By Pony McTate

Finally - some vindication for saving all those old nail colours, says Pony McTate.

It's always nice being proved right. I am a hoarder from way back - rarely-used retro bed linen, numerous food-shaped jugs, my legendary small cardboard box collection. So when I finally came across a use for the millions of congealing old nail polishes I'd been saving at the back of my bathroom cupboard, I felt smugly vindicated.

These pretty little dishes use old nail polish in a clever water-marbling technique. I've found that the cheaper and nastier the nail polish, the better it works. Save the good stuff for your nails - you want those viscous concoctions separating out in the bottle. If it's really globby, add a drop or two of nail polish remover to the bottle and give it a good shake. You'll need to experiment a bit to see what works best.


There's also a certain charm to finding a fresh use for something, rather than simply turfing it out. So many things are so cheaply and readily available these days - I'm in the camp that finds it both a blessing and a curse. A bit of mindful consumerism about where stuff comes from, how it's produced and where it ends up is good for you - and everybody else.

What you'll need

•White porcelain dishes
•A big bowl lined with a plastic bag then filled with water
•Nail polish (not quick dry)
•A toothpick
•Newspaper to protect surfaces
•Paper towels to wipe away any mistakes

Step one

Get everything assembled before you start. You will need to work quickly, but don't worry. If your first attempt isn't to your liking, you will be able to wipe it off and start again.

Step two

Pour a few drops of nail polish into the water. It should sit in a thin film on the surface of the water. If it forms a ball and sinks straight to the bottom of the bowl try breaking the ball with a toothpick. If it doesn't float up into a film, use a different nail polish. You can leave the blobs in the bottom of the bowl where they lie.

Step three

Gently dip your dish into the film of nail polish. Swirl it around to pick up film on the side of your dish. You can layer it up if you would like a deeper colour: just take out the dish and repeat the process with more drops of nail polish. You can try another colour too.

Handy tip: If you get thick globby patches like this, simply wipe off the polish with a paper towel. You can redip it if you wish. You might also find that the nail polish dries on the surface of the water before you can dip in your dish. If this happens, use a paper towel to blot up the offending nail polish and start again. Quick-dry nail polish is especially tricky; avoid it.

Step four

When you are happy with your dish, leave it to dry in a safe place. Do not use the edge of the sink where it could fall off, shatter into numerous pieces, along with your heart, and then have to be glued back together before the photoshoot. Sigh.

Instagram: @pony.mctate