BEAUTY: Skull Nails

One of my favorite nail art themes are the skull nails. They work great for many darker themed costumes, or if you are like me...any time of the year. Frankly, at this point, it's rare for anyone to question my eclectic style. I don't wear polish on my fingers often, as it chips off quickly, due to working with my hands daily. However, I do occasionally decorate my finger nails, and I normally have my toe nails painted. Most people (myself included) talk with my hands in addition to my mouth. This means, our hands get a lot of attention. They deserve to be pampered, and shown off. One great way to do this is with a creative nail polish. This can be with hand painted nail art, or with decals. I've included a couple inspiration photos, because I couldn't track down the original source to see if they had tutorials. The rest are a lot of tutorials. We'll get to the decals at the end, for those of you who don't have steady hands or the time to paint your nails.

For those of you willing to tackle hand painting skulls onto your nails, you will need a few helpful tools in addition to the nail polish. You need Nail Art Dotting Tools, and Nail Art Brushes. I suggest buying these on Amazon or Ebay, since they are very inexpensive there. These will help with the small details. Plus, you can use them again for other nail designs, like the ones from The Daily Nail.

I did these for Skull Nails (tutorial) for Dia de la Abby #62: on Skull-A-Day. I was inspired by these skull nails from The Daily Nail, and these skulls nails from Nails by Alice. These took two tries to do. The 1st was a small skull on the nail, which looked too sloppy. This second try was much more successful. It lasted about a week, mostly intact, which is a record. That's probably because I used a lot of layers. In hindsight, I should have just done two coats of silver, then added the black details with the nail dotting tools. Either way, it looks great.


I love how quirky this separated skeleton design is. It's very creative, and something you can easily recreate after you get comfortable doing nail art.

This is another great playful skeleton design. It's a great one for someone that isn't ambidextrous with nail art...meaning one hand is better at painting than the other (oh, that's definitely me). One side (hand?) of the design might be easier to paint than the other, which will help decide placement. 


Let's start with something simple, as always. Sly and Sam created these simple and stunning Skull Nails. I love the classic black and white combo.

For something still simple, but colorful, try these Neon Skull Nails from Swatch and Learn. You can use any colors you want, different on each nail, or all the same color. Building on this look, you could use dark contrast colors instead of black for the details. Think neon green and forest green, lilac and dark purple, baby blue and navy, pink and get the idea.

Peace Love Polish shows us great Sugar Skull Nails. This is where having those tools is super helpful...though they are helpful in the above looks too. Also, another colorful skull nail, where you can play with the color choices. I'm definitely going to give this one a try.


Renierainyday created these Easy Skull Nails using dark purple and white. Like, she mentioned, you can use any contrasting color combo you want. This is an easy tutorial that shows you how to correct mistakes. This is a great skull nail for getting comfortable with using a small nail art brush.

Robin Moses created this Skulls with Pink Bows Nail Art. Robin is painting another person's nails, but this can be done on yourself, if you are patient. I think, instead of nail polish for the details, she uses acrylic paint. This is commonly used in nail art, as the layers are thinner, and the colors easier to mix than nail polish. Using acrylic paint makes drying time quicker, and shading easier. She has some great advice and tips here.

Akameru89 created these Cute Skull Nails. I love the skull design, and the checkerboard background. This is a great design, because if you aren't skilled or patient enough to paint the grid (I'm not), then you could do something simplistic. Perhaps larger squares, so you don't lose the effect. Or, if you are a true beginner, two stripes would be great too. The cute skull and crossed bones design is great on it's own too. It would stand out well on a solid background too. I could see it against a bright solid color, to keep the cheeriness of the cute skull.

These Red Roses and Sugar Skull nails are another favorite Robin Moses design. I like this design because the skulls stand out with their intricate details against the solid pearl background. This is definitely one for someone comfortable with a small nail art brush. The roses are also great, as they are more simple to create than they look. Robin has a few other great skull designs too, so I highly suggest checking them out.


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