I tested out Pinterest manicure tutorials to see if I could recreate them at home or if I would be another manicure fail.
If you love nail art, you could easily spend an afternoon looking at all of the nail artist ideas online. There are so many to choose from, whether you like goblins, cats, or Pop Art designs. Some nail art is like little works of art on your fingertips and probably takes as long as a painting. There are some manicures that are best left to those who have a Masters in Fine Art, but there are lots that look fairly simple to recreate. I’ve decided to test a few out to see how easy they are to do yourself.
I paint my nails on a regular basis, but I’m not recreating “Starry Night” on my nails every weekend. If I want a design for my manicure, I either use a funky topcoat or printed nail wraps. So, I chose five popular and seemingly straightforward designs that I had never tried before to see if my mani looked as good as the tutorials I saw on Pinterest.
Take a look to see whether I was able to recreate them or whether I should submit them to the #ManicureFails collection:
1. Spun Sugar Nail Art
This manicure goes against regular nail polish application rules because you’re waiting for the polish to start to dry out and become stringy before you apply it. Timing is key because you don’t want it too runny or to have completely dried out.
I decided to use three colors instead of the full rainbow. I put a blob of polish on a piece of baking parchment. You have to watch it closely and keep stirring it with a toothpick to see if the strings are forming. Once you get that, it is just a matter of dragging/spreading it across before it completely tries out. Of course, that’s easier said than done. My mani ended up being less stringy and more like fluffy spun sugar. I could have used more nail polish, but I didn’t want to wait for more blobs to dry out, so I made the best of what I had.
2. Water Marble
This technique looks so cool. You fill up a bowl of water, drop nail polish on it then mix it around to form your design. Then you stick your finger in and clean up the mess. There are different versions where you can create the effect by using plastic and creating nail wraps, but this seemed like too much fun to pass up. It is also advisable to learn how to make gel nail strips last longer.
I used three colors to create my design. I opted to grease my fingers with Vaseline instead of using tape before I placed them in the water/nail polish solution. That is what my hands looked like after I submerged them in the mixture.
The nail polish turned into a film and came off fairly easy. This is what my nails looked like after the clean-up. I tried to run a brush around the perimeter of my nails, but the marble film was folding and ripping in places, so I didn’t want to clean them up completely in case you couldn’t see my gorgeous water marbling, complete with bubbles and missing parts.
The lesson I learned is you need to use a bowl big enough to dip all your fingers in because you don’t want to be dipping near a place you’ve already stuck a finger; otherwise, you’ll get uneven patches. I also need to work on my dipping technique, so I don’t ruin the design. The prettiest parts ended up on my knuckles and fingers instead of my nails.
3. Ombre Nail Art Tutorial
This looks simple. You apply the nail polish to the sponge, blot in on your finger then you’re left with a gorgeous ombre design. There’s a bit of clean up, but this still seems great for nail art newbies.
My first attempt turned out looking something like this. I wet the sponge and applied the nail polish to it, then stamped in on but there as barely any color transfer.
For my second layer, I added a lot more polish to the sponge. There is more color on my nails, but the pattern is inconsistent. I found the sponge awkward to work with, and it wasted a lot of nail polish. I like the idea of using the small eyeshadow sponge brushes better because they are more precise. I also think it works better if you paint your nails and then sponge over the lines to blend the ombre.
4. Negative Space
This is a cool update to the french manicure. You use blue painter’s tape to get the shaped tips then you use a toothpick to add the smaller gold triangle.
I have attempted stripes and french manicures using regular scotch tape, and those did not turn out well (read: I ended up ripping most of the polish off when the tape came off), so I was worried that the blue painters’ tape would be just as disastrous. Surprisingly, it did an excellent job. I got a really clean line. For the smaller gold triangles, I painted those on with the regular nail polish brush to see how they would turn out. This was one of the only manicures I didn’t want to take off. Success.
5. Outline Manicure
This is a unique version combining an outline manicure and a moon manicure. You paint your nails one color. Then you add a contrasting color in the middle and finish by using the original one to add two moons.
The tutorial looks like they use a regular nail polish brush, so I decided to stick with that. It would be much easier to do it with manicure pens or a skinny brush, but not everyone has those, so that’s why I used the regular brushes from the bottle. When I painted the beige color in the middle, I found it a bit awkward to get a crisp edge and get an even finish because there was nowhere to brush off some of the excess polish. The moons were fairly easy to do in one quick sweep, but they were thicker and not as crisp as they could have been. Overall, this turned out better than I expected, but the smaller brush would make it so much easier and neater.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2018. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.