This DIY Composition Book Manicure Is Surprisingly Easy

It's like having a diary on your hands, without exposing any secrets.
Publish date:
June 11, 2014
nail art, nails, kate spade, manicure, discount, winners

I picked up this Kate Spade Saturday nail polish set at Winners (the Canadian equivalent of TJ Maxx) a few weeks ago. Sadly, the set isn't available online, but I'm mentioning it here because the color palette serves a storytelling purpose.

The shades included--pure white, black, taupe, and yellow--were immediately inspiring. They reminded me of something... office supplies.

I didn't know what direction I was going to go in when I set out to paint my nails that night, but it evolved into something that I've dubbed "The Composition Book Manicure."

With the exception of my thumbs, I painted each nail in a color from the kit. Then I painted my thumbs with a base of white and semi-haphazardly dotted them with black acrylic paint to create a dalmatian-spot-meets-angsty-teen-diary pattern.

I was happy with the result, but decided to push it a step further. I also wanted to share it with you guys, so I recreated the look with nail polish shades you can actually go out and easily purchase. The white is Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Color in White On, the black is Rimmel Lasting Finish Professional Nail Polish in Black Satin, and the yellow is NARS Andy Warhol Nail Polish in 15 Minutes, which is actually limited edition, but there are plenty of other good yellows out there that you could use. I decided to skip the taupe because it ended up not particularly making sense with the new "vision" I had. I also used dollar store acrylic paints again.

I started by painting each nail with the base shades I had chosen. White for the thumb, index finger, and ring finger, yellow for the middle finger, and black for the pinkie.

For the ring finger, I wanted to do an accent nail and recreate the look of pages in a composition book. I mixed my acrylic paints (white with primary red and blue, respectively) to create a soft red and a pale blue. I used a very fine paintbrush to paint a red line going vertically near the left side of my nail, and then cleaned the brush and painted multiple blue lines horizontally across to create the page lines.

For the thumb, which would mimic the pattern of a composition book cover, I dipped my paintbrush in black acrylic paint and daubed it on the white base with a pretty free hand. This is as simple as nail art can get; you're basically dotting little blobs. There's no need for perfection.

I left the rest of my nails as is and, once everything was relatively dry, I made sure my artwork was safe (at least for a day or so, I'm not very careful) by applying a clear topcoat.

I guarantee that giving yourself this manicure will be 100% less embarrassing than actually going back and reading your teen diaries. Hooray!

What should I try next? Go on... Fuel my writerly manicure inspiration fires!