Unmanicure: How to Make Nasty Nails


Introduction: Unmanicure: How to Make Nasty Nails

About: I create and teach makeup effects and prosthetics for a living. I love The B52's, good sarcasm and boring things like history, science and Radio 4.

A short video from Stuart at http://www.learnprostheticmakeup.com/ showing you how to make a great set of nasty nails for a Halloween party zombie or creature using a plastic report/presentation cover from an office supply store.

I originally did this tutorial with fake nails from a beauty supply store, but found this method worked much better.

If you are interested in more information about makeup effects and prosthetics get the articles, tutorials and the free prosthetic makeup mini ecourse, go to http://www.learnprostheticmakeup.com/ or get in touch, and I will do my very best to help you!

I added a 'Cheat Sheet' of this for you to download here:



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    awesome!! I just find that the eyebrow glue works great too to stick the nails

    I think I'm using the wrong type of plastic. Do you mean Polly Pockets( the stuff you put in ring binder)?

    2 replies

    Hi...you don't want the soft, flexible kind you put in the ring binder. These were semi rigid, the kind you would put a report or essay in. Think of a thickness of plastic which would feel more like a plastic water bottle.

    Oh! Now I gotcha! I have just found some of that stuff! Thanks! Gonna try it now!

    This is awesome! But the thing is, that my real nails are quite long (From 1.5 to 2.5 cm from top to bottom), so these will look super long. I LOVE IT! these are the best nasty nails I have seen. Good job!

    These are fantastic! I'm going to give it a go tonight!
    Also, the bit where you peeled the false nail off at the end made me want to scream...!

    Where can I find Blood paste like the one you used here? And if i use it how does it feel and will it rub off easily and stain anything?

    1 reply


    Blood pastes, scab and wound fillers are usually available from professional makeup suppliers - you may find online sources are better than stores.

    They don't really feel of anything - they are like dried paint I guess if anything.  I used 'Scab' by 'Maekup'.  Depends where in the world you are, but in the US, Frends, Naimies, Monster Club, Monster Makers and other stores supply FX makeup.  In UK, try Screenface, Maekup, Mouldlife and Xharles Fox.


    Yay, just made them! I started them yesterday thinking "One to two hours? I can finish those in half an hour." I was wrong, it might have taken that two hours, even though they weren't done with such detail as these.
    I still haven't tried them on, but then I do, I'll share pictures :) Now I just need to figure out what would my "make-up" be for the halloween zombie-bride-costume.

    Maybe - although Spirit Gum doesn't really have the gap-filling properties on which the good adhesion relies.  It is okay on skin but will probably not really hold the nails well.

    Maybe try a little spirit gum on the back of the nail and your nail, and then use a small blob of scar wax to hold the nail on.  The spirit gum helps bond the wax and the wax fills the gaps.  

    Make sure the spirit gum is tacky and nearly dry before applying the wax.


    oh my days they are so realistic!! its just a bit too creepy for me to try... think im just going to stick with the classic black nail varnish:P

    those looked great. they would be a nice detail for a zombie costume.

    i know they are fake but they STILL unnerve me.

    That looks great. I'd love to try it.

    What a fantastic instructable!! The items needed are so accessible and the techniques are easy to do, yet the end result is so effective! Well done. I'm off to your site to see more :D

    This is great! Definitely gonna use this this year..
    (I almost feel like I'm doing something wrong because I'm the type of person whose nails are always perfectly manicured, but this'll be fun!)