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Crafty Friday – DIY Nail Polish Rack | The Polished Fox

Crafty Friday – DIY Nail Polish Rack

Confession time: How many of us store our nail polish in a shoebox? Guilty as charged. I’ve been trying to find a better nail polish storage solution so I wasn’t lugging out the 1995 Caboodle (don’t judge me) every time I wanted to have a little me time.

So, the Internet, in its vast knowledge, showed me how to make a nail polish rack with foam board. I watched a ton of youtube videos and read a lot of tutorials –  you can check some out here, here and here.

So with great joy, I bring you: DIY NAIL POLISH RACK. Woo.

Materials Needed:

  • 3 Black Foamboards, 20″ x 28″, $2.99 ea
  • 1 Rotary cutting mat (if using box cutter or rotary cutter), $14.95 (already owned)
  • 1 Rotary cutter, $8.00
  • 1 ruler/straight edge (I used a quilting ruler because it’s wide and super long), $15.00 (already owned)
  • 46 small nails
  • 1 bottle clear Tacky Glue, $7.99
  • Optional – fabric or fun paper to “tjouge” up the front
  • Optional – Diet Coke, because I like it.

Total cost of materials used (not including cutting supplies): $16.96 – which is pretty awesome. A 90-polish acrylic polish rack is around $45.00.


1. Bust out the ruler. On the first foam board, draw a line across it every five inches. This will be the back of your polish rack.

You should have five lines. Boom.

2. Take your second board and mark two 2.5″ lines vertically. These will be the sides of the polish rack.

3. Next, take the third foam board and make six lines 2″ apart (these will be the shelves). Then make six lines 1″ apart (these will be the front of the shelves so the polishes don’t fall out on accident).

4. Then, cut on your lines! And take a sip of Diet Coke.

When you’re done, you should have this:

Wowie. Two big pieces, six medium pieces, and six small pieces. This is where I added the fabric to the front – I used basting spray to stick the fabric to the foam board and cut out the one inch strips. Then I glued the fabric to the strips (the basting spray is just to make it stick, but not permanently).

5. It’s time to glue! Take the six medium pieces and glue them where you marked the lines on the first piece of foam board.

When gluing, I did a bead down the edge of the board, and once placed also did a bead on either side of the edge.

6. Take these nails:

And put five through the back along each row so it firmly attaches the back to the shelves. This helps with stability and impatience when you don’t want to wait for the glue to dry.

It will look like this:

What a fancy picture. Hello, shadow.

7. Attach the front of the shelves and the sides of the polish rack in the same manner – glue, then nails. I only did one nail on each side for the fronts of the shelves and the sides since they won’t be supporting any weight.

Aw yeah. Now we’re getting somewhere. Let it dry for a while – I took my dog on a walk – and come back to fill it up with your lovelies.

Ooh la la! The hubs attached it to the wall in our walk in closet with two nails at the top, and I promptly organized my polish collection and some other nail goodies to my heart’s content.

Top row – nail art pens, pedicure / cuticle stuff, Konad stamps
Second row: Sephora by OPI, Nicole, Nails, Inc, Butter London, Zoya, Color Club
Third row: Essie, Julep, China Glaze
Fourth row: Sally Hansen
Fifth row: Revlon, Sally, and some randoms (plus my little franken on the right)
Bottom row: Clear top coats, strengtheners, Seche vite, and my gob of tiny polishes.

Look at how happy they are!

I’m in love – it makes it so easy to see what I have (read: see what I need) and create new things in my mind. I love being organized about it, and I love having a designated space for it. What do you think? Would you ever make your own? I want to know when you do!

21 Responses to “Crafty Friday – DIY Nail Polish Rack”

  1. Jenny May 12, 2012 at 2:49 am #

    Brilliant design and execution Libby!

  2. Brittany Meyer May 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    You are so crafty and awesome!

  3. Samantha June 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    I was actually looking to purchase a nail polish rack. I don’t think I have the patience to complete this project, but yours turned out REALLY great!


  4. Anastacia August 7, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    How strong is this rack? It seems that the foamboard would be too weak to hold all that polish.

    • Libby August 7, 2012 at 3:14 am #

      Hi Anastacia! It’s pretty strong with the nails to reinforce it – I have around 100 polishes on it and it’s still going strong!

  5. Alexa Bryn August 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Wow, that looks professional. Great job! Now that your nail polish collection is organized you should try out some nail art tutorials like this one… http://alexabryn.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/half-moon-nails/

  6. Patricia Sheck February 4, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    AAAAHHH! Ok, so I went out and bought everything I needed to make this, I was feeling crafty. Let me just say- the damn foam board is IMPOSSIBLE to cut straight!!! Grrrr :( I just butchered a $4 piece of foam board.

    • Libby February 4, 2013 at 6:56 am #

      Aw man I’m sorry Patricia!! I’ve seen some people use scissors and that tends to create a jagged edge or not so straight lines. Maybe try it with an exacto knife? I hope something can help make it work!

      • Patricia Sheck February 4, 2013 at 8:46 am #

        I was using an exacto knife to no avail, but I eventually got it to somewhat work with -get this- a kitchen knife! I made a pre-cut with the kitchen knife (It was sharp, my husband’s a chef so I used his) then went back over it with the exacto. So crazy… What was initioally wrong was that my exacto was so sharp it was running everywhere and butchering my awesome shelves! I am almost finished with the cutting process, gonna take my butt to bed :)

  7. Priscilla February 13, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    How thick is the foamboard that you are using in mm’s?

    • Libby February 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      It’s 3/16 of an inch, or about 4.75 mm.

  8. ava February 20, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    inspiring! and i love the diet coke comment, haha! good job :)

  9. Ashley February 26, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Awesome DIY! I was wondering, I have over 250 polishes as of right now, could I tweak this to accommodate more polishes? Or would it be better to build more than one?

    • Libby February 26, 2013 at 8:18 am #

      Good question! I think that if you made it any taller you’d have to be sure to wall mount it or secure it at the top so it didn’t get too top-heavy. I’d suggest either making it a little wider or making two. Hope that helps, have fun making them!

  10. sarah March 28, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    I also tried this and found that it was hard to cut straight lines but i just figure ill hide my mess ups with some of that really cute duct tape plus that will give it a little more support. I made mine a little different. Like my top self is smaller in dimension so that i could keep my Julep polishes from falling over. And my bottom shelf taller so that i could put my remover and nail art accessories in it. I also used glue on the inner edges of the shelves for extra support. took me about an hour total.

  11. Katy June 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Where do you get the foam board?

    • Libby July 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      Any supermarket should have it.

    • Libby July 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      any local supermarket should have it.

  12. Sam June 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Instead of using fabric, you could cover it in Duck Brand printed duct tape.

  13. Amber June 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Ahh! I spent the evening making this and I love it. My collection is a little overgrown so I’ll either keep a few in the shoe box or make another (although it might be a while before I have enough to fill a second one)

    Thank you for the lovely, easy to follow tutorial!!

  14. Jenni July 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    what would I do if I wanted to make a smaller one? would 2 boards be enough?

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