This Manicure Makes It Look Like Magical Jewels Grow Where Your Nails Should Be

I chose to do this look with red, because I love rubies, but you could create amethysts, sapphires, emeralds... whatever speaks to your particular brand of magic.
Publish date:
February 5, 2016
nail art, butter london, opi, maincures, Sally Hansen, art brushes, magic

When I started putting this tutorial together, my intention was to create some nails that reminded me of an old leather-bound book. I can't remember where I got that idea from, and I still might make that tutorial happen one day, but as I worked, I was struck by some kind of divine inspiration.

So, here we are with a guide to turning your nails into awesome magical jewels. Come with me as we channel our inner wizard or witch!

This tutorial is going to show you how to create magic on your nails with like, the least magical item in your kitchen: cling film. Side note: I am British and it's too weird for me to call it Saran Wrap. I'm afraid that if I type it too much the phrase will burn itself on my brain and everyone I know will think I'm crazy the next time I say it, so please bear with me.

One of the simplest ways to create dope nail art without becoming incredibly skilled with a paintbrush is to learn to do different textures. The dry-brushing nail art I showed you before works on exactly that basis. Textured nail art usually requires a simple technique, but achieves maximum impact by creating a sense of depth on the nail, which really makes your manicure stand out.

For this look I used the following:

  • OPI in Rendezvous in my Boudoir as my base colour.
  • Sally Hansen in Pat on the Black as my accent colour.
  • Butter London in Champers as my outline colour.
  • A small paintbrush.
  • Tinfoil for decanting and mixing polish.
  • A small square of cling film.

I chose to do this look with red, because I love rubies and red nails are my favourite power look. But you could create amethysts, sapphires or emeralds, too — whatever speaks to your particular brand of magic.

Ready your tools, and let's get started on the transfiguration.

Step 1: Prep and Paint

Prep your nails. Paint on two good coats of your base colour and allow to dry fully. It's important that your base colour is completely dry before you start with the cling film bit, because you’ll get a smudgy mess otherwise.

Step 2: The Cling Film Bit

Grab your square of cling film and twist it into a little bud shape, as you see below. Make sure you've got lots of nice folds in the part that you're going to apply to the nail. That's going to give you the texture.

Decant a small amount of polish onto the tinfoil. Dab the cling film into the polish, and then continue dabbing on a clean part of the tinfoil to clean off the excess. You only want a little bit of colour.

Then dab away on your nails! As always, go gently to achieve the best effect.

Step 3: Clean Up

Your nails might look a bit rubbish at this point — mine certainly did. Clean up the mess around your fingertips with a brush or a cotton bud and you’ll feel a bit happier.

Step 4: Outline

Outlining your nails is the trickiest part, but it takes this manicure to the next level. I use a size-0 paintbrush from an art shop, and it's perfect for this job. I prefer shorter brushes for this, rather than the long, thin ones you see in beauty supply stores.

Decant some of your silver or gold polish onto the surface. Use only a small amount at a time, because it's going to start to dry up as you work. Working in sections, begin to outline your nail with the brush. I kept my line about the width of the brush, gently applying the colour to the free edge, sides, and base of my nails.

Take it slowly at first, and don't expect to get a perfect line first time. If you do mess up, clean your brush and then dip it in some nail-polish remover. You can delicately undo mistakes that way.

Before you finish, look back over each outline, filling in any spots that look a bit thin, and smoothing out wobbly lines.

Step 5: Top Coat

Chances are your outline is thicker in some places than others, so be patient at this stage and allow plenty of time for it to dry before applying your top coat. Be careful not to smudge your outline when you apply your final layer — we want a nice crisp contrast between the two parts of the design.

Let me tell you, though, when you apply the topcoat it is a straight up REVELATION. The subtle texture created by the cling film practically glows. Behold your powerful creation!

Step 6: Try Out Some Spells

Stretch out your pointer finger and say some incantations – wingardium leviosa and the like – just to see if anything happens. You never know.

  • Do you believe in magic, or are you just in it for the swag like me?
  • Any other household items you use in your beauty routine?
  • Is it wingardium levi-OH-sa or wingardium levio-SAAH?