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Nail Art Tutorial: Rainbow Fish Scale Manicure

Nail Art Tutorial: Rainbow Fish Scale Manicure

08.05.13

By niwp_admin

Did you not get enough painting in on International Nail Art Day? Never fear, everyday is nail art day with Nail ItClaire Metcalfe of Nuthin’ But a Nail Thing has stunned us with this rainbow fish scale manicure, and even shown us her step-by-step process. Save yourself some time by learning all the tips and tricks for creating this look from her tutorial.


For this manicure you will need:
•White polish (base color)
•Polishes for your fish scales.  For this I’ve started with about five yellow/orange shades, five red/darker orange shades and a five darker red/purple shades
•Dotting tools
•Scrap paper 
•Cotton wool
•Nail polish remover
•Top coat

  • STEP 1

    Start by painting your nails with a white base color.

    SLIDE 1 OF 11
  • STEP 2

    Once your base color is dry, gather together the polishes you are going to use for your manicure. Line them up (in color order lightest to darkest), with the lids unscrewed, and have your dotting tool and piece of scrap paper ready. Also, soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and have that on hand. As you are going to be changing colors quite frequently, it will make it easier to clean your dotting tool on the go. Place a dot of your first color at the base of your nail, and then add your second color slightly overlapping the first color. Continue this pattern along the base of your nail, using your first five light shades.

    SLIDE 2 OF 11
  • STEP 3

    Then keep going, it's as straight forward as that.  Just keep going along in rows across your nails.  You don't need to stick to a pattern or color order, just try and make sure that you don't put two dots of the same color completely next to each other.

    SLIDE 3 OF 11
  • STEP 4

    Once you are about a third of the way down the nail, introduce a new color from your second set of colors, remove the lightest color from your first set, and carry on.

    SLIDE 4 OF 11
  • STEP 5

    Keep going a row or so down, and then remove another color and add a new darker color in.

    SLIDE 5 OF 11
  • STEP 6

    Keep going until you have removed all of your first five polishes from the mix.

    SLIDE 6 OF 11
  • STEP 7

    Then repeat this process and start adding in colors from your third collection of colors, and removing the lightest color from your second collection each time.  Basically you only ever want to have five polishes on rotation at any one time.

    SLIDE 7 OF 11
  • STEP 8

    Keep going!

    SLIDE 8 OF 11
  • STEP 9

    Continue going until you have reached the tips of your nails.

    SLIDE 9 OF 11
  • STEP 10

    Once you've covered every nail, let your nails dry!  You want them to be completely dry before you top coat, so that the dots/design doesn't drag and get ruined.  Then, add your top coat, and you're done!

    SLIDE 10 OF 11
  • STEP 11

    This is a yellow to purple combination but you could use any color combination you like, as long as you start with the lightest and merge down into a dark color.

    Now your nails are ready for a swim!

    Check out Claire's other Nail It! Tutorial: Striped Ombre Leaves.
    See Claire's exclusive Nail It! Interview.
    See Claire's blog, Nuthin' But a Nail Thing.
    Take a peek at Claire's own posting of her Rainbow Fish Scale Mani.

    [Courtesy of Claire Metcalfe]

    SLIDE 11 OF 11
  • STEP 1

    Start by painting your nails with a white base color.

  • STEP 2

    Once your base color is dry, gather together the polishes you are going to use for your manicure. Line them up (in color order lightest to darkest), with the lids unscrewed, and have your dotting tool and piece of scrap paper ready. Also, soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and have that on hand. As you are going to be changing colors quite frequently, it will make it easier to clean your dotting tool on the go. Place a dot of your first color at the base of your nail, and then add your second color slightly overlapping the first color. Continue this pattern along the base of your nail, using your first five light shades.

  • STEP 3

    Then keep going, it's as straight forward as that.  Just keep going along in rows across your nails.  You don't need to stick to a pattern or color order, just try and make sure that you don't put two dots of the same color completely next to each other.

  • STEP 4

    Once you are about a third of the way down the nail, introduce a new color from your second set of colors, remove the lightest color from your first set, and carry on.

  • STEP 5

    Keep going a row or so down, and then remove another color and add a new darker color in.

  • STEP 6

    Keep going until you have removed all of your first five polishes from the mix.

  • STEP 7

    Then repeat this process and start adding in colors from your third collection of colors, and removing the lightest color from your second collection each time.  Basically you only ever want to have five polishes on rotation at any one time.

  • STEP 8

    Keep going!

  • STEP 9

    Continue going until you have reached the tips of your nails.

  • STEP 10

    Once you've covered every nail, let your nails dry!  You want them to be completely dry before you top coat, so that the dots/design doesn't drag and get ruined.  Then, add your top coat, and you're done!

  • STEP 11

    This is a yellow to purple combination but you could use any color combination you like, as long as you start with the lightest and merge down into a dark color.

    Now your nails are ready for a swim!

    Check out Claire's other Nail It! Tutorial: Striped Ombre Leaves.
    See Claire's exclusive Nail It! Interview.
    See Claire's blog, Nuthin' But a Nail Thing.
    Take a peek at Claire's own posting of her Rainbow Fish Scale Mani.

    [Courtesy of Claire Metcalfe]

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