Hey guys, if you’ve been looking for a manicure that will take you two hours to do and half an hour to explain to your parents, then I have just the thing for you: emoji nail art!
OK, maybe I didn’t do a great job of selling that just now, but the truth of the matter is you either love emojis or you don’t. It’s actually a lot like nail art in that respect.
I wasn’t actually thinking deeply about the parallels between emojis and nail art when I came up with this idea. I was just looking through my most recently used emojis (which is endlessly entertaining to me--it says SO MUCH about a person) when it occurred to me that a lot of them would look awesome on my nails. Plus, I already had the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Pens just waiting to be useful.
So yeah, that’s how I ended up with a smiling poop on my thumb nail. Don’t lie--you know that’s in everyone’s most-recently-used emoji list. It is applicable for all things. Once I had a dream that the poop emoji was god, but that’s a story for another time.
Don’t worry if you’re not all that artistically inclined. Most people are capable of making basic shapes, and you can pick which emojis you feel confident enough to draw.
You’ll need a good white nail polish as a base to represent the white background of your phone's screen. I went with Spoiled by Wet ‘n’ Wild polish in Correction Tape, and for $2, it was really impressive. It wasn’t streaky or sheer like a lot of white nail polishes, and two coats was perfect. The brush makes things a little messy around the edges, but we can’t have everything (at least not for $2).
Then gather some nail art pens in the colors that you’ll need. I already had the Sally Hansen pens in red, white and black, and picked up yellow as well. They didn’t have brown so I spent a whopping 10 bucks for a pack of fine-point colored Sharpies.
After painting my two coats of white polish, I checked to see the last 10 emojis that I used.
OK, I cheated and added some. I mostly just use the poop guy because that annoys my boyfriend, and the clappy hands because that makes my boyfriend happy. He just likes the phrase "clappy hands." But yeah, for the sake of ease and sanity, I went with emojis I knew I could actually do with my limited colors and ability. I’m good at painting, but I have the shakiest hands ever.
I would give you guys a step-by-step of each emoji, but that would take forever. If anyone wants a handy guide on how to draw a panda emoji in four steps or whatever, just let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to make you a little drawing.
My best tip, though, is to start a design with tiny dots instead of lines. Then go back and play connect-the-dots. It’s a lot easier (especially if using your non-dominant hand) and cuts back on wild mistakes.
Also, the Sally Hansen nail art pens are great because you can just wipe the design off with a wet cloth if you mess up without taking off the nail polish base below. The brown sharpie… not so much. Luckily, it’s hard to mess up a drawing of poop.
Some came out better than others (doing my right hand was particularly torturous) and I had a few mishaps. The nail with the cat broke off at the tip, and when I went to apply a top coat some of them smeared. You have to apply something on top to seal the designs; they won’t last otherwise. Unfortunately, that can cause them to smear if you’re not careful.
So here’s your lesson for today: make sure the designs are 100% dry, and then when you do use a top coat to seal it, make sure to have a large glob of polish on the brush and sort of dot it on instead of smearing it over the nail. Alternatively, you could use a nail-art sealer but I didn’t have one handy. Still, once I figured out how to apply a top coat without smearing the designs, they lasted a long time.
And there you have it: nail art that completely confused my parents (“It’s emojis. Like emoticons. Like emotions. Emotion faces. That I use on my phone. Nothing?”) but had my younger siblings in awe of me for an entire day.
Will you be giving this a go? Tell me what your most-used emojis are. For extra credit, TELL ME WITH YOUR NAILS.