All the Things You Need to Start Dabbling in DIY Nail Art
Some folks say nail art is over.
But one quick look around the internet would prove otherwise. I think nail art is one of those trends that is here to stay. For one thing we have amazing nail artists like missladyfinger creating super dope and really chic nail art based on runway fashion (!!!) Then there’s the fact that along with looking cool, it almost becomes a hobby if you get good at it.
Long story short, if you are just getting into it but feel like you missed the bandwagon, don’t fret.
If you ARE just starting out though, it really helps to gather a few items to help you in your journey. Practice is important, but so are the tools. So here are a list of things I wish I had found a year or two ago, instead of finding out about them all separately and compiling my little nail art tool box slowly.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nail art wasn’t painted with the brush that comes in the nail polish bottle. You can find cheap sets of nail brushes for around $1.50 which work perfectly well. You can also use other brushes which aren’t specifically designed for nails. I love to use my old eyeliner brush for less detailed things like colorful french tips, or filling in a half moon.
You can also use them dipped into a little acetone to clean up any polish you get on your skin.
Take a look around your old makeup brushes, I bet there are things in there that you never use, which might be perfect for your nails.
So yeah the tools are important, but you DO need to practice too. I suppose you could practice on your fingers, but if you screw it up royally, it’s annoying to clean up, and you’re nails can really suffer from over-doing it with remover.
I simply get myself a few nail wheels and practice on those. That way if I really like what I did I always have a reference so I can recreate it too.
For less of a hand painted look, and more of a crisp geometric effect you might want to look into some things to serve as sort of a stencil. Striping tape is a thin, sticky tape which you can use to make stripes and shapes on your nails.
You can either use the tape itself to make stripes (but just make sure you use a lot of topcoat so it stays on) or you can lay down a color and wait for it to dry, make your pattern in the tape and paint over it. Then when you peel it off the color underneath will peak through. I love doing this with a neon color underneath and a neutral on top (like in this post)
For half moon and french manicures it’s a bit different. Bandaids are your best friend.
For an easy half moon manicure paint your entire nail the color you want the half moon to be. When it’s dry just place the round end of the bandaid over the half moon area and paint the color you want to rest of the nail to be over the top. Peel the bandaid, add topcoat and done.
And it’s the same procedure for a french manicure, except you will place the bandaid over most of the nail leaving only the tip exposed.
A small pair of scissors are very handy to have when you are doing nail art because you can use them to snip your striping tape off the roll, or cut your bandaids in half to utilize both rounded ends at the same time. It’s a simple tool, but easy to forget.
Sharpie markers can look surprisingly cool when used on top of nail polish. Black, gold and silver sharpies look especially good, and most of the time people don’t even realize it’s marker.
I like to use them to make stripes and shapes on light colors for a hand drawn, but still kinda precise look.
And then there’s my new favorite, nail charms. Like jewelry for your nails! There are a ton of bows and rhinestones and things like that, but for me I like to stick with some good old fashioned studs. All you have to do is paint your nails as usual and then use a tiny dab of nail glue to stick some studs on. Even just one at the base of your nail (like I did here) adds a ton of edge to an otherwise average manicure. You can also combine them with some glitter polish, which looks pretty sweet if I do say so myself!
And those are the basic things you need to get going. Just don’t be afraid to get creative! Play with color and texture and you will probably come up with some really cool stuff.