nail art,nail art gallery, nail art designs

March 20, 2012
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Liz sent a request in last month (still catching up, ack!) for a houndstooth design so I wanted to use the opportunity to both try a new grid technique and do a quick tutorial on how to execute this design.

Two things to note here:

1. The design itself is actually pretty easy — a few extra steps, but it’s really just squares with a few tags and lines, you can do this!

2. I totally screwed up the foundation on this, so my attempt to try a textile approach to laying out the grid didn’t work perfectly, which dominoed down to the final product.  The finish isn’t perfect on this, but I promise you the approach/design is accurate.

I started with a white base and then went in with some red (just acrylic here, I was too zonked last night to deal with trying to keep runny polish in line) to draw vertical bars.

houndstooth tutorial

Then, going back in with white, I drew in horizontal lines to break those up.

nail art grid

See, that’s where I screwed up.  My two sets of lines weren’t evenly spaced, which is so so so super crucial to this design working out right in the end.  Instead of eyeballing it I should’ve just begun with the grid pattern I used for the Tetris nails, and then filled in the appropriate boxes: for this design, you’d have one row in an entirely solid color (mine is white), and then the following row with alternating color blocks (so red, white, red, white, etc.).  A pretty simple grid setup, but like I said, if you screw up the spacing on this, it messes the final layout up pretty good.  I guess another alternative is to use something like a fabric tape measure and mark out even tick lines on each nail — especially handy for those of us with curvy nails — to ensure that the lines perfectly intersect and maintain spacing.  Oooooo or taping too, if you’re good at cutting and laying uniformly!

So moving on, and ignoring that these aren’t a perfect grid, the next step is to start creating tags to hang the tooth on.  On your row of colored boxes, go in first and extend the top right corner so that a line pulls up half way through the dead white space above it:

nail art tutorial

And then the same corner again, this time drawing another line to the right of the box:

houndstooth trend

To finish these corners, you just go back in and pull the tips of those two prongs that you just added at a 45 degree angle back into the square, meeting half way across the box.

houndstooth nail art

That’s sort of the math of this manicure: everything in halves.  The lines go half way through things, the points meet half way through the blocks, etc.  Which is why the spacing becomes so important…

And then finally you add a diagonal line from the top left corner of the boxes you just embellished down to the bottom right corner of the colored block to the left.  Cover it up with some topcoat and you’re done!

Houndstooth Nails How-To

houndstooth manicure

11 Responses

  1. MelissaF says:

    WOW – very neat, thank you! Have to try this!

  2. mousiemomma says:

    awesome job! i’ll have to try this out next time i do my nails

  3. Rachel says:

    I’ve been wanting to do freehand houndstooth for so long. Thank you for the awesome tutorial! Definitely putting it on my to do list!

  4. Amazing tutorial! I think I’m going to need some acrylic paint :)

  5. the nerd says:

    Thanks ladies, I hope it works out great for you! Honestly, the real devil is in the grid — and of course it looks fine if it’s not PERFECT, but I’m nuts like that. :)

  6. Katie says:

    I’ve tried houndstooth nails before completely agree with you the devil is in the grid! I’ll have to try tape next time.

  7. Crystal says:

    I was just wondering how one might go about a design like this! Definitely going to have to try this in the future :) Looks great!

    • the nerd says:

      Thanks! The trick really is in the grid — barring perfect eyeballing or taping, you could always use a pencil to draw in the lines first to make sure they’re all even. If you can get the grid right, the rest is a cakewalk!

  8. Fingers says:

    This is my all time fave design! But I usually just use a stamp!

  9. Lilly says:

    This is beautiful, but isn’t there supposed to be another line going from the bottom right hand corner of the red box at a 45 degree angle down and left until it hits the other red box?

    • admin says:

      Totally could be! Truthfully, I used a little mat in my kitchen for reference on this one, so it’s entirely possible that it’s a weird variation of the pattern — in fact I just did a Google image search and yep, there are plenty that have the double-down lines in ‘em (and some really peculiar variations I’d never even considered!).

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