Instructables
Picture of Finger pen!
So you guys all know you can make pens out of feathers, right? Well a while ago in my weirdo body-modder kind of way I decided to try and do a similar thing with fingernails (You know, FOR SCIENCE). Several weeks and broken fingernails later I discovered that such a thing is not only possible but AWESOME. Your turn!
 
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Step 2: Grow a claw!

This is the step that takes the longest for obvious reasons. I recommend growing all your nails out at once, 1: because having claws is wicked awesome and 2: because by the time I had a nail long enough to do this I had broken all but two of them. Anyway, grow your nail(s) out to at least a quarter inch (about 6mm)

Step 3: Sharpen!

Picture of Sharpen!
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Time to sharpen your claw (if you hadn't done that already). Use your files (I used jewelry files but a nail file would probably work fine) to shape your nail into the nib. You want the sides of the point to curve inward slightly to make it look more like a pen nib and the tip should be flat. I found it useful to draw black lines on the nail for guides.

Step 4: PLEASE DON'T CUT YOURSELF.

Picture of PLEASE DON'T CUT YOURSELF.
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VERY VERY CAREFULLY use the scissors to make a vertical cut down the length of the nail from the middle of the tip to the nail bed. Center it as well as you can (again, I found it useful to draw a guide).

Step 5: Ta da!!

Picture of Ta da!!
You now have a fully functional finger pen! Dip your finger in the ink, shake your finger onto some paper towels or something to get rid of some of the excess ink, but make sure there's still ink collected under your nail. Downward strokes work best, keeping your finger mostly perpendicular to the paper to avoid leaving huge droplets everywhere. Go wild!
I'd love to try this with an artificial nail tip and perhaps even acrylic nails. They'd probably last longer than regular nails. Good instructable!
LOL!! This brings "Chicken Scratch" to a whole new level
I don't think I would ever find the need to use my fingernail as a pen, but the whole sharpening thing gave me a great idea on how to improve my cosplay =D
haha! i always cut my nails like that when I get them long enough... and then i paint the tips black... and then people freak out... but I never compared my nail tip to a nib! :D
i am scared to cut my fingernail
DIS.AR.RAY5 years ago
haha, thats wicked! I can just imagine being at work, filling out some paperwork with my FINGER! haha. :D My co-workers would be even MORE freaked by me then. :D
Then start filling out paperwork using dark red ink. Now THAT would freak out your co-workers! ;-D
or do the real deal and make a tiny cut on your fingertip. everlasting ink!!! and pain!!! and a psych ward!!!!
johnd1235 years ago
WOW ! It's like a TOUCH SCREEN for PAPER!
With INSTANT interactivity, and NO lag or LOADING!
OR BATTERIES!
Eve40005 years ago
this would certainly work out when i can't find my fountain calligraphy pen. I think i may try this out...
awang85 years ago
Hmm... How do you wash your finger afterwards? Lots of soapy water?
Catling (author)  awang85 years ago
Pretty much, yeah. My finger stays pretty black but I don't mind. Next project: pen cap for my finger!
Loved this Instructable, Smexy! I've messed around with my nails for a long time since they grow so dang fast! (And I hated the process of cutting them; and never chewed them.) Thankfully, I was always considered a somewhat strange little boy, so everyone just thought that was me being me. (Lots of girls would tell me that they'd love to be able to "trade" nails with me though. And any attention from the girls was always nice.) I never got around to trying the nail-pen thing, but I've had claws every now and then. I'd usually only have one or two per hand at a time, like the pinky and the ring, or the pinky and the thumb. I even created a double claw out of one nail before. Don't even ask about my ingrown toenail problems, and the home surgery I once performed. Didn't hurt too much, but bled like a stuck pig when finished. I could have written my magnum opus with my big toe if I hadn't been feeling so woozy! Anyhoo...
hammer98765 years ago
This whole thing reminds me that a "pen knife" was so named because it was a small knife you could easily carry around that was used to whittle a pen out of a quill whenever you needed one. Apparently geese were running around everywhere and a new quill fresh off the bird was better than an old, tired, dried out one. And goose quills were somehow preferable to duck or chicken feathers. They also had "pen wipers" to wipe the pen of excess ink or blobs of gunk that you end up scratching off of the cheesy paper. Ah, what we forget from the good old days.
maruawe5 years ago
You could use fake fingernails and do the same thing without risking cutting yourself . Do the prep work on the nail then glue it on...
Sunbanks5 years ago
From looking at the thumbnail for this ible I thought you had somehow transplanted some strange pen tip onto your finger... Do you think this would work with fake nails? They probably wouldn't bend enough though...
mrmath Sunbanks5 years ago
That's comedy gold right there. "From looking at the thumbnail..." Didn't even say "no pun intended". Many that's funny! :)
Sunbanks mrmath5 years ago
I was very tempted to put "no pun intended" :P
Doctor What5 years ago
That takes some freaking dedication. I don't think I would go that long without biting them down!
How about breaking them in pliers? I would have to postpone computers and building for a while lol.
I would have to stop instructables entirely! I type too fast to actually think about where my nails would be.
Personally, I find it kind of strange...
Catling (author)  andrewmystery5 years ago
Why thank you! :D
caitlinsdad5 years ago
Maybe drill a hole in the nail at the end of the slit just like a real pen nib. It acts as a little reservoir for the ink and reduces the stress fracture of the nail. And wouldn't you want to use real blood as the ink?
Catling (author)  caitlinsdad5 years ago
That was the plan, actually. I wanted to get comfortable writing with the nail before I tried that though, and I broke the nail yesterday :( Oh well, this was only the first attempt and I've definitely learned from it. Next one will be better! I considered the hole, but the space between nail and skin acts as a very effective reservoir without it.
canida5 years ago
Neat! Hopefully you can keep more of the nails intact next time, and do some rainbow-colored multi-finger writing. Would a one-sided coat of clear polish to strengthen the nail also screw up the ink flow?
katbot5 years ago
Instead of growing our your nails for a million years, you could also get a gel or acrylic nail put on and then file it down!
But that would be infinitely less cool.
Catling (author)  Tool Using Animal5 years ago
I have no idea how well this would work with a fake nail. The reason this works like a quill pen is that fingernails are made of the same material as feather shafts (keratin). Acrylic nails are a lot thicker and would be very hard to shape/cut. Why don't youtry itand tell me how it goes?
Sandisk1duo5 years ago
Better to use an 'adapter' so that you don't have wickedly long nails
Catling (author)  Sandisk1duo5 years ago
Well you could do that, but it'd be a whole different project. The whole purpose of this endeavor was to make a tool out of my body.