27 May 2012

Galaxy Nails Tutorial

A few days ago I posted my first successful galaxy nails (or nebula nails) and mentioned that since I'd taken pictures along the way, I might try to post a tutorial on them. But instead of being sensible and doing that, I started over from scratch, just to see how they might turn out this time around.

Galaxy Nails


If you're interested in my first picture tutorial, how to do galaxy nails, please read on!

Before I explain my steps, I think it's worth saying that this is only how I chose to do my galaxy nails. The colours you use, the shapes you want...everything about this manicure style is really up to you. A lot of the fun of doing these is experimenting--playing with colours, deciding how many stars you want, seeing if you like it with more black space or swirls. That said, I'm happy to walk you through the procedure I used this time, and hopefully it will give you some ideas about how to create your own galaxy nails.

You don't need a lot of supplies to do these, just your polishes, a paper plate (or whatever else you want to use to put your polish out on), a small dotting tool or toothpick, and a makeup sponge. All the colours I used are listed at the end.



As you can see in the picture above, you do not need to use a whole sponge for this. In fact, I recommend tearing off a piece to use because the surface will be rougher that way, helping to create the "scattered galaxy" effect.

After applying your base coat, paint your nails black, and let them dry completely. You might decide later that you like applying your colours while the previous ones are still a little wet in order to blend them together a bit, but you don't want to mess up your black background by dabbing on top of it before it's fully dry.

This is where the fun part starts! Put a little bit of white polish onto your plate and dab your sponge into it. Blot your sponge so the polish isn't too thick, and then lightly dab some swishes of white across your nails.


Top to bottom, side to side, where you place your galaxies is up to you. Just don't apply too much because if you cover too much black, you lose the "deep space" behind your galaxies.

Once your white has had a chance to dry a little, it's time for your next colour. I chose a bright, lime green with a lot of yellow in it. Dab it on top of the white, but don't cover the white completely.


Your next colour should be a little darker. You're starting to blend the bright patches into the background, but you still want something bright enough to add more colour.

Dab it around and a little bit on top of the first two--not covering them too much but also not painting on top of too much of your black either.


After this--and before I started blending my darker blue later--I wanted to add a little more colour, so I added some fuschia. I only put on a little because it's just a highlight. If you're using lime green and aqua like I did, a pink or purple would be a good choice for this one. Or if you've decided to use different colours like pink and purple, then a little turquoise or lime green might be nice for your contrast.


By now there's plenty of colour going on, and it's time to blend those colours better into the black background with something like a darker blue. This step helps redefine the shape of your galaxies and put some "deep space" back into the picture.


If you want, you can add an even darker blue (or purple, or whatever colour you've decided to use) to blend it out a little more, but I decided to do something a little different. In a spot or two on each nail, I sponged just a little bit of OPI The Colour to Watch, which is a sheer, purple-blue duochrome. Because it's sheer, it doesn't add much colour, but it has an interesting pearl-like shine. Again, this is not a necessary step--I just like the sheer, shimmery texture it adds.


After that you're done with the sponging, and it's time to add the stars! I did more of these than last time, but I think I actually like it with fewer than I ended up doing here. I feel like adding too many starts to pull focus away from the pretty colours you've blended, but it's strictly a matter of personal choice.

Dip a toothpick or small dotting tool into your white polish and dot some tiny stars along the edges of your nebulae. The smaller you can make them, the better, and then a couple of medium-sized ones will add some nice perspective. It's easy to get carried away dotting, and like I said, I think I'll do a lot fewer again next time, but however you want to add these--assuming you decide you want them at all!--is up to you.


We're getting near the end now! After these have dried, apply a coat of fine glitter polish to add a sparkle of far-off stars.


For a different look, you can use a polish with larger glitter and skip the dotted stars entirely! Again, this manicure is all about doing what you like best. I wanted to try adding a little more perspective after this, so I hit each nail with just one or two larger dots...


However you decide to finish off your galaxies, you just need to take care of a little clean-up (a cotton swab dipped in polish remover easily takes care of any polish you might have sponged past the nail), and with the top coat of your choice, you're finished!

finished galaxy nails


finished galaxy nails


The colours you use for your galaxy nails are entirely up to you. Greens and blues, pinks and purples, whatever you like best! If you're interested, these are the colours I chose...


The black is China Glaze Liquid Leather, and the white is OPI Alpine White. I also used OPI Did It On 'Em, Fly, Ski Teal We Drop, and The Color to Watch. Fuschia highlights are Max Factor Deep Mauve, and the glitter coat is (what else?) China Glaze Fairy Dust.

Before I wrap this up (phew!), I just want to give credit and thanks to cutepolish for her fantastic video tutorial on how to create galaxy nails. Everything I did with mine is the result of playing around with the things I learned from her video, and I'm still super envious of her amazing results.

14 comments:

  1. Excellent tutorial! Imagine glow-in-the-dark polish on top of some of the stars... Oh yeah, definitely going to try this out soon! :D

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    1. Thanks very much, Jessica! Ooh, glow in the dark stars could be very cool. ;)

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  2. these are amazing! i really have to try these! :)

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    1. Thank you, esmeheredia--I'd love to see 'em if you do!

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  3. Perfect galaxy nails! These are some of the best I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That is so, so sweet of you--thank you very much!

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  4. What a fantastic tutorial! I've always wondered how to do these and I'm looking forward to trying this out :)

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    1. I hope it was helpful, Amanda--if you decide to give it a shot, I'd love to see your results! :)

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  5. Awesome mani! And thanks for the tutorial! :-)

    ~ Yun

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    1. Thank you, Yun--and you're very welcome! :)

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  6. Thank You! I dont have any black so I had to use dark purple but I think it turned out quite good! Great Tutorial (:

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    1. Thanks, Georgia! I think dark purple would make a great background too. Really glad you enjoyed the tutorial!

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  7. I wonder how a glitter varnish would work to make the stars rather than the white polish? so glad I found this blog! so much i want to try out :-)

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    1. I've seen that work nicely too, lucie--thank you very much for visiting! :D

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