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How-To: Nails for Back to School

Finally the time has come…we are back at school! Heading back to campus obviously means new clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories, but what about nails? When it comes time to go out, you want to be looking hot from head to toe and that includes your nails. Here are four new nail designs to start the school year right. All you need is some fun nail polish and a tiny bit of scotch tape!

Two-Toned Triangles (Hard)
What you need:

  • Pick two colors—preferably contrasting (we used Peachy—Revlon Top Speed and French White Tip NYC)
  • A glittery polish with a long brush (we used Silver—L.A. Colors Art Deco)
  • Scotch tape
  • Q-tip
  • Nail polish remover

First, using the scotch tape, create a small triangle on the bottom half of your nail. The best way to do this is to lay two pieces of scotch tape on your nails crossing over each other.

Now choose which color you want primarily on the bottom half of the nail and use this to paint the part of the nail bed that is still exposed. To make it fun we decided to use opposite colors on the ring fingers of each hand. It is very important that you finish this step and wait for the nails to dry completely. If the nail polish doesn’t dry completely, when you peel off the scotch tape, the nail polish will be ruined.

Once you remove the scotch tape, you can use a Q-tip that’s been dipped in nail polish remover to wipe away any extra nail polish that might have seeped under the tape.

Then, take the glitter polish and outline the bottom triangle. You can make this outline as thick or thin as you want, just keep in mind that you still have to leave space for the top color!

When the glitter outline dries, you can now paint the rest of the nail. It is pretty easy to freehand paint the rest of the exposed nail but if you would like, you can use more scotch tape to cover up the part of the nail that has already been painted. When you are done with this last step, you can take the Q-tip again and wipe away any nail polish that might have gotten onto your skin around your nails. If you like you can apply a top coat and then you are officially done!


Tiny Neon Stripes (Medium)
What you need:

  • Pick two or three colors you would like to show up as the lines-preferably something bright (we used 24/7—Sinful Colors, Margarita Senorita—Confetti, and French Tip White—NYC)
  • A dark color which would go well with the other colors (we used Black Tie–Confetti)
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors

First, take your bright polish, and paint bright stripes of each on the nail. You can do this design on all of the nails, just one, or even a few. Again, you must wait for this polish to dry completely before going on to the next step!

If you decide to do the stripes design on only a few nails, while you are waiting you can paint the other nails with the dark color.

Once the stripes have dried completely, you can now apply the scotch tape. Rip off a piece of scotch tape. Then, using scissors cut the tape into thin strips long enough to go across your nail. You can cut the strips to any thickness but it usually comes out best when the strips are very thin. After cutting the tape into strips, apply onto your nails in whatever design you would like.

Make sure the tape is completely covering your whole nail and that it is pressed down securely. Now take the dark polish and paint over the whole taped nail. Once again wait for the dark polish to dry completely. When the polish is finally dry, peel off the strips of scotch tape. Finish off with a shiny top coat and you’re all set to impress your friends.


Color Block (Easy/Medium)
What you need:

  • Three different colors of nail polish—the design will come out better if you use contrasting colors and make sure the most contrasting one has a long brush (we used My Lifesaver–Nicole by O.P.I., Black—L.A. Colors Art Deco, White—L.A. Colors Art Deco)

Choose one of your colors and paint your whole nail that color. Apply as many coats as necessary.

Once your nails are dry, take another color and paint a diagonal color block across the top part of your nail. If it is easier for you, you can always tape off part of the nail that you want to remain the first color.

Now, using the third color—with the long brush—you can add an accent line in between the two other colors.

At this point you could be done, but if you want to get a little more creative you can add some little dots as well. As always, finish up with a top coat and you are good to go!


Tiger Stripes (Easy)
What you need:

  • Two different colors—one has to have a long brush (we used Peachy—Revlon Top Speed and White—L.A. Colors Art Deco)

Using the nail polish with a regular brush, paint your whole nail this color.

Now using the long brush make quick brush strokes from one side of the nail and have it start to fade out by the time you get to the middle.

After doing this on one side of every nail, repeat for the other side. You can vary the length of the stripes depending on what look you like better. All that’s left is a top coat! This design is super easy to do and it’s a great design to play around with different color combinations.

Bentley University Class of 2013 Candidate for a B.S. in Marketing Minor in Information Design and Corporate Communication
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