Monday, October 24, 2011

DIY Nails: Galaxy Nails

Let's get intergalactic, friends.


This was one of the first fancy manis I figured out how to do, but I've only recently discovered the magic of sponges and nail polish. Not even makeup sponges—I'm talking straight-up dish sponges.

Washing your dishes and blinging your nails

I used to just paint on blotches, wait until they were tacky and then press down so they dried faster. They would get all fingerprinty, and I think that actually helps with this mani. Texture really works in your favour here, and that's the greatest part about a galaxy mani—you pretty much can't mess it up. Well, that, and your nails look like outer space. That's pretty killer too.

You'll need a few polishes for this, but you can be very flexible in the colours you use. The polishes I used, in order from first to last and left to right:

1. Black-blue with navy shimmer (Revlon in Midnight Affair)
2. Dark lilac with white shimmer (Sally Hanson Hard as Nails with Teflon in Applause)
3. Bright yellow with acid green shimmer (Sally Hanson HD High Definition in Hue)
4. Fluorescent violet creme (Sinful Colors in Dream On)
5. Gold shimmer (Sally Hanson Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Golden Nugget)
6. Clear base with silver glitter (Gosh Nail Polish in Silver Star)
*Not pictured: Clear base with fine holo glitter (Sally Hanson New Lengths Ceramics in Urban Chic)

You certainly aren't limited to those colours though— there are many lovely colours in space.

via Julia

1. Cut a few narrow pieces of sponge that are long enough to easily grip. I cut the edge off a new dish sponge and then cut that strip in half. I found I only needed to use two pieces. I also used a small plate covered in tinfoil as my working surface. You'll need to put nail polish on something, so make sure you use a surface that won't absorb polish or get damaged.

2. Do a clear base, and then a coat or two of your base colour. This could be black, violet or a brighter blue instead of navy. I could even see an emerald or Vamp-esque burgundy looking good too.

My cuticles are going to be messy, so be warned.

3. Brush a few globs of your next lightest colour on your working surface. Dab your sponge into it lightly and start applying to your nail. It's good to vary the way you're concentrating the colour from nail to nail—try going diagonally one way, put colour in two places, or centering it. You're best to start with little on your sponge and gradually add more. This will be the largest nebula coat, so make it as large as you'd like your final nebulae to roughly be.

First colour: dark lilac
4. Use your next lightest colour and start to dab it on top of your previous sponged coat. The great part about sponging is there is minimal dry time, so you don't really even need to wait between coats. Try to keep slightly inside the lines you made with your previous coat so you can still see each colour, like a topographic map. See?

cool paper topography by Crafterall

Second colour: yellow with acid green shimmer

4. Add a few more layers of colour. I like to add a bit of rosiness to keep it warm (I used the fluorescent violet for that), and gold because, duh, this ain't no time to be demure. I like to use gold as my last coat so it really pops, and to make it as concentrated as possible. Let these dry well.

Third colour: fluorescent violet
Final colour: gold

5. It's glitter time. I like silver glitter for outer space, but I also added a coat of fine holo glitter because I'm a magpie. Just make sure you're not using a thick one coat glitter—you definitely want to see your handiwork underneath all that glitz. If your glitter clumps together too much, add a little nail polish remover to the bottle and shake it up.

*Pro tip: You can leave this step for the next day if you're about to go to bed, because the glitter will mask any sheet lines you'll inevitably get on your nails.

And that's it! Your nails, the final frontier!

I took these final shots a day or two after I had added my glitter coats, as you can tell by the slight wear along my nail tips. This can get thick, so try to keep each coat as thin as possible (sponging really helps with that). I cleaned up around my nails with a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover—no need to get fancy.

All in all, one of my favourite ways to have a really sweet looking, totally foolproof mani. And please, if you try this out, show me pictures of your galactic nails! That would just make my day.


  1. These are great tips! I've just done mine and they look amazing :D. Thank you!!

  2. Not sure how to post a picture, but I can assure you they look awesome!

    1. Thanks so much for trying it out, Jennifer! I'm so happy yours worked out well. If you post a link to a Flickr pic or Instagram or something, I'd love to check them out.


  4. This is SO rad!!
    LOVE this so much! Here's a pic of how mine turned out :)


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