0001-22639390  Don’t let this picture fool you – I do not have a lot of patience for DIY manicures. I have many memories of painting my nails with Emily and her being appalled at my lack of tidiness and my impatience. “STEPHANIE! You paint your nails like a child! It’s all over your cuticles!”

Dear Emily: I still don’t care.

Emily has patience and her nails ALWAYS look beautiful. She has the perfect 50’s-housewife-type nails that make you wanna die. If you want to have nails like hers, and do it with zero chemicals, check out this post. She even exfoliates and moisturizes. Homegirl is on another level.

I bite my nails (which my friend once told me was the equivalent to licking a toilet seat) and I haven’t painted my nails in months because I was way too lazy. But it was a Friday night, Anthony had to work, and I had an unusual amount of energy. Just add Ariana Grande and beer and you’ve got an insane Stephanie on a mission to do an intense nail project.

I did this leopard thing once before, a long time ago:


I pinned it to my “Outfit Archive” board (otherwise known as “Stephanie Tilting Her Head and Staring at Her Phone in Her Work Bathroom Board”) to remind myself that it actually happened, and that it was easy! I was really into painting my nails for a while though (check out my board for some other nail ideas from that time), so I hoped that I still had it in me to pull it off.

However, I firmly believe that there is nothing you can’t accomplish when “Domino” by Jessie J is playing, a beer is nearby, and you’re in a hyper mood with no plans for the night.

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I’m so sorry, but I don’t know what the name of this OPI color is. I think I stole it from a friend. But here is something similar.

The good thing about a beige color like this is that it is basically the exact color of my skin. Which means I get to skip the step where I use a q-tip with nail polish remover to clean up my cuticles after hastily slathering the polish all over my hand.

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You’ll need a beige color, a clear coat, and black nail polish. I got my black polish at Payless. It happens to have a pointy and super thin brush for this sort of thing (much like this one), but you would also do fine (it might even be easier) with a toothpick.

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Start with chewed, dry nails, and push your cuticles back with your finger. Don’t bother filing them because we have a lot of work ahead of us.

IMG_6207 I had to do 3 coats, since my base polish was pretty opaque. I didn’t want it to look like spots on my bare nail – I wanted some shine underneath.


Once your base coat is dry, don’t be scared and grab your black polish. I swear this isn’t as hard as it looks.

The good thing about doing leopard print is it’s supposed to look blobby and squiggly, so you don’t have to worry about it looking super neat. I like to make a series of slightly open circles:

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Before you know it, you’ve got the whole nail.

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Try varying the size and direction a little bit, and don’t be afraid to just leave a dot or a line if you run out of space.

When you start having to use your left hand it gets a little intense. But if you make a mistake, just go with it. Don’t obsess over tiny smudges or a line that didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Remember that it will look like leopard print in general, and that no one will stare at your thumb nail in a well-lit room from an inch away. Unless they’re super into it. In which case, swat them away and send them this post so they can continue to think your manicure is flawless.

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It took me an hour from start to finish. Like I said, I had a lot of energy and no plans. But I loved the result!

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Don’t forget to glob on a clear top coat so it doesn’t chip 3 seconds after you finish. But wait until it’s actually dry!! Unless you’re like me (remember, not a lot of patience, especially when my playlist runs out of Ariana Grande songs and oh ya I’ve been doing this for an hour) and you do this:

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…but yunno what? It kind of looks more like fur that way.

If painting your nails leopard print free-hand teaches you anything, it will be to roll with the punches.

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Into it!


What’s your favorite nail ‘do?



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