Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hand-painted Lace Tutorial

Many of you remember this post featuring  my hand-painted lace manicure.  I have received a few requests for a tutorial on this manicure so I put one together the other day.  This post does contain MANY PICTURES and the tutorial will be mostly picture with little commentary. Tutorial, go!

When I originally posted this manicure it was done with greigey taupe and white.  While this is my favorite combination for this manicure, this can be replicated with anything from neutrals, to bold hues and beyond.  For this tutorial I changed the colors for 2 reasons:

1. it's easier to see black & the contrast would be picked up better on my camera

2. I used a french manicure brush (see above) and I wanted to show you that you can do this with everyday items you have at home.  This is a manicure EVERYONE can do, not just the person with 1 million nail art tools:)

This is what you will need:
-base/background color
-another color of polish to create your "lace"
-small old makeup brush or paintbrush (mine was from this brush kit with for $1.99)
-skewer, toothpick, or pin to make the fine lines
-remover pen for cleanup

***I apologize for any blurry pictures, I was having trouble focusing my camera in macro***
Step 1: Prep your nails, use your basecoat, etc. Let dry completely. 
Step 2: Paint your nails in your base color.  I used Sinful Colors Easy Going ($1.99).  Make sure you achieve the desired opacity in as few coats as possible.  I used 2 coats. Let dry completely.(I apologize for my chipped nails--this mani was old)
Step 3: Get your fine brush.  Unscrew the lid of your layering polish and scrape the polish off the brush onto your brush.  My layering polish was Sinful Colors Black on Black ($1.99).
Step 4: Pick which finger you are accenting with this design (if you were REALLY ambitious you could do this to all your nails...) and draw a backwards slight "c" shape on your nail.
Step 5: Draw another line closer to your cuticle with the same shape.
Step 6: Starting near the middle, but not exactly centered, draw a backwards "j" shape.
Step 7: On the left side of your nail make another backwards "c" shape.
Step 8: On the opposite side (the right) make a "c" shape following the curve of your "j" you made in step 6.
Step 9: Your last stroke with your fine brush will be by making an "n" shape at the tip.
Step 10: Put your fine brush in remover to remove the polish and pick up your skewer/toothpick/pin.  Pick polish up off of the brush and onto the very tip of your implement.
Step 11: Begin in the middle and draw squares, "t" shapes, lines, or "x" shapes.
Step 12: Continue doing this between the thick lines in the center of your nail.
Step 13: Continue making these fine lines on one side of your nail, then the other.
Step 14: Make your fine lines between your backwards "c" shaped lines. *You can stop here and skip to step 16 if you are looking for a half-moon lace manicure.*
Step 15: Make the remaining hatch marks on your lunula (the semicircle area near you cuticle where you paint contrasting colors for a half-moon manicure)
Step 16: After it completely dries. Finish with your favorite topcoat.  This not only helps your manicure to last longer but it also tends to even out the texture.

There is absolutely no right or wrong way to do this design.  Make it your own by changing the design to suit your taste.  And it's better than nail strips because you can do the colors you want.  I would LOVE to see what you come up with!  If you end up doing this link, facebook, or email me your picture! I cannot wait to see where you take this:)


  1. Thanks so much for this! The step by step photos are very helpful!

  2. Great tutorial! I'll have to try this out!

  3. Awesome tutorial. I'm following you now :D!

  4. This is awesome! Will have to try it :)

  5. Wow this is so gorgeous!! I'm really into lace nail art, but have never thought of free handing it. Thank you for the tutorial! I'm definitely going to try this out when I have time. :)

  6. Thanks loves! Let me know how it works out when you do try it!

  7. I love lots of photos! Great tutorial...

  8. I cannot do hand painting very well but this looks lovely:)

  9. I love this!! Its so cute~~
    As for perplex, you can't find them in store anymore. But you can find them on ebay. I have an extra bottle that I was thinking of putting up on my blog sale, or doing a giveaway on it later.

  10. Good to know (about perplex)! I'll have to check it out:) Thanks, Yami!