I am admittedly obsessed with looking at other people’s nails on the internet. Have you ever searched Pinterest for nail art? YouTube? Homegirls are talented. I, however, am not. Once in a while I’m able to draw a heart or basket weave pattern, but with a Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen ($7.99) it really isn’t very difficult.
Of course there’s a thin line between cute and trashy, but nails with tasteful half moons and just-this-side-of-hood-rat swirls tend to catch my eye. Since I’m a book nerd and all, I thought I’d try the über popular and seemingly easy newspaper nail. If you aren’t familiar, it’s supposed to look something like this:
- Your normal base coat/top coat
- Primary polish color of your choice
- Ten pieces of newspaper or magazine paper large enough to wrap around your finger while covering the entire nail (I used Graydon Carter’s letter from the 2012 Vanity Fair Hollywood issue.)
- Rubbing alcohol (Though I’ve also heard that plain water will work, which makes sense to me if I think of this project like the temporary tattoos I loved to wear as a kid.)
- Cotton swab of whatever size, shape, or adornment you prefer – use a Q-tip for all I care
Most tutorials suggest using a white or pale gray polish to give your nails a real newspaper feel. Since I’m a) monetarily challenged b) lazy, I opted for the Zoya Pandora ($8) color that I already own. FYI the Touch Collection of opaque nudes is spot-on, just pick the cool, warm, or neutral tone for your skin and preference. (P.S. if you decide to buy something from Zoya could you use this link and hook your favorite Ginger up with some points for her future purchases? Thanks, you’re a doll.)
Anyway, do your usual manicure routine which, if you’re like me, will involve little more than removing the last coat of polish you painted. When you get to the point in your routine that involves the base polish color, put on two coats. Sit around and do whatever you want that won’t smudge your digits until your nails are absolutely 100% dry. For me, this involved playing Sudoku and Draw Something on my iPhone because somewhere in the last six months I became on of those girls.
Pour a bit of rubbing alcohol into the bottle cap – do it now so you don’t end up in a pinch. Wrap one piece of newspaper/magazine paper around one finger. If you are supremely talented like I am, you can hold down the piece of paper around one finger while taking a cell phone picture of it for your self-indulgent blog with the other:
Soak your cotton swab (or what have you) and press it onto the article-wrapped nail bed for five-to-seven seconds. Then press a few more times all around the nail – I found that a good rule is if the ink is coming off the paper and onto the cotton, it’s come off onto the nail, as well.
(This, by the way, is where holding the swap and article with one hand while playing photog with the other becomes a super cool skill to have when you put random things on the internet for the consumption of friends and strangers alike.)
Repeat these steps with a new piece of paper for each finger. I like the tattered look that partial or missing letters bring, but if you’re a bit more anal retentive than I am you can always use the rubbing alcohol to wipe off the print and start over again. If you think you might be one of these people then you may want to cut a few extra pieces of paper ahead of time.
Go over every nail with your favorite top coat (I used a regular shiny coat but I think this would look pretty cool with a matte finish, as well) and let dry as usual. After however long you’re patient enough to wait, voila! Your nails are done.
Not as perfect as some of the more talented nail art amateurs and professionals I’ve seen, but not too bad for a first try, right? Bonus points for getting fun words on your nails. My right thumb, for example, now says Hollywood upside down and backwards.
Got any tips for a successful nail job?