How To: The Tribal Print Manicure

tribal mani

Ethnic and tribal prints are hotter than Hansel in Zoolander right now, and some of the very best-dressed nails that I've seen lately have sported graphic tribal designs, painstakingly painted on by hand.

On fingertips, tribal looks edgy and cool but, as the designs are usually very intricate, it always struck me as being almost impossible to replicate at home.

Unless you happen to be ambidextrous as well as handy with a nail art pen, of course.


A couple of weeks ago, however, I managed to accidentally give myself a basic tribal-ish mani - on both hands! - when fooling around with my new Chanel Mimosa and trying to cover up some tip wear on a plain neon pink paint job (OPI Shorts Story.) It required a minimum of effort and specialist supplies, so here's how to DIY in case you're interested in trying tribal yourself.

  1. Paint nails as normal, then use a contrasting colour for the triangle
  2. Paint the outline first with two strokes of the brush; ensure that the brush is not overloaded with nail varnish to keep the lines crisp
  3. Next, fill in the centre
  4. If you've got a nail art pen, use it to draw an outline "v" roughly at the edges of the triangle of secondary colour
  5. Add dots around, or inside, or on the border of the triangle in a "v" shape using a dotting tool or ballpoint pen
  6. Finish with top coat

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