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Nail Polish Swatch Key Ring:
Keeping track & organizing colors to avoid repeats

First off, I have to be honest with all my readers. It’s serious (or at least my husband will tell you it is).... I think I have a nail polish addiction. Recently, I have been purchasing more and more nail polish shades, sparkles, and metallics (to see some pictures of my home manis, visit my Facebook Page. I love all the colors and options I have when it is time to switch out my home manicure. The problem started when my collection grew to the point where I began to forget what colors I had already purchased. I was not buying the exact same polish, but polishes from two different brands that look exactly the same color. When shopping for a new color, I simply couldn’t remember all the shades I had waiting at home.

After some online research on how other beauty DIYers were organizing growing collections of nail polish (and/or makeup), I found two main ways: 1. The Acyric Nail Wheel consisting of ordering these specialty "wheels of nails", which you would then paint and label each nail with a different nail polish color. 2. The Index Card Method, which you would paint a small swatch and label the color next to the swatch. Both of these are sufficient methods, but had a couple of cons that did not work in solving my problem of re-buying similar shades. I needed a method where swatches could be reorganized as my collection grew and something easy to throw in my purse to reference while shopping for new colors. Here is what I came up with…..

My Method:
Nail Polish Color Swatch Key Ring

This method uses movable, petite, individually labeled swatches that are organized on a 2" key ring (called a loose leaf ring at any office supply store). You can easily reorganize as your nail shade collection grows and changes. I also like that I can easily remove the swatches from the ring to see two specific shades next to each other. This is helpful when I plan to use more than one color in my manicure. This swatch ring is also easy to store or carry in a purse when shopping for more nail polish colors.

How to Make Your Own Nail Color Swatch Ring
You only need a few simple supplies to make the nail color key ring. All the supplies can be found at a local office supply store like Staples or Office Depot. These supplies are also readily available on Amazon if you do not live near an office supply store.

Supplies Needed for this Project:

  • Metal Rimmed 1.25" Key Tags These usually come in a package of 50 or more. Just be sure you purchase enough to have one for each polish color. Many times these will come with another key chain attachment for attaching a set of keys. I have found it easier just to remove these, so the tag can be placed direction on the 2" Loose Leaf Ring.

  • 2" Loose Leaf Rings You can fit about 50 Key Tags on one Loose Leaf Ring. If you have more than 50 polishes you want to catalog, you will need more than one ring. Generally, these rings come in multipacks.

  • Ball Point Pen Pick a pen with a finer point that won’t smudge, so that writing small on the back of the Key Tag will be easier.

  • All the Nail Polish Colors in Your Collection Gather up all the nail polishes in your collection before you start making your swatches.

How to Make: Step by Step Instructions

  1. Prepare Tag: Choose a nail polish color and pick up one Key Tag. Remove the metal key loop from the key tag.

  2. Write the nail polish brand, color, number and any other reference information on the back of the Key Tag. The metal rim on the back of the tag has a less finished look than the front.

  3. Paint Swatches: On the front of the tag, paint a swatch or dip the brush into the polish to gather up a good 1-3 drops on the applicator brush. Pick up the tag and swirl the Key Tag in a circular motion to spread the drop of polish into a larger circular swatch.

  4. Dry Your Swatches: Set the wet swatch aside on a FLAT surface to dry for 4-6 hours. Possibly overnight depending on how thick of a drop you made.

  5. Organize Your Swatches: Decide how you want to organize your swatches on the ring. I did mine by color (pinks, purples, oranges/coral, reds, blacks/whites/greys/silvers, & other), but you may decided to organize them by brand, saturation, etc. The polish categories can easily be changed at a later time. Lay out your swatches according to the order you choose. Open the 2” Loose Leaf Ring add the swatches (and optional category markers) in you desired order. Close the ring and your done!

  6. Optional Color Category Markers: You can create category markers/separators with extra Key Tags or other hand made tags. Simply label with the category name. This will make it easier to see where one category ends and another begins. If you have enough polishes, you may consider keeping each category on a separate ring.

  7. Storing Your Swatch Key Ring: If you plan to throw this in a purse, I recommend putting in a Ziplock bag to keep it cleaner and free from other marks.
Nail Polish Swatch Key Ring

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