Friday, April 18, 2014

Tribal Beads

I am loving all the African and Aztec inspired clothes and accessories in the shops at the moment, particularly the beaded jewellery and bags. I wondered if I could use seed beads to do some tribal nail art so I got out my craft supplies and began to experiment. I am happy with how well it worked. It's really easy to do so I even managed to make my right hand look the same as my left.

To create beaded nails like this you will need a polish for your base colour, a fast drying top coat, a slower drying clear polish, a cocktail stick or toothpick, a pin and a whole lot of glass seed beads. I used size 11 beads (the most common size) and it is important to remember that with seed beads the higher the number, the smaller the bead. Packs of assorted size 11 seed beads are available from craft shops or ebay, but can often be found cheaper from pound shops, discount book shops (like The Works) or market haberdashery stalls.

I started with two coats of Jess polish in shade All That Jazz (Poundland exclusive) for the base. I applied the beads one nail at a time, first applying a coat of clear L.A.Colors polish (£1 from my local pharmacy) and then placing the beads one by one onto the wet polish using a cocktail stick dipped in clear polish. You don't want to push the cocktail stick through the hole of the bead as this makes sticking the bead to the nail difficult, you just want to pick up the beads by gently touching them with the tacky tip of the stick. When you've created the desired pattern, press the beads gently with a finger to firmly stick them in place.

Once you've stuck beads to all your nails, apply a thick coat of the fast drying topcoat totally covering the whole nail and the beads. I used Konad Special Top Coat. Air bubbles will form inbetween the beads and in the holes so quickly take a pin and pop as many as you can before the top coat starts to dry. Repeat this for every nail and once the top coat is dry the beads will be stuck fast.

I was worried that I'd lose beads during the day, but after 24 hours of wear including a lot of shopping and handbag rummaging, all the beads were still in place. I did keep getting my nails caught in my hair and snagging my clothes on them though, so they aren't the most practical nail embellishments. I'm going to look for some even smaller size 15 seed beads because I think they would be easier to wear.

I'm pleased with the way my beaded nail experiment worked out. I even got a compliment on these nails from a shop assistant while I was buying my weekly nail polish haul today!

What do you think of the idea of using seed beads for nail art? Is it something you would try?


  1. I love this!! Totally inspired, I'm going to have to pick up some beads and give it a try. :) :)

    1. Glad I have inspired you. Let me know what you do with the beads!

  2. This looks so cool and the blue is a lovely shade too :-) I think the colours go really well together! :-)