Painting your nails a solid color is one thing—but what if you want your fingertips to don a more complex design, like cosmic stars and swirls? Surprisingly, you don’t have to go to a salon. With a few nail art tools and techniques, you can create galaxy nail art all on your own. Here’s how! 

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How to Create Galaxy Nail Art

To create galaxy nail art, you’ll need a few basic supplies. If you’ve already started to dabble in nail art, you probably have all of these at home—but even if you’re a total beginner, these materials are easy to find and can be used to create tons of other designs.

  • Black nail polish
  • A few celestial colors of nail polish or acrylic paint—we recommend white, blue, purple, and silver sparkles, but you can use whatever colors you prefer!
  • Clear top coat
  • Makeup sponges
  • Dotting tool and thin nail art brush (no tools on hand? Try a toothpick!)

New to Nail Designs? 

The Nail Trail: The Beginner’s Guide to Nail Art

mint nail
Source: instagram
Nail art brushes, like these from @orly, are essential for adding small details. 

Step 1: Paint the Base Coat

Apply two coats of opaque black nail polish and let it dry completely. This will be the foundation of your space-inspired design. 

Step 2: Add Bands of Color 

The other colors you chose will make up the bands of color within your tiny galaxy. Pour a small amount of each color on a plate. Dip your makeup sponge in the lightest color—in this case, white—and lightly dab it across the center of your nail, leaving some black visible on either side. (Tip: You can change up the placement of the band for each nail—e.g., vertical, diagonal, horizontal—for a more abstract look.)

Then, repeat the process to layer on each of your remaining colors. Dab a tiny bit of blue on top of the white, and then add a little purple over the blue. Add a layer of silver sparkles, and finish with just a touch of white. You may need to experiment a bit to get the look you want, but in general, use a light touch—you can always build up the color, but you can’t easily remove it. 

blue galaxy nails
Source: instagram
@nailsbyagape displays nails with bands of white and blue. 

Step 3: Hand Paint the Details 

For a final touch, use your dotting tool (or a toothpick) to add some small white dots across each nail to represent little stars in your galaxy. With a thin nail art brush, you can also add a few slightly bigger stars. To create a star, start with a medium dot of white paint, and then add a vertical and horizontal line through the center of it. 

purple galaxy nails
Source: instagram’s nails feature tiny stars created with a dotting tool and thin nail art brush. 

Step 4: Finish With a Top Coat

Finally, add a top coat. Especially if you used acrylic paint to create the galaxy nail art, the top coat will add an even shine to your nails, and it will help keep your hard work from chipping. 

Reach for the Stars

Nail art can be intimidating—after all, nails are tiny canvases—but with a few tools and a little patience, you can create some impressive designs. Try this simple galaxy design, and your nails will look out of this world! 

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Written by:

Katie Wolf