Try This: Type Tray Nail Polish Display

Use an old type tray to display nail polish!Hi, it’s Mandi! I just adore seeing antique type trays re-purposed in modern home decor, though I could never think of anything I had to display in one. But every time I came across an old tray on my antiquing adventures, I pushed my brain harder to come up with a collection I surely had at home that deserved to be displayed. Then one day it hit me—nail polish, duh! What took me so long? Check out how simple it was to add an ombré effect to my nail polish display with the step-by-step photos below.

Use an old type tray to display nail polish!Supplies:
type tray with slots to fit nail polish
-cardstock in 3 shades of the same color
-double-sided tape

Use an old type tray to display nail polish!

Step One: Measure the length and width of each row. Make sure you measure each row, as they may vary in size.

Step Two: On the cardstock, draw rectangles the same size as the above measurement. Make sure to keep track of the measurements so the final display has the colors blending in the correct order. 

Use an old type tray to display nail polish!Step Three: Use double-sided tape to stick the cardstock onto the back of the display. I was able to slide my long strip of cardstock behind the wooden slots, but you may need to cut down the cardstock to fit each cubby.

Use an old type tray to display nail polish!Use an old type tray to display nail polish!You could hang this display on the wall or just rest it on the countertop like I did. This nail polish display also looks great in our powder room with my antique box jewelry display! –Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Spring and Valentine of the Signature Collection

  • Cute! That sort of looks like an old cassette tape holder rather than a type tray. Either way, a great repurpose!

  • Love this idea and the wall! Is there a DIY on how to create the pattern on the wall? I’d love it for my office!

  • So cute!!! I can’t even! I really want one!
    Xx from the Girl in the Houndstooth Coat

  • Be careful using repurposed type trays. Most were used for storing lead type… and obviously lead dust is not something you want to come into contact with. Hopefully this goes without saying, but make sure you thoroughly clean yours out if you find one at a flea market or antique shop.

  • Nice, but it’s better for your nail polish to store it in a dark and cool place…

  • what an adorable idea to display all your nail polishes! xo

  • What a great idea! Sure wish I had somewhere to display something like this.

  • This is so creative and clever! I love it! Makes me want to go thrifting.

  • This is so simple, but so very pretty and perfect! Thank you for the idea! x

  • This is great! I’m always looking for DIY ideas that incorporate antiquing/stuff-I-found-in-the-basement objects, and this one is an Anthropologie hack for sure.

  • Such a great idea! Now I don’t have any nailpolish because my nails are too frail. But, this could be an awesome way to display the rocks (yeah) I collect when travelling. Thanks 😀

  • This is super cute, but I feel like I own way too much nail polish for this. haha

  • This is such a great, easy idea! It would be perfect for me; I have an ever-growing collection of nail polish, and it’d be really nice to have a better way to store and display them.

  • Cute! I keep all my nailpolishes displayed in a glass container on my vanity but this would be a fun way to change it up!

  • Cute idea – I love type trays. But this would only hold a tiny fraction of my collection. I’d need a much bigger type tray! 😉

  • Loving the touch of ombré. And anything to display a growing collection of nail polishes has my name written all over it!! // timidlioness

  • I like this!! Also, I have 3 of the same shades of Essie 🙂


  • This would be great, but hard to fit a lot of nail polish in. I have over 20 colors!

  • This is such a cute idea! Mine are all hidden in a draw but why hide the beautiful colours xx

  • I don’t have that many nail polishes so this is the perfect way to store them! I can see all of them and it looks organized! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • We had something like that at home when I was little and it contained beautiful figurines. I love the idea to use it for nail polish!

  • wow…such a simple thing transforms into something diy!


  • This is so cute! My roomie and I were talking about displaying our nail polishes – this looks like the perfect solution.

  • How lovely! I don’t own much nail-polish these days, but I like the organization-repurpous idea 🙂


  • I love this. I need to come up with a DIY solution for my nail polishes. I see you like essie polishes. I like them too!

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