There are so many fun and creative ways to bring a Disney flair into your daily life. I love rocking a great Disney-inspired manicure when I go to the parks, but nail art is also a great way to bring magic back home. It can be a lot of fun to get pampered with some dazzling nails, but there are plenty of adorable designs you can do at home! For this at-home experiment, I tried to re-create Up-inspired nail art designed by @polishandbeyond!
To be completely clear – I did NOT create this design. I found it on Pinterest, shared from @polishandbeyond’s Instagram page. Check them out for some great manicures and more beautiful nail art here, though the page has been quiet for a couple of years now. Chelsea, the artist from @polishandbeyond has gorgeous work and my imitation is just that – a reproduction for fun during quarantine. I bow to her superior skill.
What I love most about this design is that it’s instantly recognizable to any Disney fan, and its a beautiful look, but it isn’t a completely intimidating design. Also, you don’t need a ton of nail space, so you can still accomplish this look without long nails or acrylic tips. If you’re still nervous, don’t be! I’ll walk you through it, step-by-step, and give you some tips along the way.
Up Nail Art – Supplies
The one downside to this design is that you need a lot of colors for Mr. Fredricksen’s balloons. As an upside – it doesn’t matter what those colors are because they’re balloons, so use whatever you’ve got! For this, you will need:
- At least 5 fun colors of polish for balloons
- White nail polish
- Light blue nail polish
- Base coat / Top coat
- A thin brush
- A dot tool (I have no clue what this thing is called, but if you don’t have one, a Bobby Pin opened up or the tip of a very thin pen or mechanical pencil will work just fine. Maybe don’t pick your favorite pen because this could clog it up.)
- A Ziplock bag (or a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil)
- 1 – clean and shape your nails. If you usually have lotion on your hands, make sure to wash your hands and scrub your nails with a washcloth or a small brush. Oils in lotion may cause your polish to peel pretty quickly.
- 2 – paint on a layer of base coat. This isn’t necessary for the design, but if you don’t want your nails to be potentially stained blue, it’s a good step to add in.
- 3 – paint all of your nails a sky blue color. Use as many coats as you need to have complete coverage. I usually leave my thumbs for last because I inevitably use them to clean up my other fingers.
- If you make a mess on your fingers, you can clean it up with a q-tip or a stiff makeup brush (I like using an angled eyebrow brush) dipped in nail polish remover to clean it up. If your hands aren’t quite steady enough for that, don’t worry! Leave the polish on your fingers. Once you’re done with this whole design and everything is completely dry, just take a hot shower and you can easily pick the polish off of your skin. It’ll come right off!
- Let the blue dry COMPLETELY before you move on.
- 4 – paint some clouds on your thumb, first finger, and pinky finger.
You have three options for these.
First, you can freehand draw some clouds. I like to make clouds with a straight line for the bottom and two or three bumps on top (differing in sizes). You may want to squeeze your brush to steady yourself but I’ve found that a tight grip makes me shake, so try to relax.
Second, if this isn’t working, use your dot tool to help make the bumps in your cloud and then just connect the bumps with your brush.
Third, if the freehand clouds really aren’t your jam, option three is here to save the day – pull apart a small piece of cotton ball to make it fluffy and dip it in your white polish. Then, lightly stamp the cotton on your nails to make some wispy clouds across the sky. I used this technique for my right hand. It’s going to get polish on your skin, but you can clean that up with a brush or q-tip (or in the shower later, like I mentioned above).
- 5 – the balloons! These will be focused on your middle and ring fingers, toward the side of each finger nearest to the other. The idea is that you’re creating a picture across both nails when they’re held side by side.
For this step, drip a small amount of each balloon color into its own little puddle on a non-absorbent surface. I like to use a Ziplock bag (I’ve always got one in the house and it works really well). Then, wiping off your tool of choice in between each color, lightly dip your dot tool (or Bobby Pin or pen or pencil) into the color and on to your nail. Don’t press too hard and feel free to dot the same color multiple times if it’s too light.
Start with one or two balloons of each color on each finger to make sure you have enough space for all of the colors. Your balloons should overlap and you should feel free to add as many as you’d like. Keep the balloons to the top two-thirds of your nails to leave room for the balloon strings below.
- 6 – Using your thin brush, carefully paint on your balloon strings. Make angled lines from the outside of your balloon bunches toward the bottom, inside corner of each nail so it looks like the strings bunch together to a single point (Carl’s house).
- 7 – once everything is completely dry, pop on a top coat to help it all last a little longer. BE PATIENT here. If you put on the top coat too soon, it may cause your colors to smear and run.
That’s it! You’re ready to fly off to South America!! Since this process involves some waiting between steps, make it into a lazy day project. Pop on a Disney movie (might I suggest “Up”) while you work on your nail art to keep you from rushing. To visit the parks, put some Magic on your Monitor! If you decide to try this design yourself, make sure to let me know how to goes!
We’re always seeing great recipes, DIY projects, and generally perfect homes online. For some reason, when us mere mortals try those projects, they don’t always turn out quite right. It can make taking that first step intimidating. Who wants to invest all that time and money into something that will look more like a Rorschach test than a mural on their wall? With the “Kim Tries” series, I’m here to be the guinea pig for you, so check out all of my adventures and let me know if there are any projects you’d like me to try! Drop a comment below or find me on Instagram @castleboundkim — tag me if you try any of these out!