearing jelly nail polish:

  • Sheer finish shows off your natural nails
  • Gel-like look makes nails appear smooth and sleek
  • Durable and long-lasting on nails
  • Endless creativity mixing colors and textures
  • Great for nail art and unique manicure designs
  • Goes on sheer in just 1-2 coats
  • Quick drying formula

How to Make DIY Jelly Nail Polish

Making homemade jelly nail polish is easy with a few basic ingredients and supplies. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Clear nail polish – This forms the base of the jelly polish.
  • Nail polish thinner – Adds a gel-like consistency.
  • Acetone – Thins out thicker polishes.
  • Pigment powder or mica powder (optional) – Adds subtle color if desired.
  • Glitter, flakes, or beads (optional) – For extra embellishment.
  • Toothpicks – For mixing and stirring.
  • Small jars – For mixing and storing the polish.


  1. Start with a clear base polish. You can use a fast drying top coat or a sheer colorless polish. Pour the polish into a small jar.

  2. Add nail polish thinner, 1-2 drops at a time, mixing well after each drop. The thinner gives jelly polish a thick, gel-like consistency. Keep adding thinner until reaching the desired jelly texture.

  3. If needed, use acetone sparingly to thin the polish and enhance transparency. Start with 1 drop per 5ml of polish. Mix well and add more as needed. Be careful not to over-thin.

  4. Optional – For a sheer tint of color, add a tiny amount of nail pigment or mica powder. Start with 1/8 teaspoon or less per 5ml of polish. Mix well and add more powder for more color.

  5. Optional – Add glitter, flakes, beads or other embellishments for extra texture and dimension. Use toothpicks for easier, precise mixing.

  6. Once fully mixed, transfer the DIY jelly polish back to the original bottle for easy use. Then paint on nails as you would regular polish.

Tips for Applying Jelly Nail Polish

Applying jelly polish is similar to regular nail polish. Here are some tips:

  • Use base and top coat – Apply a base coat first to help jelly polish adhere. Finish with a glossy top coat.
  • Use thin coats – Jelly polish should glide on sheer. Two thin coats is usually enough.
  • Let dry between coats – Ensure each layer dries thoroughly before adding another.
  • Cap the tips – Brush polish over the tips to seal in color.
  • Finish with cuticle oil – Hydrate and nourish nails.

Simple Jelly Nail Designs

Once you’ve mastered basic application, get creative with these easy jelly manicure ideas!

Solid Jelly

For an elegant look, do a full manicure using a single sheer jelly shade. This lets your bare nails shine through.

Jelly Sandwich

Layer sheer jelly over an opaque base color, like red or navy. Top with more jelly for dimension.


Paint tips with one jelly color and transition to a second shade towards the cuticles. It creates a fun ombre effect.


Make plain jelly polish pop by adding glitter, beads, flakes or metallic studs on top.

Negative Space

Use tape or glue to mask off geometric or stripe patterns. Paint exposed areas with jelly polish for a cool design.

French Jelly

Do a french manicure tip with opaque white polish, then paint the bare half with sheer jelly.


Does jelly nail polish damage nails?

No, jelly polish will not damage nails when used properly. Avoid picking at the polish and use a nourishing base coat. Jelly polish lasts long without much chipping or peeling that can harm nails.

Is jelly polish more expensive?

Jelly polish costs around the same as a standard nail polish, ranging from $5-15. DIY jelly polish made at home is very affordable.

How long does it last on nails?

With a base and top coat, jelly nail polish can last over a week without chipping. The thin, flexible formula helps it adhere well to nails.

Is jelly polish sheer?

Yes, the jelly effect comes from the translucent, sheer finish that allows your natural nails to show through. Jelly polishes only have a minimal amount of pigment.

Can you layer jelly polishes?

Absolutely! Layering jelly shades is a great way to create depth. Apply 2-3 thin coats of different jelly colors for a customized manicure.

Caring for Jelly Nails

Jelly manicures are long lasting, but still require some maintenance. Here are tips for making it last:

  • Use cuticle oil daily to hydrate nails
  • Avoid excessive water exposure
  • Apply a fresh top coat every 2-3 days
  • Carefully wrap tips when painting nails
  • Check for chips and reapply polish as needed
  • Remove polish gently to avoid damage


With its transparent, gel-like shine, jelly nail polish provides a unique, trendy manicure. Making homemade jelly polish is simple and affordable. Apply sheer coats and get creative with colors and textures for beautiful nails! DIY jelly polish also makes thoughtful gifts for polish-loving friends.