Google Something Clever 2.0: Newsprint Nails

Nov 21, 2012

Newsprint Nails

I'm going to teach you how to do something cool with nail polish.

Huh? This isn't that kind of blog! I know. I don't talk about it much, but I love doing my nails. I don't have fake nails, and I don't pay anyone to paint them. I do them myself, and I really enjoy it. It's like painting ten lovely pictures once a week. It's art. I've been all about it since I was around ten years old, save for a recess of approximately one year when my son was teething... He enjoyed chewing on my fingers, and the first time I noticed a chip of nail polish on his lip, I realized that I should probably lay off of it until that phase was over.

When I was a kid, I would spend hours on my nails. I'd use toothpicks or sewing needles to painstakingly draw little designs on them. As I got older, I didn't have that kind of time. I'd do one color, maybe a layer of glitter over them.

A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon a video on YouTube of a woman with an absolutely delightful accent showing the world how to do water marble nails. It is the coolest thing in the world, and not that hard (once you get the hang of it), but it does take a while, so I don't do them very often. It was so amazing to me the first time I saw it, I made my husband watch it when he got home from work. I figured that he'd roll his eyes and be all, "That's nice, dear," but he actually found it really interesting, too. Here she is:


But like I said, that shit is time-consuming. If you're lucky enough to have a kid who takes long naps, I highly recommend that you try it.

If you don't have a lot of time, but want another impressive nail polish trick, you need to try newsprint nails. I did them the other day prior to attending a party, and so many people commented on them. And here's the thing: I was a little tipsy when I did them, and they were far from my best work. That's how great they are: they're a show-stopper even when you half-ass them.

You will need:

  • White (or really any light-colored) nail polish
  • Base coat
  • Top coat
  • Newspaper
  • Rubbing alcohol
Do your base coat and polish. White or light gray would be the norm, but I've also done lavender and lime green, and they looked awesome. Let it dry completely. I mean, so dry that you would feel comfortable scratching the price tag off of something. 

Rip up some small bits from the newspaper. Choose pieces without any line breaks. Also, the smaller the font, the better. If you can get classified ads, those are great. You'll need one for each nail, and you should count on screwing up a few times, so get maybe fifteen. Then, get a shot glass or ramekin and fill it with rubbing alcohol.

One at a time, dip your nail in the alcohol for ten seconds, shake off any drips, then press a piece of newsprint on it for another five or ten seconds. The alcohol will suck the ink out of the paper and onto your nail. 

Be sure not to press too hard, or some fibers from the paper will adhere to your nail. If that does happen, it's not the end of the world- you can't really see it; it just feels lumpy and weird. 

If you smudge one, put it on crooked, or what have you, you can just rub some of the alcohol on your nail to erase it and try again.

Please note that the print will be backwards, but that's okay. It's fun to try and read them later when you're bored.

Finish with top coat. Top coat is an absolute must for this- the newsprint will wash right off otherwise.

Ta-da!