How to Make 3D Nail Art

3 D nail artFingernails have long been canvasses for self-expression, and the new trends with elaborate designs, eye-catching colors, and bold patterns have grown into a new dimension, leading enthusiasts eager to learn how to make 3D nail art. As with two-dimensional styles, the levels of difficulty and complication range from the beginner-friendly, with ready-made patterns and adornments ready to fix in place, to the expert do-it-yourself artist level, where each element is user-crafted and applied.

Making 3D Nail Art

Some basic supplies are necessary for all levels, such as brushes and nail glue, but with those basics and a store of patience, even a newcomer to three-dimensional nail artistry can get a simple, successful start.

Tools to Begin Making 3D Nail Art

The supplies needed for crafting three-dimensional fingernail or toenail art can sound deceptively simple. When actually shopping for them, the array of choices can quickly confuse a new nail artist. Brushes in various sizes, for example, are a required part of delicate applications of cut-outs and rhinestones, as well as for the crafting of gels or acrylic into bead shapes such as roses.

Molds can simplify the formation of such beads. Glitter or eyeshadow can add the illusion of greater depth beneath more solid additions, such as paper cut-outs or molded beads, that require nail glue. Clear coat nail polish is essential as a final step to hold the delicate parts of the exacting labor together.

Preparing for the First Project Making 3D Nail Art

For a first project, a beginner 3D nail artist should explore basic ideas until finding a project that is irresistible, and then purchase supplies with that project in mind. Friends’ nails, celebrity styles, magazines, and the Internet all are good places to get a feel for the possibilities. Even when starting a design completely from scratch, a sketch with a detailed list of desired colors and inclusions will be invaluable. Having a plan before shopping will save money and wasted materials later on.

Polishes and glitters are available in every imaginable color to create the desired effect, and rhinestones and cut-outs to give greater depth also come in limitless variety. The choices can be overwhelming to one beginning to assemble supplies, but starting with a base color is a simple first step. A clear coat is another alternative to ready the canvas of the nail.

Additional colors, for creating the designs and patterns on which the 3D elements will rest, should follow. Choosing glitter, if desired, can be done at this point, to easily match and harmonize with the previously decided shades.

Mistakes Common to the Beginner Nail Artist

One of the advantages to learning from the example of other artists is that a learner can avoid the mistakes those artists experienced. In making artistic nails with three-dimensional elements, the biggest mistakes are related to hurrying.

Each coat, for the best results, should be allowed to dry before continuing on to the next. Rushing in the crafting of gel or acrylic beads tends to create lumpish, unclear shapes, rather than the sharply detailed results that draw admiring attention.

A final mistake to avoid is underestimating, or overusing, nail glue. This powerful adhesive is effective in small amounts, and carelessness has often led to a new nail artist with fingers glued together, or to any convenient surface. If this happens, a hasty attempt to scrape the glue off like regular glue, or to simply force the glued surfaces apart, will lead to skin loss, pain, and frustration. Patient, repeated washing of the affected area will eventually cause the glue to flake away.

Designing Custom 3D Elements

Three-dimensional nail art comes in all colors and textures, and no artist is limited by those who have gone before. Some examples of nail art are quite subdued, such as the addition of a few smaller beads on toenails, while others dwarf the fingers they adorn, in the form of many-hued talons or unique shapes to make a statement.

While each artist should draw inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, expert guidance can simplify the learning process in turning visions into realized works of nail art. Our instructors at Evergreen Beauty College can offer experience in cutting edge techniques to aspiring nail artists.

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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