Skip to main content

How to Paint Waves for a Beach Nail Design

Learn how to paint waves for a beach nail design from nail artist Simcha Whitehill aka Miss Pop in this Howcast nail tutorial.


I call this nail Seaside in Aguadilla, because when I was on vacation, you know I just still had to do my nails. I didn't want to leave the beach, so I took a piece of it with me. I put a sand beach manicure on my nails. So we're going to start by taking a few shades of blue and making that ombre of the ocean. Start with that light color and go all way to the deep, rich blue of the ocean.

So I lay down a very light, sheer turquoise with a lot of sparkle in it. But I would recommend when you're doing the ocean because all the glimmer that gets picked up in the sun, you want to use a metallic. You don't want to do this with flat blues, so get three shades of metallic blue. First I did light turquoise, then turquoise, then a deep rich, sort of a peacock blue. Don't forget, since we're going to have sand, the sand is going to be in a ruffian french at the base of the nail.

So after applying that medium turquoise I go in with a deep, peacock blue that's shimmery. You know with the beach, the way the waves are you don't want to necessarily lay it like an even ombre. You want it to sort of stack up on one side more than another. That'll give it more realistic beach quality. Try to think of dabbing it down in waves. If you twist your wrist while you're holding the sponge it will give you these round shapes as opposed to a flat square or triangle. So it's just a gentle, gentle wrist motion to give you that radius. So now I'm going to go in and add the white sea foam, where I think the waves will crash.

You can do this with white acrylic paint or nail polish. But you want so little on the brush, because it's just a little bit of foam. This is one of the rare times where I actually prefer acrylic paint to nail polish. Acrylic paint is great to paint with in general, but it leaves a dullness that top coat, I think, just can never quite bring out. So I try to use it sparingly when I do use it. Here I'm just going to use it for the sea foam. and you just want to sort of dab, dab, dab. If you feel like you got too much on you can just blend it with your finger. You can get the acrylic paint actually, at beauty supply stores. It's pretty common in nail art, so they do carry them. I just prefer lacquer. But like any artists it's the medium you like and that you're comfortable with. The color is more about the depth of the ocean than the wave.

Popular Categories