I was putting away this little mini kit from Ulta today when I realized “holy crap, Kejal asked for a how-to on the peacock nails and I completely spaced!” (not as random as you’d think: the package for the Ulta Strut-Worthy minis has peacock feathers on the packaging). So whoopsie, my bad for taking so long, but here ya go! And sorry for the crazy light, I don’t really have much in the way of bright interior lighting.
The tools: a long skinny brush, a small-tipped detail brush, and whatever polishes you want to use (I’ve seen a lot of orange and blue peacock nails that are beautiful) — I kept this all in the Ulta wheelhouse and used Uptown Girl for the base (loves!), Fowl Play (purple one), Don’t Pea-cocky (blue one) and Shake Your Tail-feather (green one) from Strut-Worthy for the feather and Sun-Sational for the bright part of the eye of the feather.
First step: making all the feathery business with the long skinny brush. I LOVE doing this part and so tend to make the feathery wings the main part of my feather nails and the eye fairly small, but you can flip it around and do less of the feathering and more of the eye if you want more color pop. The feathering is pretty easy — just stripe out the center line first and start working off of that to build the feathering up around the sides. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and most of the top part is going to get covered anyway, so have fun with it.
Next you want to put the bright part of the feather down in a sort of oblong circular/egg shape tapering slightly near the top — use the small brush for this one. Keep in mind that you’re still going to have to create two more circles inside of that so make it however big you need to so that you’re not making yourself crazy in the following steps. Once you’ve got the bright part down this is a good time to also do a pass with a topcoat; you’re going to keep layering polish on and creating a flat surface after this step will help a lot in brush control.
Now you need to go in with the next feather color/whatever’s going to be the center of your feather’s eye (I used Don’t Pea-cocky) and first add a circle inside of the bright egg you just made with the small brush. Keep going — use the same color and brush to outline the eye so you’re creating more depth there, and then use the long skinny brush again to add more feathering and hilights to go along with the first round you did (in my example it was with the Shake Your Tail-feather green).
Almost there! Pick up a little black with your small brush and create a sort of Pacman shape inside of the circle you put in the middle of the eye so that the “mouth” is facing down the stem of the feather. In my scale it’s really more of a semi-circle you’d see on a leopard print, but if you’re going bigger just think “Pacman” and you’ll be fine. You can also go back in and clean up anything that looks wonky to you, or even go nuts and keep adding details and feathering til you’re done futzing with it. I used a little bit of the Fowl Play to add a few more feather bits but then realized a) the lighting’s crap and you probably won’t see it and b) I’mma ’bout to take it off anyway to go soak my nails so no sense in going nuts (or applying a final topcoat, but you get the idea).