Galaxy Fingernails




About: I'm a fun loving, happy, caring and creative person who loves a challenge and enjoys keeping the mind busy with projects!

Ever wanted the powers of the universe at your fingertips?

Then look no further because with these stylish and unique fingernails, you too can play god.

This simple and easy to follow Instructable should help guide you through the design and process of painting a galaxy on your fingernails.


  • Although this instructable uses acrylic paints, a similar effect is achievable with traditional nail painting methods.
  • When using nail polish and remover ensure you're in a well ventilated area.

Let us begin!

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Step 1: Gather Materials

In order to paint this you will need a minimum of 3 colours (In either acrylic or enamel (nail polish)), several brushes (If you're using nail polish the brushes included will do and you can use a toothpick for the pinpoint brush) and other typical fingernail materials.


  • Flat black (I'm using "Black - Vallejo model Air")
  • Rich blue (I'm using "Hawk Turquoise - Citadel Colours")
  • Pure white (I'm using "White - Vallejo model Air")
  • Gloss/Matte varnish (I'm using "Matte Varnish - Vallejo Acrylic Resin")


  • Large base coat brush - For base coat colour.
  • Fine detail brush - For the center of the galaxy
  • Pinpoint brush - For individual stars
  • Medium "Stippling" brush - For cloudy colour formations


  • Nail polish remover - For cleaning and preparing the nails
  • (Optional) Very fine sandpaper/emery board - For the tops of the nails to make the paint adhere better

Let us move on to the fun part!

Step 2: Prime the Nails

Using the nail polish remover (even on clear nails) will ensure that any residue oils or other contaminants are removed from the nail. Doing this before painting ensures that the paint will adhere better.

Optional - Lightly sand the tops of the nails.

Step 3: Basecoat the Nail

Using the large base coat brush, apply your black. Several thin coats are better than a single thick coat so take your time as we are aiming for the best quality.

Step 4: Stipple on the Clouds

"Stippling" or "Stipple" is the term given to a technique when a brush is used front on to create a small sponge effect. This technique is very useful in this design for creating floaty nebula clouds and spiral arms for galaxies.

Whilst the deep blue is still wet, introduce a very small amount of white onto your brush. "Stippling" it onto the nail will cause the blue and white to mix. This technique is called "wet blending" and creates a very smooth, even transition between two colours without the need for middle colours.
Continue this method by introducing more and more white (brighter blue on the arms and in the centre) until you've reached a desired level of brightness.

Step 5: Adding Stars and Finishing Off

Using pure white and your pinpoint brush (toothpick/blunt end of a needle works just as well) dap the tip onto the nail as lightly as possible to add minute amounts of white. These individual dots resemble stars and the more you add the more translucent your galaxy will become therefore making it look like it's floating in deep space. Adding more pure white in the very centre of the galaxy helps bring it to life.

-=Top Tip=- Adding a denser amount of stars in the galaxy arms helps bring body to your galaxy, making it look more realistic.

Using either Gloss (shiny) or Matte (flat) varnish to your nails is essential for preserving the quality of your work and protecting it from the environment.

  • Gloss varnish will deepen your colour and add vibrance - however you may lose some star detail.
  • Matte varnish will preserve your detail and is a unique finish - however too much can make it cloudy

Disclaimer - I'm using acrylic varnish however traditional enamel nail varnish will provide a stronger and better quality finish. I recommend using this for this work.

Step 6: Going the Extra Million Miles

Using the same techniques but with different colours and designs you can achieve a very large spectrum of effects. There's no end to the looks of a galaxy and there shouldn't be for yours! Creativity is key and having fun is important too. Thank you for viewing and I hope you enjoyed it!

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    18 Discussions

    dog lover109

    4 years ago

    Omg that's awsome I love it


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Lovely; the galaxies look so iridescent!
    On an unrelated note, would you be willing to tell me how you did the faint blue glowing border on your title picture? I'm trying to learn more about digital imaging techniques, so any advise would be very much appreciated!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm very glad you like them! :D

    I will try to keep it simple ;) I use photoshop CS5 for my picture editing, the border isn't there in real life but gets edited in..

    What I did was make an "inner glow" on the picture layer. This (in photoshop cs5) will make a light yellow edge around the photo. Changing the options you can make it more transparent and larger etc. I used a large solid black border and I changed the "blending properties". Blending properties is the term given to how the colour will manipulate it's surroundings. Playing around with it I used "overlay" which makes the black in the picture became more vibrant - thus, instead of a solid black, it makes this deep blue colour. The reason it's blue is because the black in picture was naturally enhanced by blue. If you need more help I could possibly do another instructable on it ;)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I love this!! Already planning on doing my nails this way! Thanks for the share. Stars are my thang!!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm really glad you like them! :D I will definitely be doing more, my partner loves them! (model in the pictures)

    Thank you very much! They look much nicer in real life! I intend on investing in a camera soon to help me make better looking instructables. We all start off somewhere :)