Nail Day: Panda Nails

I used to paint my nails regularly until recently, and when I did them I didn't simply paint them one color but would have different themes. It's a really fun and relaxing thing that I like to do when I have free time. Of course the problem is having free time to do it. But I thought it may be fun to start painting my nails again (at least once a month) and to post the photos along with a brief tutorial.

I am not an expert when it comes to nail art, and I'm also out of practice. So these posts won't look perfect, but they're fun to make and I hope that people can enjoy them.

I recently got a cute stuffed panda gifted to me, which inspired me to make these panda and bamboo nails. Think of this post like guidelines more than rules, because nothing is mandatory here. I used mainly "Play" nail polish by Etude House because it was on sale, and also I like that it dries quickly since I'm pretty clumsy.

So let's get to the how-to part, so you can try these out yourself!

You will need: 

1. White nail polish 

2. Black nail polish

3. Green or aqua nail polish 

4. Top coat 

5. Sparkly nail polish (optional) 

6. A piece of paper and a bobby pin or toothpick 

7. Nail polish remover and cotton swabs 

I'm using cheap nail polish because I'm not exactly Bill Gates

Step One: The base 

Usually I like to have at least one or two nails that are different from the rest to add some variety. So I painted my pinky and ring fingers with white and the rest with the bluesh-green color. Because they are light colors you will need to do at least two coats. Make sure you let your nails dry for 5-10 minutes after this, to reduce the chances of colors bleeding together later on.

Obviously you can do all in the blue if you want, doesn't matter to me

Step Two: Adding the heads 

The next thing to do is add the little panda heads to the blue nails. I found it best to do this in 3 steps. It may take practice to make these half circle shapes. (I usually take far too many deep breaths and shake like crazy while steadying my hand when doing it) and mine came out okay, so no worries.

Angle the brush and go from the center down

Repeat on the other side 

Last, fill in the center as best you can 

Step Three: Practice the panda face 

If you want to do a good job on the face it's best to practice using paper first, so you can see how much polish you need for each part. I usually dab some nail polish on a piece of scrap paper and then use a stretched out bobby pin or a flat toothpick, and draw out what I want it to look like. 

Because it dried quickly you don't want to put too much at once

Once it thickens it's harder to use so try to "refresh" often

My final design ended up looking a bit different, so practice is good 

Step Four: The ears 

Once everything is dry and you've got in your practice, use your tool to make little ears on top of the white. I just did two "dots" really close together to make it into a half circle type shape. Then I repeated this on my thumb using the silver/sparkly color to add more variation.

Just keep dabbing slowly until the ears are the size that you want

If you don't want a "bling panda" you can use black or make them all bling pandas, up to you.

Step Five: The eyes

While having bags under my eyes just looks like I'm tired, it makes pandas cute (lucky...). Using the same tools and colors as before make the eyes as thick little stripes that are slightly tilted downwards. Start at the top and pull to the left or right at a slight angle, then thicken it up after if you need to. 

Honestly, they look cute just like this too 

Step Six: The nose and pupils

Next you'll need to use much lighter pressure (and fast speeds can help too) to make little dots. For the nose just "boop" the center under the eyes. After that you're going to use white and very gently add a tiny white center to the eyes right in the middle. The lighter the pressure you use the smaller the dot. 

Not all noses are the same size.

But you should be proud of your nose, Mr. Panda!

You can tell that one of them was done... More heavy handed 

Step Seven: The bamboo 

You can't have pandas without making them a snack too. Also, it's hard to make tiny little pinky pandas, so we're going to add bamboo to the two white nails. First you need to make a line, as thin as you can, across your nail. You can go in a straight line, at a slight slant, or both depending on mood really. After that add two or three little leaves by pulling small lines next to the main "stalk". 

It doesn't need to be perfect, clearly 

They aren't really dots or lines, something in-between 

Step Eight: Clean up time and final coat

After you've painted everything you need to let it dry and then you can clean up the edges with some nail polish remover. Once it's dried for about 10 minutes you can apply the clear coat on top.

This is why being messy it okay, you can also fix it later 


Step Nine: Taking photos and letting them dry 

Here's a big tip, take photos quickly if you want nice ones, because chances are you may just smear a nail and mess it up (from experience). This gives you proof of what you've done. You also need to let you nails dry a long time. If you take breaks between coats it will help a lot, but usually I take how long I think it will take to dry and then double that. If you're in a hurry you can just soak your nails in ice water for a while to quick dry them too.

Now you're all done! If you try this out let me know in the comments, or you can show my on Instagram or Twitter. I hope you think they are as cute as I do!

See you next time you jump down the rabbit hole,

- C.A.M.