The Best Manicure To Match Your (Fake) Knuckle Tattoos

This ladylike nail art matches everything in my life, including my badass temporary body art.
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Publish date:
February 14, 2014
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How-To, butter london, nail polishes, Sally Hansen, temporary tattoos, nail wraps, nail stickers

When I was little, I thought I would grow up to be covered in tattoos. It was as fundamental to my vision of my adult self as a pair of red high-heeled shoes, my mum’s fur coat and purple eyeshadow.

I even knew what I wanted. On my arms, I wanted leaves and rainforest flowers and butterflies. On my back, I wanted a giant portrait of my historical role model, Queen Elizabeth I.

I had good taste at seven.

I am now 29, and I am the least tattooed of my friends. It’s more laziness than anything else--when I think about having to sit still for hours, and then THE ITCHING as they heal--I’m like “No, I think I’ll just stay here and watch Pretty Little Liars instead.”

So lately, I’ve been pretty into messing around with temporary tattoos. They never itch or peel, I can apply them in 30 seconds, AND they let me mess around with tattoo placements that I LOVE but wouldn’t get on my own body.

My hands are the number-one example. I love how hand tattoos look on other people, but my weird brain means that I could NOT DEAL WITH IT, NOT NOW, NOT EVER on myself. Because I hate having stuff on my hands. Hate it. Testing out makeup on my hands is an exercise in torture, a persistent itch I can’t scratch, and the feeling of relief when I can scrub it off is incredible. I just know that if I had tattoos on my hands, I would go full-on Lady Macbeth with some steel wool within 24 hours.

So unfortunately, hand or knuckle tattoos are out for me. Or they were, until Kelly.

Kelly has been totally ruling at the temporary tattoo game lately, and she inspired me to take a look at Tattly’s typographic selection. The ones that I picked out are small, delicate letters--far too small and delicate to be copied in ink for real, as they’d blur and fade too quickly on fingers. But for me, they’re perfect.

I can’t explain much about why I picked these two words for my knuckles. The best thing about secret societies is, y’know, their secrecy. So if you have to ask about the True Ladies, you’ll never know.

Anyway, I decided to come up with a fun and pretty manicure to compliment my new (fake) knuckle tattoos. I wanted something that was ladylike but not totally overdone, easy enough to do myself but awesome enough to grab attention. I’m really happy with what I ended up with.

For this colourful, triangular nail extravaganza, here’s what you’ll need:

• A vivid dark pink nail polish. I used Snog by Butter London.

• Sally Hansen Nail Strips in Bling It On, a light but bright pink glitter.

• Scissors and a pen.

• A good top coat.

• An orange stick.

First, paint your nails with the dark pink polish. I applied two coats to my nails and let them dry completely. As always, nail polish is totally dry when you can lightly touch the “face” of your nail to your lips and the polish does not feel sticky, tacky or cold.

Next, we are going to be cutting triangles out of the nail strips. This is SO MUCH EASIER that free-handing them with polish, you have no idea.

Before you cut anything: PEEL THE PLASTIC OFF THE STRIP. I forgot to do this so many times, it was embarrassing. If you cut the triangle first, you’ll be able to remove the paper back--but not the plastic front. You don’t want that. Plastic off first; trust me.

Now, decide how far up the nail bed you want the triangle to come. This will determine the height of your triangle. I wanted my triangles to be quite tall for a couple of reasons: One, because I wanted them especially noticeable, and two, because in trials I found that the longer the triangle, the easier it was to position on the nail.

Next, flip the nail strip over and draw a dot representing the highest point of your triangle. The cut from both outer corners, and voila! An even triangle!

Peel the paper backing away from the polish strip--it’s easier to do this from the very tip, rather than the base--position the triangle on your nail and gently press it down. Use your tweezers or the tip of your orange stick (like I did!) if it helps. This takes a bit of practice, but it gets easy very quickly.

Press down and gently rub the triangle-strip to bond it to the nail. You can use the flat edge of the orange stick to do this, but I just use my finger.

Get rid of the excess strip around the base with an orange stick. I use the one that comes in the box, because the edge is extra-sharp. Don’t hurt your cuticles, though!

And in less time than you think, you are done! Finish up with a coat or two of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Topcoat, aka: The Red Bottle, allowing each to totally dry before applying the next. The pink glitter nail strips are almost totally smooth, unlike a lot of glitter polishes, but I still found that two coats created an even surface on the face of my nail so that I didn’t feel the edges of the glitter triangle.

Let’s see how it looks all finished. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is my BEST AND FAVOURITE manicure I’ve done in the last 12 months--and it’s so easy!

Looks pretty good, right? Let’s see a close-up.

And how good does it look with my tattoos?

Ladylike with edge. That’s how I roll.

So what do you think, everyone? Do you like this manicure? The pink on pink is accidentally a little Valentines-y, isn’t it? Do you have or want hand tattoos, or is that a bridge you don’t want to cross? What would your imaginary or real-like knuckle tattoos say? You have no idea how much effort it took not to do “SERF BORT.”

Editor's Note: Marci here. Alle eventually DID do SERF BORT, and she sent me a picture. It can't not go in this article.