DIY: Funky French Manicures!

Pish posh on $30+ glamour manicures in fancy salons… Especially when you can do the exact same thing at home – for less than $10!

Holler: I in no way claim to be a professional manicurist. So. The weird hate mail I’ve been receiving for getting nail polish on my cuticles can be redirected to… nowhere, preferably! Thaaank you. :)

Here’s how:

Step 1: Paint base coat!

Since I picked up a super-discount bag of various nail polishes yesterday, I decided to use one of the funkier ones… Sally Hansen Chrome Nail Makeup in “Ruby Chrome”! That crazy link was the only place I could find it, because its been discontinued. Anyhow, this is what it looked like once all my digits were properly lacquered. See? I think the color is neat… Anyway. Onward!

Step 2: Tape + Dried Nails!

I can’t stress enough the importance of “DRY NAILS” during this step. If they’re not completely dry… If they’re even the slightest bit tacky, you’re screwed. No joke!

Get some scotch tape (like 50 cents at Rite Aid, isn’t it?) and rip off a piece about 1.5 inches long. Delicately apply it to just the top of your nail, leaving only the curved part uncovered.

Be sure to press out all the air bubbles beneath the tape, otherwise our next polish will seep in and ruin our straight line!

Step 3: Paint over that ish!

Once you’re all prepped with varnish and tape and no-air-bubbles… Choose a different color polish (I chose my Borghese Nail Laquer Vernis in “Notte Black”) and carefully paint over the exposed top part of your nail. You can do two coats, if you like, or just apply slightly thicker if you’re rushed or impatient (like me :) ).

OMG LET THEM DRY. I know it’s tempting to try and yank off the tape to see the prettiness you’ve created… But you must hold off!

You can admire them, or take photographs of them while you wait… Like this!

Neat, huh?

Step 4: Peel it off!

You’re sure they’re dry…? 100% sure? Alright… Slowly peel off the tape. If it begins to rip the tape near the middle, lift up the other side of the tape and begin again from the other side. You should have some gorgeous nails after they’re all off!

Step 5: Apply Topcoat

Because they’re a tiny ridge between the new polish and the old, apply a liberal or two-coat top coat to smooth things out and keep from chipping. :)

Voila! You’ve cheated the system.


Probably watching Netflix.

15 thoughts on “DIY: Funky French Manicures!

  • August 19, 2008 at 12:01 am

    ! I have that Ruby Chrome nail polish! :D

    Annie Spandexs last blog post: I Love My… Vintage Viewmasters on

    • August 19, 2008 at 9:43 pm

      Me, too! It was an absolute steal – and it dries SUPER fast.

  • August 19, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Dear,

    I’d recommend using painter’s tape instead of clear scotch-type tape. The clear is very sticky while the painter’s tape is designed to remain in place for an extended time and be removed without damage to underlying walls and paint treatments. A cheap roll will run about 2 bucks upwards of 5 and will last a nice long time.

    As a bonus, the painter’s tape can be repositioned! I’d still recommend, as you did, to make sure the nails are really dry first to avoid any oops!

  • August 20, 2008 at 6:31 am

    haha woot! I’ve done that before, its a cute trick isnt it.

  • August 20, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for the cool trick. I’ve been wrecking my brains for so long for a good solution and you’ve shown me how. Thank you so much!!

  • August 28, 2008 at 11:06 am

    i’d suggest actually making them look good if you’re posting a How-to article. not to be a bitch, just some advice. they look pretty bad

    • August 28, 2008 at 12:32 pm

      Everyone has opinions, don’t they, sugar? :)

  • August 28, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    woaaaah that’s awesome! rock on, girl!

  • January 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    hey great idea with the tape i never thought of that! but how does it work without ripping off the other paint? because i know when i have polish on my nails and i am actually in need of some tape and it gets stuck to my nail, the polish comes off with the tape. how do you avoid that?

    • January 9, 2009 at 11:19 am

      I’ve found that using really thin coats of polish and letting them dry COMPLETELY!! (I know, it’s rough – it’s painstaking… but it works!) that the layers of nail polish seem to bond together better, thusly preventing the ominous ripping!

  • February 27, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    No offense, but that looks horrible. You have painted down onto your cuticles that desperately need to be pushed back, your nails are not filed shapely and your lines are not straight. There is a reason that people pay $30 to go to a manicurist – we are professionally trained, licensed and know the proper way to do nails. All you have done is proved you are broke and not good at painting nails. Leave it to the professionals my dear and if you can’t afford us, stick to clear. It is less difficult to make a mess with.

  • February 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Golly, you have just have a sunshine-laced demeanor, don’t you?

  • February 28, 2009 at 11:38 am

    maybe the whole point was to be a little off base? why in the world would someone want to look fake when trying to beat the system, economically “professionals” are beat.
    most women never even go to salons to get stuff done, i cut my own hair and do my own madi/pedie.
    mostly to say i did it myself but ew, why would i pay a stranger to touch my feet or do my nails like everyone elses?
    pretty sad i think.

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