Get your nails DIYed


Being an artist and particularly one with a wrist injury, I think a lot about my hands and how useful they are (also how awful it would be if I lost use of them). For years I’ve never really been into decorating my hands with polish because it seemed like a waste – nails are for keeping short and clean so they don’t catch on delicate things or mark any of my projects. The other thing is that I have weak nails and nail polish never seems to last more than a couple of days before chipping off and making me look like a grungy 90s teen.

Recently I’ve been reading Super Kawaii Mama and Violet LeBeaux‘s entries on nail art and have been inspired to give it a go. While the 3D stuff is highly impractical for me, 2D techniques using pens and dotting tools are really appealing.

green with white dots
I bought a white Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen the other day, and have experimented a little bit with it but I have a lot of practice to undertake! I think I’ll also try to find and buy an actual dotting tool so I can use the nail polish I have on hand to create designs.

green lace pink and red dots
The pen I have is only really good for drawing dots, but I’ve played around with drawing other things and even tried using a toothpick and nail polish. The results weren’t that great, and even using bottom coats and top coats my polish was still chipping after two days! I’ll keep playing around with my nails and I hope one day I happen across the solution. I really want to be able to doodle on my nails the way I do with pen and paper!


  1. Hi Natalie,
    Whilst right now i have broken/short nails (for me, friends tell me they are still long), I usually have rather long nails and really enjoy the 2 hrs a week that is redoing them. While i was holidaying in the US a couple of years ago I stumbled across a stamping nail art kit… They are now available here via or… I would also mention that Konads stamping polishes are just normal nail polish thinned with polish remover… I now only use my cheap ($2 or on special) polishes to dilute for stamping… In relation to your nail art chipping… after a few years of testing different brands I am now a huge fan of Sally Hansen polishes and always use her base coat and “hard as nails” range in clear as a top coat, and if possible i avoid washing up but if i do i alway wear gloves as i have found somehow the hot water with detergent alway manages to get between the polish and the nail and cause chipping. As i'm not that great an artist with a paint brush i tend to use the stamps… Hope this info has been a little help..

  2. For one thing I have generally found Sally Hansen nail polishes to be absolutely terrible and flake more than any other nail polish I've ever used. I'm not sure what brands of polish you're using for the solid colours but if you're willing to spend the cash I will always always advocate either OPI or Creative nailpolish and almost nothing else. Chanel nailpolish is lovely but unless you have a secret ebay store or smething then the price tag is never worth it to me. A good coat of Creative undercoat and a UV top coat will always add about a week of wear to my nail polish.

    The other great trick if you're not doing so for stopping chipping is to make sure that your nails are well buffed first. The ridges and variations in a natural nail tend to cause rippling and tearing of the polish much faster than a smoother surface.

    As for nail art pens the ones that most of my nail artists use are these Nubar ones (or similar) which two way brushes, one for 'dotting' and one for brushing/striping

    Been uploading my nail art pics to a separate Picasa Gallery if you wanna check it out btw

  3. Thank you so much for linking me! :D Your dotty nails turned out really adorable, the mint green is a really pretty color. I have a dotting pen similar to yours and you would be surprised what you can make if you join the dots together, my fav at the moment is dotty lace ^_^ If you want t a tip for painting smaller details, just use a very thin paint brush and clean it in polish remover <3

  4. Stamps sound pretty cool, but I'd want to design my own stamps! Though the nail is an awfully tiny and awkward canvas, so stamps might be a good way to ease into it.

  5. Ah the buffing tip was one I'd forgotten. I actually dug out my buffer and had a go at my nails before redoing them and I think it will help a lot.

    I've got a few OPI colours, but don't like them as much as my Orly colours! The ones pictured in this post are BYS – really nasty cheap nail polish. I'll see if buffing my nails first helps the BYS stay on.

    Those Nubar pens look fantastic, thanks for linking me to them, and your Picasa gallery is really inspirational!

  6. I *love* the polkadots. I tried it on myself and it didn't turn out the best. It just kept reminding me of paint spatter. LOL

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