Pocket Money Polishes

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Vintage Bird and Floral Mani

I was super excited to do another acrylic free hand design after the way my last one turned out – I have to say getting used to this tiny canvas and scale isn’t easy but at the same time this sort of artwork is pretty simple and yet eye catching (at least, I think so anyway!). This design was inspired by a scarf that I saw in Marks and Spencers – its amazing how many things I take pictures of while I am out cause I think they will look cool on my nails.



For this mani I started with two coats of OPI Skull and Cross Bones which is a taupey dusty grey creme polish from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection but any dusty neutral base will work. Once this was dry I took my fine tiny detail brush from Born Pretty Store (full details HERE) and got to work. Don’t forget to use code XPG10 for 10% off your Born Pretty Store order.



I’ve picked up a few different tips from various places when it comes to working with acrylic paint on nails and one of the most important ones is something Robin Moses talks about all the time: thin your paint – this is what will give you lovely fluid and thin lines. Another great tip is to consider your nails when composing the elements of your design – if you have shorter nails then move the details towards the tips and if you have longer nails then add designs further up, this really balances out the design and your nails. Ok so I didn’t entirely follow that rule but I did my best to keep it in mind. I am not sure where I first heard it but it is actually easily to apply acrylic onto matte nails so if you’re having problems applying some matte topcoat over your base might help! The other tip or piece of advice is something Verity from BionicHipsandFingerTips told me: its ok to screw up with acrylic, you can just paint over it or if you’re quick wipe it off.



Basically this design is just building up layers – I started out with my dark branches, then I added a lighter shade of grey for the leaves, then the darker veins on the leaves. I started out with the lighter colours – yellow and ochre and then added my red tones (see the large flower in particular). The best thing is these are pretty abstract flowers so they don’t have to be perfect and because it’s a variety of different flowers I was inspired by, I didn’t have the pressure of making them all the same.  I thought of lilacs, marigolds, tulips, foxgloves, carnations. The bird is a direct copy of one on the scarf, I added in my colours and then the grey shaping around for the wings, tail and head. There are little errors here and there but from a distance my mum thought I had decals on my nails. One thing no one has ever mentioned is that acrylic on nail polish looks a bit funny until you topcoat it – it kind of has matte patches and occasionally textured patches, so don’t worry if it looks a bit off, topcoat brings the whole thing to life in my opinion. It is a vital step in protecting your design too as acrylic paint is water soluble and will just flake off without it. Unlike nail polish acrylic paint is fairly unlikely to smear when you apply topcoat BUT I would always suggest doing a little test on a nail wheel first, because it would be a shame to ruin any art work.


I hope you like this design! HAVE FUN! If you want to do this design on yourself but you’re non dominant hand isn’t up to fine lines then you can create decals with acrylic paint the same way you do with stamping decals – just paint your design onto your stamper, add a thin coat of topcoat et voila! If you have any questions or tips please do leave a comment below!

4 comments on “Vintage Bird and Floral Mani

  1. Jessica W.
    December 29, 2014

    This is so lovely! Great job with your painting. 🙂

  2. Lisa N.
    December 29, 2014

    These look so pretty!

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This entry was posted on December 29, 2014 by in Nail Art and tagged , , , , .


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