I was getting ready to attend my mom’s annual summer party and wanted to do something summery. I knew I’d also be swimming in the pool, so I decided…mermaid nails! (Funnily enough, while I was painting some background music from Pirates of the Caribbean came on shuffle! Ha!) Now of course, there are a ton of interpretations on what mermaid’s nails would look like out there, but this is what I came up with! (Tutorial below!)
Pretty, huh? I love the shine of all the colors together and the pearls draped over, it looked especially cool underwater. It was pretty easy as well! If you’re curious how I did it, keep reading!
First, you’re going to need your polishes. Now, what you use is completely up to you- this would look great with purple tones instead, even red/orange….but this is just what I used. You’ll need a base coat & a nice thick top coat. I used the Rock Hard base coat and Seche Vite top coat. The polishes (L-R) are OPI Mermaid Tears, Zoya Charla, Revlon Gold Coin & China Glaze Luxe & Lush.
You’ll also need a few supplies. White acrylic paint (I got this at walmart for like 56 cents). A small brush for painting on the scales. Another small brush for additional details (totally optional). White pearls designed for nail art (I purchased mine here on amazon). A makeup sponge. And finally, a pair of tweezers. Now, you can use regular tweezers but I love this small slanted ones (again purchased from amazon) for picking up tiny stones.
First, prepare your sponge by cutting off a small piece.
Next, paint on your base coat & base color. Here I used 2 coats of mermaid tears. Wait until this is completely dry to continue! If not, you may end up pulling up the base color when you do your sponging and it just won’t look very good! For purposes of this tutorial, the nail on the left is going to be the accent nail and the one on the right is what will be done on all the other nails (as shown in my photos above).
The next step is the sponging. You can find a lot of tutorials for this online, so I’ll keep it simple here. I like gripping the sponge with the tweezers rather than using my hands, because when I used my hands I always screw up and get some on my forefinger & thumb of the hand I’m holding the sponge in. Paint a little bit of Charla onto the sponge.
Now, dab the sponge onto the nail, concentrating most of the color on the tip and working downward.
It should look something like this after your first try. Now, how many times you repeat this is up to you and how dark you want it. I probably re-painted the sponge 3-4 times.
This is how it looked after I was done. I went ahead and did the second nail as well since they will have the same base.
Next, I took Gold Coin and sponged it on. I did this a little different- I only painted the sponge once, and only with a small bit of polish. I dabbed about twice in a couple spots to get most of the polish off and then lightly used the rest all over the nail. I think it makes a cool effect!
Next, take Luxe & Lush and paint a coat over the entire nail. You can do 2 coats if you want more flakies- totally up to personal preference. I actually think this looks pretty neat even without anything additional added! My boyfriend said at this point they actually look like Dragon Egg’s to him! I think they would look really cool with black or dark green scales painted on top to achieve that effect! Maybe next time.
Before we go any further, you’re going to want to let everything dry for a good amount of time. I did not put on a top coat yet but you can if you like. The benefits of doing one are since we are using acrylic paint for the next step, if you mess up on the paint you can easily wash it off and re-try it without messing up the polish underneath. Anyways, while everything is drying, go ahead and get your pearls ready.
Now, we will start the painting! Yours will probably look a lot better than mine, haha. My brush kind of sucked and I’m not good at tiny details anyways. So what I did when I did the design on my actual nails is used a stamping plate (specifically, Mash Plate #39 which I bought here) with a similar design. However, I know not everyone will have that plate or want to buy it, so for the tutorial I wanted to show how to do a similar design with just paint. (Also, I did the tutorial portion of this post before my plate arrived in the mail!) But if you suck at painting like me, just buy the plate!!
This next step is optional, but I take the other little brush and paint a little more Gold Coin on some of the ‘scales’.
Now we’re going to get ready to add the pearls to both nails- there are a couple ways you can do this. The method I’m using here is to paint Seche Vite onto the entire nail and then quickly placing the pearls on and pressing down. This is easiest if you can work fast enough to get them on while it’s still tacky. Alternatively, you can use a small brush to paint on a little bit of topcoat where you want each pearl to go, and then place it. This way you’re working 1 by 1. Either way is fine.
After that, apply a generous coat of Seche Vite. Having a nice thick top coat is going to ensure that your pearls stay on the nail for the longest time possible.
You’re all done! Wait for them to dry & then go forth and do mermaid-y things! 🙂 Let me know if you try it out, I’d love to see pictures!