The Nail Trail: The Beginner's Guide to Nail Art | Hannah Weir | Skillshare

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

teacher avatar Hannah Weir, Creator, YouTuber, Meditation Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Tools & Supplies


    • 3.

      Hand & Nail Care


    • 4.

      Ace Your Base


    • 5.

      Basic Techniques


    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.

      Half moon


    • 9.

      Clean up


    • 10.

      Seal the deal


    • 11.

      Class project


    • 12.



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About This Class

Creating your own beautiful nail designs has never been easier with this Beginner's Guide to Nail Art.

Join self taught nail artist Hannah Weir to learn the techniques, tips and tricks to create your very own nail art designs so you can do it yourself!

Follow the nail trail now to start learning.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Hannah Weir

Creator, YouTuber, Meditation Teacher


Hi there! I'm Hannah, a multi-passionate creative, podcaster, YouTuber and certified meditation and mindfulness teacher. I love to create content that inspires self discovery, self expression and self love.

I hope my creations may empower you to live as your true self, and to support you on your own path of discovering what that looks like to you.


You can find more from me below:





podcast: See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Hey guys, I'm Hannah, and in this class I'm going to be teaching you all that nail art. This is basically a beginner's guide to nail art so I'm going to be teaching you all about the basic tools and techniques you need to know to create some cute, fun, and really easy nail designs. Nail art has become really popular in the last few years. It's a great way to express yourself, to try something new, have a bit of fun, and get creative. I've been doing nail art for about seven years now and I'm self-taught, sorry, I'm really excited to teach you all the tips and tricks that I've picked up over the years. For the class project, you're going to be creating one of your very own nail art designs using one of the techniques demonstrated in this course. I'm so excited to go on this journey with you and to see what amazing nail art designs you create. 2. Tools & Supplies: To start off, I wanted to talk you through the basic tools and supplies that you'll need. So, I've picked out some of my favorite and probably the things that I use the most often to create knowledge and just the basic supplies that you'll need to get started. You will need a nail file, some nail polish remover, a dotting tool and needs generally have two different sized metal balls at each end, a striper brush and orange stick, a base coat or treatment of some sort, some cuticle oil and your hand cream, a top coat, some round band-aids or you can also use bind a whole reinforcements stickers, some cotton pads, some cotton tips or you could even use a clean up brush or an angled brush and lastly, a whole bunch of different colored and now polishes. 3. Hand & Nail Care: One of the most important things when it comes to nails is good nail cuticle and hand care. Before I do any now design, I like to prep and shape my nails. First of all I come in with a nail file or an emery board and just file back my nails into the shape that I'm after. Once I'm happy with those, I will generally come in next with a cuticle oil. This is the best for your nails and your cuticles. What it does is it helps to moisturize and soften the cuticles, and by rubbing it into your cuticles, you actually also stimulate nail growth so it's really good if you're trying to grow long and strong nails. What you want to do is just apply some of the oil to your cuticle and just use a finger to rub that in and let it really soak into the skin. Then what I like to do is come in with a moisturizer and just add some of that and really moisturize and soften my hands. 4. Ace Your Base: Now for that our nails are all nice and prepped, I'm going to show you how to ace your base. In order to ace our base, we want to have as much of a canvas as possible to work off. I like to push my cuticles back using an orange stick or even just one of my other nails. Then I like to come in with a base coat, or a nail strengthener, or treatments. Some of my favorites are Essie Millionnails, Revitanails nail strengthener, or OPI Nail Envy, I like to apply a thin layer of a base coat before I paint on any nail colors or nail polishers. This will act as a bit of a barrier. It prevents your nails from getting stained. It also keeps them nice and healthy and strong. Ones that's dry, we're ready to move on to the second part of acing our base, which is to do the base color. Here I'm going to use these beautiful lilac purple. When I'm applying it, what I do is make sure that I've got a good amount on the brush, not too much, but also not too little. You want to have a bit of a play around here, to get a sense of what's a good amount for the nail polish to go on from the brush onto your nails. I try and get as close to the cuticle as possible without actually flooding or touching the cuticle. I find these looks the neatest and I'm going to show you a little bit later how you can clean it up if you make a little bit of a mistake. Don't worry too much, but I find these looks the neatest and is also the easiest to apply and you don't get any nail polish around the edges of your nail. 5. Basic Techniques: The techniques I'm going to show you in today's class are doting, striping, and how to create a half moon manicure. 6. Dots: The first technique I'm going to be showing you is dots. We'll be using the dotting tool for this one, and if you don't have a dotting tool, you can also use a bobby pin or the head of the pin, something like that. What I like to do is place a little bit of the nail polish that we want to dot on down onto a piece of paper. This works as a bit of a palate, and then what I do is I come in with the dotting tool and dip that into the nail polish that we've just put down on the piece of paper. Then I transfer it over on to the nail like so. I just keep dipping the dotting tool into the nail polish and then dotting it down onto my nail. As you can probably tell, I'm creating a floral design. I'm just placing five little dots down into a circular shape, and then we're going to come in and add a dot in the middle afterwards. What you'll find is the nail polish starts to dry a little bit on the piece of paper and also on the dotting tool. I like to clean my dotting tool throughout as I create the design. I do these by just placing a little bit of nail polish remover on a cotton pad and then folding that over the tip of the dotting tool and rubbing it just to remove that nail polish from the tip of the dotting tool. You want to keep applying nail polish down onto the paper palette as it starts to dry out and get a little bit stringy or tacky. Then I'm going to come in with some yellow polish now and place a little bit of that down onto the paper, and then dip my dotting tool into it and add some little yellow dots into the center of our flowers. How cute are those seriously? So easy using a dotting tool, and as I said before, you can also use a bobby pin. It's really simple to do a dotted design. 7. Stripes: The next technique I'm going to show you is stripes. This time we'll be doing a very similar approach but just using a different tool. Start placing some nail polish down onto a piece of paper to act as a pallet, and then coming in with the striper brush this time and going to deep that into the nail polish and then apply it to the nails. The trick here is not to have too much or too little now polish on the brush. So you really want to just trial and error and have a bit of a play around until you get the feel of what amount of nail polish you needed to create the perfect stripes. As you can see, I like to start from the top of the nail and swipe the striper brush down to the tip of the nail. Just like with the dotting tool that I showed you before, we're going to keep the brush nice and clean throughout the design. So coming in with a cotton pad with some nail polish remover on it. What I also like to do is put a little bit of nail polish remover into the lid of the removal bottle and then I dip the brush tip in throughout to keep it clean and just remove any of that excess nail polish. For this design, I'm going to do a few different colored stripes. I'm now coming in with some silver nail polish and again, gently swiping the striper brush down the center of the nail like so. The trick here is to work really slowly and to use the length of the brush. You want to angle the brush in the direction of the stripes that you're painting to make the most of that length in the brush. Again, cleaning off the striper brush in-between each colored nail polish. Next, I'm going to do some horizontal lines just to mix it up a little bit. Again, using the length of the brush and swiping it over the nail in the direction that we want to paint the stripes. 8. Half moon: The last technique I'm going to be showing you in this class is the Hofmann manicure, this is also known as the reverse French manicure. This is a really popular and fun and easy nail art design, and I like to create it using Band-Aids of all things, so I'm using these small round Band-Aids and just opening up the packet and peeling off the backing. Then I just apply these over the Hofmann at the base of my nail like so, and the idea here is to create a half-moon semicircle shaped at the base of our nails. Then coming in with some nail polish and going to apply a quarter of that to over my nail and making sure to go right up to where the Band Aid is. I'm going to do this for the rest of my nails and mix it up a little bit and do some bright fun colors. This is also called as escudo manicure when each of your nails are painted in a different bright color. I'm keeping the Band-Aids on there and I forgot to mention that you want to make sure the Band-Aids are really secure and in place so that no nail polish sits underneath. I'm coming back in and doing a second card of each of those colors. I decided the orange was a little bit too bright, so I came in with a slightly more pastoral color for the second card and once I've done each of those, I'm just peeling back the Band Aid. Now I think because I left these on a little bit too long, normally I would do them one by one, not all at once. They didn't peel off as perfectly as I'd hoped, but that that's okay. What we can do is actually come in with a clean up brush and some acetone and just touch that up a little bit to make that line around the Hofmann really perfect and crisp. 9. Clean up: Speaking of clean up, it's a great time to move on to the next step in pretty much every nail art design that I create, there's always some sort of clean up step. This is where you just remove any access nail polish from around the cuticles. I like to use an angle brush or a flat brush with some acetone or nail polish remover. If you don't have one of these brushes, you can also use key tips or cotton tips and just stick them in a little bit of nail polish remover and gently rub that around your cuticles. There are also other clean up products you can get like liquid latex, or liquid palisade, but generally I only use them when I'm doing a bit more complex nail art design so I might save that for another course. 10. Seal the deal: The very last step in nail art is to seal it all in with the top coat so I like to use a quick drying top. This is my favorite one here from Seche Vite, I never know how to pronounce that. My advice for applying top grade is to apply a decent amount. You really don't want to be stingy on the top coat. You don't want to imply too much, but at the same time, if you using a decent amount, then you're much less likely to smudge the design. I also like to swipe the product across the nail very gently not applying too much pressure. Otherwise, what you might find is that the top coat brush will actually drag the design, which is not what we want. You want to be very gentle here. Use a generous amount, not too much, but again, you just want to have a play around to get a feel for what works for you. 11. Class project: Now for the class project, it's up to you create a nail design using one of the techniques that I've demonstrated in this class. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. Please share them on social media and tag me and also share them here on Skillshare so I can see them. 12. Conclusion: That's it for my beginner's guide to nail art. I really hope you enjoyed this class and got a lot out of it. If you are on social media, I would absolutely love to connect with you. I have all my social media details in my profile, so definitely come find me on social media and we can chat over there. Thanks a lot for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing you in my next one.