Anything "Duochrome" or "Chameleon" can also be found using the tag "Color Shifting"

Updates & Notices

This blog and some info within is out of date, with the occasional exception of the Chameleon Pigment Suppliers list, but it stands as is for reference. The date of any updates are noted at the top of each page/entry.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Best Buy Supplies 2

Everything Updated 4/22/16

This entry will cover the all important suspension agent used in polish, less important supplies wanted and needed like the BBs, calligraphy pen, line/dotting tools, and polish thinner.-MK

The Suspension Agent
Check Suspension Base Suppliers + for all possible sources.

You can buy BBs or ball bearings many places locally but since I enjoy shopping online, this is where I looked, Pyramid Air. Mine were Daisy brand, zinc plated. but you don't want that. Instead the best option from there becomes Marksman brand "premium grade steel", 1000 count for $3.95.

However, being leery of bad BBs, you have multiple options that are guaranteed safe in polish because that's what they're being sold for.

TKB Trading sells Monster Bead BBs in there nail polish section. Stainless steel in 2 different sizes. 
30 Small Monster Beads $0.50
300 Small Monster Beads $4.75
1000 Small Monster Beads $14.50

30 Zilla Beads $0.90
300 Zilla Beads $7.95
1000 Zilla Beads $23.50

Glitter Uniqe also sells "mixing balls" and comes in $0.50 lower for 1000 count.
25 - $1.00
300 - $4.50
1000 - $14.00
5000 - $60.00

Calligraphy pen holder and nib
DickBlick sells the Speedball pen holder for $1.39 and the 513EF nib for $0.99 totaling $2.38

Dotting Tools
You've seen my set on my tips & tricks page which I purchased off eBay but you don't have to buy a set of 5, they can be purchased singly and also come in wood as opposed to acrylic.

You can purchase a set of 3 wooden ones from TransDesign (do a search for dotting tool) for $3.95.

For the acrylic ones like mine, TransDesign sells single ones (pink I presume from their pic) for $1.35 or $6.05 for a set of 5. Again, you'll need to do a search.

Polish Thinner
While you apparently need Seche Restore for Seche Vite products, you don't need it for every other polish, not to mention that it's one of the most expensive out there. I bought my polish thinner from Nailite Inc., Pro Nail brand years ago and it has been perfectly serviceable. I had polish stored in a rubbing alcohol bottle which I later discovered was not air tight and the polish within was completely dried up. Finding a need for it recently I put my polish thinner to work, let some soak in the bottle of dried polish, shook it, stirred it and eventually the polish was back to its normal consistency and ready to be used.

For this list I omitted brands like Seche, Orly, Nail Tek etc because the product is a smaller size for a higher price. I've nothing against these brands or products, or their quality; it's possible the quality is worth the higher price but it's not for me. I also focused on 16 oz. bottles because that amount will last a good long time.

The stores I've found this time with the best deal sell the same product, though I cannot make out the brand from the pictures. Whatever the brand is, the bottle is 16 oz.
Starlight Nails & Beauty Supply $5.00
Nail Polish and More $5.95


  1. How are your zinc plated BBs holding up? A number of people buying indie brands have complained about rusty BBs in their polish recently and the consensus was that only stainless steel BBs should be used, but I haven't seen any mention of issues with the zinc-plated ones on your blog and was wondering if you've switched to stainless steel as well.

    1. I have had some problems with corrosion of the BBs but I couldn't say if they were mine (zinc plated Daisy brand), ones from TKB Trading or those I rescued from store bought polish. I am now on my second container of Daisy zinc plated BBs and out of 500+ frankens, the corrosion has only occurred maybe 10 times- not enough to blame any one type or brand. Perhaps the issue is not that zinc plating is a problem but that on some BBs, the plating is cracked, chipped or otherwise imperfect which allows the polish to start the corrosion process.

  2. The corrosion occurs, yep, because the zinc plating chips off during use, but the corrosion is from the material used under the zinc plating (not the polish) - the core is not stainless steel, but some cheaper metal. At any rate, this isn't a significant place to cut costs, and imo, just use stainless steel BBs :)

    More info to contribute:
    The suspension agent in polishes can be stearalkonium hectorite, stearalkonium bentonite (both types of finely milled clay compounds) or various forms of silica/silica compounds, all of which 'gel' and suspend liquids. So there are multiple suspension agents, but the clay compounds are costly and sold only in large amounts, and most of the above requires addition to the polish base at early stages of manufacture and with very high mixing/shearing forces.

    Some forms of fumed (hydrophobic) silica CAN be added to clear polish and provide ok/decent suspension powder. I've personally used some of the hydrophobic Aerosil fumed silica brands with OK, got great, results (pigments were ok, spectraflair sunk, all but ultrafine glitters sunk). I have heard that the 'System Three' brand of fumed silica incorporates much more easily and suspends glitters though. So there IS a totally home-brew method to try, it's just inconsistent and not that well tested yet :)

  3. You've made a good reference blog on nail polish crafting, thanks. Keep it up! :D

    The Gabels thinner has acetone, unfortunately. It's not even at the end of the ingredients list in minimal amounts like the Super Nail one (another one to avoid); it's mostly acetone. Hair Products lists the ingredients as "Acetone, Amyl Acetate".

    Nailite currently has no thinner listed as a product. The Supply Source thinner has a button to click on for the MSDS, but it doesn't work! I wonder about their ingredients. Ah well, there's still the Beauty Secrets thinner at Sally Beauty Supply in a pinch. :p

  4. "dotting tool"s are AKA dry embossing stylus. They are used with brass plates to emboss paper and there are lots of styles/sizes avaliable. My daughter had me searching all over the place for a dotting tool, when she finally found one and showed it to me I laughed because I have half a dozen in my craft room!

    I like the ones with formed grips, like pens that have the soft grip (Kwim?) because they are easier to control.


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