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How to Do a Tattoo Nail Art Design

Learn how to do a tattoo nail design from Megan Toth in this Howcast nail art tutorial.


So for this mani, we are doing what I would describe as an old time, freak show tattoo. I just started with a simple base of a nude color. You can really choose any color that you want, but I chose something that would look like skin and using a nail art pen. Now when you use nail art pens you have to be careful. The base coat has to be completely dry, completely dry.

These pens sometimes don't glide very well so the dryer the nail polish, the better it'll glide over your nail. Nail art pens are really big this year. It's a great way to get a very intricate, tiny design on your nails. Beware, never shake your nail art pen without the cap on, unless you really love having paint all over your shirt. I leaned the hard way, so I shall pass that on to you.

Now for these nails it's a lot of triangles and dots and lines, so pretty simple things. You can just get creative. There's no real rule for doing this. I really like the triangles and the dots, so I'm going to start with, let's see we'll do some small triangles along the side here. Then just color them in.

Then as I go down the nail I'm going to make them bigger and we're going to curve around. Don't worry about getting it on your skin. You can just take that off later with an orange stick and some polish remover. It's really just like coloring with a marker, which is fun. As you kind of come around this corner you're going to want to make your triangles a little bit wider, because that will help even them out as you work around.

Then in between each of these, I'm going to put a dot. Then maybe on this side I'm going to do a couple more. All right then, you can just place dots wherever you feel like, really. Fill in some of that negative space. I'm moving on to the nails, each nail should be different. I mean you can do the same design on each nail if you want, but I like to mix it up a bit.

So we're going to do a sort of wave on this nail. You know if it helps, look up something on the internet and get some ideas. I do that all the time. If you ever feel like your pen isn't getting enough ink, you can always dab it down on a piece of paper and push that ink out a little bit.

And always make sure it's not building up too much at the tip. Because if it does and you go to put it on your nail, you're just going to have a whole glob on your nail, and that's annoying and you have to start from the beginning. If you really want a thin line, these pens will automatically give that to you. Sometimes the difficult thing is if you want to make a thicker line.

Because I've noticed that when you're using these nail art pens, when you draw a line or anything and you color it in and say, you want to make it darker or fix it or make it wider sometimes when you color over it, it will take that first coat of paint off, which can make it a little annoying.

But just take your time and maybe dab, if you want to color in something, instead of just scribbling like a pen, you have to have a bit of a lighter touch with these, in general. So we're going to do a sort of swirl and then we're going to make it a little bit thicker on the end. See how I'm kind of just doing one stroke at a time in the same direction, instead of going back and forth as if you were coloring. You don't really want to do that. It doesn't work as well.

When using these pens, you don't necessarily have to be a good artist, but I mean it helps to have some sort of drawing skill. It's just like drawing anything. It's just a pen. If you want to draw some stick figures on your nails and that's all you're good at then the pen will still work for you. It all depends. So then you have some classic tattoo nail art here for you.

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