[the DIY Files] stars and stripes and red and white.

My nail designs, er, manis, are not all flash and sparkle. The problem with working in an office environment are the limitations placed on your appearance and attire. These manicure designs are meant to be both corporate-appropriate AND something to talk about. Enjoy!

The long days of summer stretch the 8 hour workdays into never-ending periods of wretchedness. But alas, holidays like the 4th of julliet serve the purpose of breaking up the season of heat into more bearable sections.

Oddly enough, the holiday falls on a Wednesday (a WEDNESDAY!), so that makes the work week rather tolerable. It also means this stars and stripes nail art is sure to catch some attention, if only for a day or two.

the finished products.

You will need to grab:

  • nail polished in a dark red, a navy blue, an opaque white, and a matte silver (non-glitter).
  • a top coat (I’m a fan of Essie’s “No Chips Ahead” these days)
  • an Xacto knife or scissors
  • a thin paintbrush
  • nail polish remover
  • a paper towel
  • a piece of plastic/paper plate. You’ll need something non-absorbent to put small globs of nail polish on.
  • Scotch tape! You’ll use this to make your design stencil.

With the nu-wave of nail art taking over during the course of the past few years, the accent nail has become the go-to method. Here, we take alternating tips to be colored with the dark red or the navy. The left over nails can be painted white. Finally, the pinky of each hand will be the ‘accent’ nail… with the striking silver polish.

Tear off a small piece of tape, place it down on your palm and repeatedly take off and rub onto your palm. This will help reduce the adhesive’s pull when you place it on the nail.

Once you’ve reduced the adhesive on the tape, place it on a flat surface. Using the Xacto knife or the edge of a scissor blade, cut an abstract part of a star. This will create 2 stencils — 1 for the positive space to be painted, 1 for the negative space.

tools of the trade.

Place the star stencil on two different nails. I chose to put each piece on alternating nails — the pointing finger and the ring finger on my right hand, and the thumb and middle finger on the left hand. Paint over the stencil with a lighter color such as the white or silver if the base is dark. Paint the stencil with the dark red or navy if the nail base is light. Obviously,  this is the best way to make your nails pop.

Once the polish on the stencils has dried, cautiously pull the tape off the nail. If the base polish comes off with the tape, you may have to start over :/ Be careful, though, because if you’ve put on multiple coats already, it will come off!

Let the stenciled nails dry COMPLETELY. Since you’ll be painting a stripe on the other fingers, you want to make sure wet polish doesn’t get in the way.

Using the brush of the nail polish, place a few drop of the light/dark polish on the piece of non-absorbent surface. Take the paintbrush and picking up some polish, SLOWLY drag the flat edge along the vertical of the nail to draw a stripe. I’d rather do a single abstract stripe than multiple stripes to make the whole patriotic theme a bit more modern.

Make sure to put on a top coat! You don’t want your hard work to go up in smoke!

How would you choose to combine the 4th + nail art?

Night all.


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