Never Ending Stick Swatching Project

Saturday, March 16, 2013
It's been almost a year now since I undertook this project of swatching all my polishes on sticks. I wanted to do a post on it but always convinced myself to wait until I'm completely done and have organized all the colors. Yeah, that's totally never going to happen. I realized that today that at any given time I have about 10-50 unorganized sticks that still need to be placed into the rings because my polish stash multiplies like wet Gremlins.

First, people always ask where I bought these sticks. My pal Bridget of Luxe Beauty Forever was the one who showed me these sticks on eBay. Search for "Nail Art Display Sticks" and they should pop up. They're about $3ish including shipping for a pack of 50 which includes a long screw that doesn't really fit all of them. In each package, there's usually about 3 or 4 broken ones because these are thin and plastic. I prefer the clear ones, some people like the white ones. They take forever arriving because the sellers that sell them are usually in Asia.

I use two different kinds of rings to hold them. I bought 2" book rings from Staples ($3ish for a package of 9 I think) but each ring holds only 25 sticks before they start to splay and look odd because of the circular shape.

I also ordered 3" book rings from eBay (paid about $12 including shipping) but much to my dismay, found that the holes on the stick are too small for the 3" rings. So I use the larger rings to hold smaller rings in groupings by finish and color. I just use a Sharpie to label them but overtime that wears off. I should use a label maker but the price and time needed to create 600 or more labels is rather daunting, and I actually don't own a printer (print everything at school).

I love having swatch sticks. In a weird way, swatching all of the sticks felt really fulfilling. I would have swatching marathons last summer, doing some each night while watching the Olympics. One thing that people also frequently ask on IG is how many coats I use and if I use topcoat. I prefer having them without topcoat, but that's just me. The number of coats depends on what sort of polish it is. Say for example, a creme. I would do as many as it takes for it to be opaque but for a layering glitter or flaked polish I would only do one or two, the number of coats you would actually paint on your nails over another color.

The other thing I like about swatch sticks is that it really helped me purge my stash. I came to realize that I had a lot of similar shades and when I could compare them right next to each other on sticks, it became much easier to give/swap away the duplicates (my sister became the happy recipient of 100 or so polishes). I'm still not nearly close to being done, I just ordered another 100 sticks so that I can swatch the Pure Ice polishes I won a few months ago. Currently I don't really have a way of storing them properly, they're sort of stashed in a box. I do intend to buy a stand alone towel rack so that the rings can hang off the bars and actually be displayed.

I'm like a janitor but only instead of a million keys, I have a million swatch sticks. I sorta wish I could wear them on my belt loop, not going to lie.

Do you swatch your polishes on wheels, sticks etc? What do you like about your system?

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