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How to Do Shattered Glass Nails

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Shattered-Glass Nails at Home

A scroll through Pinterest is unlikely to feel complete without browsing some of the pretty new nail art trends.

However, not everyone has the time, resources, or funds to see a manicurist every few weeks, but that doesn't have to be the case. While going to the salon is one of the best treats around, sometimes a rainy Sunday morning calls for DIY action. When it comes to re-creating the designs, sometimes it looks harder than it is. Once you have your hands on the materials, all you need is some practice before you're an at-home mani pro in no time.

For me, nail art is the one activity where I can't pick up my phone every 10 minutes or stare at a screen. It's the one hour in my week that is dedicated to my relaxation and creativity, so I've given my fair share of Pinterest nail trends a try. One of my all-time favourites? Shattered glass nails. Big in the Korea, shattered nail art uses tiny shard-like shapes of iridescent paper to create a light-reflecting manicure. If you want to give this design a go, keep reading to see our step-by-step guide.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

Step 1: Prep

Before you start, I like to prep all of my materials. I cut up all of my pieces of paper into shard shapes and spread out my items on a dark surface so I can see them all clearly. When it comes to the shards, create various sizes and shapes — it looks better if the pieces aren't the same size, so no need to be a perfectionist.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

Step 2: Paint Your Base

To make your shattered glass design stand out but catch the light, I like to paint on a pale pink base. I chose Sinful Colors First in Line Base Coat (£5) to apply first, and then added a thin layer of Nails Inc Lilly Road (£7.50, originally £14) on top. If you are using a gel polish, cure as needed.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

Step 3: Get Gluing

Using nail glue — the brush-on kind is best to avoid getting glue outside of the nail bed — apply a small amount to the areas you want the shattered glass paper to stick, and then begin placing the shards on top of your nail.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

Step 4: Creating the Shattered-Glass Effect

I like to do pointed edges on opposing sides to give it the shattered look. Keep adding the pieces until you are happy with the design — the key is to have no two nails looking the same. Pro tip: do one nail at a time to ensure the glue doesn't dry before all your pieces are stuck down.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

Step 5: Top It Off

Once you've stuck all the paper on your nails, apply a thin layer of top-coat polish (my favourite is Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat, £9). Sometimes I apply two coats to ensure the paper is stuck down to avoid chips. If using gels, cure as needed.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

Final Look

Finally, admire your DIY handiwork. These are ones I made earlier using false nails to give some extra length.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

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