My Nails are my Canvas

I initially got into nail art in high school. As a kid my mom would take me with her when she got her nails done and I would always get a little manicure. The woman my mom went to was named Sara, and she would always do fun and creative designs. Her signature design was a marble pattern made with a toothpick. Once I was old enough to take myself I would go every two weeks to get my acrylics filled and get some crazy colors and nail art. 

In college, restricted by budget I began practicing at home manicures and faced the challenge of painting my dominant hand. It took a lot of trial and error to get to an okay result. 

Tip: do not paint your nails right before bed or before doing the dishes!

Nails by Mia Rubia


I made my way back to professional nail art when I was planning my wedding. I wanted to get my nails done special for the day. I met Mia Rubie and never looked back! Mia did my nails for my wedding and it was love at first manicure. I enjoy going to her with crazy ideas and watching her figure out what I meant and make it come to life better than I could imagine.

I’ve learned some basic techniques over the years by watching the pros. I am excited to share them with you!

Gather Your Materials

  • Nail Polish - a color for the base, a couple colors for the design and a clear top coat. I am using Palate Polish!
  • A piece of tin foil to work from when creating your design
  • A ball stylus tool (if you don't have one of these you can use stuff around the house; a toothpick, a bobby pin with rubber nubs or a ballpoint pen!)

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At home manicure tips

Before you start painting make sure your nails are dry and have no oil on them. Wipe them down with alcohol or nail polish remover so the polish can set properly.

When you are using regular nail polish, it takes a while to dry. Make sure you leave enough time for your nails to dry completely before you move on to something else. I like to do my nails while I am watching a movie. That way I can take my time and not rush the process.

I let my nails dry for several hours before I add my top coat. 

*Pro Tip: add a couple of top coat layers to help the manicure last longer!

I like to start with painting my dominant hand first. If you make a mistake you can easily clean it up with your not painted non dominant hand, if I paint over my cuticles I like to use my nail to clean it up. When I move to my second hand I use a nail polish remover pen to clean up my cuticles. 

To steady your painting hand, it helps to anchor it. I use the pinky of my painting hand to keep stabilized by placing it on the table or on the hand I'm painting. 

I lift my hands closer to my face, which for me makes it easier to do some detailed painting.

I let my nails dry for several hours before I add a top coat and usually add a couple of top coat layers to help the manicure last longer!



Design One: Simple Daisy

Now that you have your base coat painted and dried lets get on to the fun stuff!

For this design we are going to make a five petal daisy. 

To start dab the nail polish color you are using for the petals on your tin foil. 

Grab your ball stylus tool and dip it in into the polish. Pick a spot on your nail to start and make your first dot.

Work from right to left down creating a pentagon shape with the dots. One dot at the top, two on the sides and two on the bottom. 

Repeat until you have all the flowers painted on your nail.

Once the petals have had time to dry, complete the flower with a middle dot in a different color! 

When doing a repeat pattern, a good rule of thumb is to use a half drop repeat method. For our daisy pattern,  that means you do one daisy and then in the next row move over half way down aligned with the bottom of your first daisy (they should be on a horizontal line).

To make a pattern look more natural, try painting  half flowers over the edge of the nail. This makes the pattern appear like it continues on. 



Design Two: Leopard Print

I like to look at a picture of a leopard to help out with this one. 

Choose two colors for your leopard print. The first color can be any color of your choice, the second must be black.

Begin with your first color. For this tutorial I am using white.

Create oblong/imperfect circles. To do this, I take my tool and dab it onto my nail and then move it down to make a bean shape.

I repeat this a few times depending on nail size. 

 Once the base color has had time to dry I move onto black. 

Again we are going to make oblong/oval shapes now around the bottom color. You can do different patterns around each base color, sometimes one that goes almost all around or two or three oblong spots.

Fill in some of the negative space with small bean shapes to complete the nail!



Revel in the beauty of your nails!






Written by: Sarah Ogden

Sarah is the Brand and Store Manager of Jenny Lemons. She is a lover of all things cute and is the maker of SMO Ceramics


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