Art at Your Fingertips
What is Nail Art?
Nail art is the process of painting images and designs onto finger or toenails. Instead of the traditional plain, one tone nail varnish application, nail art adds dimension and interest to the nails. Nail art can range from simple designs, such as stripes and dots, to complex images depicting flowers, people, abstract designs and more. Nail art is often wanted for special occasions, such as weddings and balls, but sometimes people just enjoy having art at their fingertips everyday.
3D Nail Art
3D nail art takes nail art one step further, into the third dimension. It is the practise of creating three dimensional artwork on nails. 3D nail art is usually created on fake nails which are then affixed to the natural nail.
Nail Art Tools
As well as the traditional bottle of nail varnish with the accompanying brush, a number of other tools are needed to create nail art. Some of these are objects that you will probably have around the house, whereas others are more specialised and will need to be purchased. A lot of these are available in kits or you can buy them individually. We’ve listed the most popular and useful below.
- Orangewood stick/tooth pick – The likelihood is that you’ll already have these at home. They are really useful for delicate processes such as applying rhinestones to nails.
- Dotting tool – as you would assume, this tool allows you to create dot designs. It’s a long tool, like a pen, with a spherical head. It comes in a range of sizes.
- Striping tape – You can purchase special nail tape or you can use masking tape cut to size as an alternative. Tape is used to section off and cover parts of the nail while you paint over it. You then remove the strip to reveal the colour underneath next to the new colour. It’s perfect for striped and geometric designs.
- Nail art brushes – There are a large number of nail art brushes available, they usually come in packs of 15. They all do different things, for example, a liner brush is very thin and used to paint thin lines and designs, whereas a shader brush is wider and ideal for backgrounds and larger areas.
- Nail art pen – These come with very thin nibs on a bottle of nail varnish and can be used like regular pens to draw directly onto the nail. They are often used as an alternative to brushes.
- Nail stencils –There is a huge range of stencils for nails available. Stencils are placed on the nail and then painted over, leaving a pattern on the nail.
Nail Art Courses
There are several tutorials for nail art on the internet, but if you want something more hands on and indepth then you may choose to attend a nail art course. They are usually short courses and range from beginner through to expert. They are often taken by nail technicians and beauty therapists who want to expand their skills, however, you can undertake them even if you don’t work in beauty but just want to learn a fun new technique.
To find out more about nail art courses near you, search for local courses. They are usually held by a learning institution or beauty academy.
Easy Nail Art Designs
Get started with these easy nail art designs.
- Dots – To create a polka-dot look, paint your base colour onto your nails as normal. Next, take a dotter, dip it into a different colour and lightly stamp it onto the surface. Repeat as many times as you want in your desired design. When dry, paint over with a clear topcoat.
- Two-tone nails – For half and half colour, paint the base colour as normal, this will be the lighter shade. When completely dry, cover half the nail with masking tape, down the length of the nail. Paint over this light shade with a darker colour on exposed side. Remove the tape to reveal half and half colour. Apply a clear top coat when dry.
- Stripes – Once a base colour has been applied, stripes can be created in a number of ways. You can use a thin liner brush to paint them on, draw them on with a nail art pen or use stripe tape to mask off the parts you want to keep the base colour then paint over the top. When you remove the tape you should have a straight, defined line.