Like it or not (but who wouldn’t?), nail art is a trend that is here to stay. If you have a young child who is drawn to beauty and fashion, he or she may be wanting in on the fun. Giving your little one a manicure is a great way to enjoy a little quiet bonding time while flexing your artistic muscle.
There are some challenges, however, in painting kids’ nails. The canvas is tiny and no matter how badly they may want their nails done, small children often have a hard time staying still. I recommend starting with just one embellished nail on each hand to serve as an accent. It’s a trendy look that’s perfect for nail art newbies or anyone — young or old — wanting to enjoy a fun design without investing a lot of time.
If you are new to nail art, you may want to start with a beginner set that offers a variety of tools and add-ons like the Alex Toys Ultimate Nail Glam Salon or Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit. I borrowed three of my friend’s daughters to learn which products and techniques work best for kids’ tiny nails and impatient nature. Read on and you’ll be creating miniature nail art like a pro!
1. Go Non-Toxic
First and foremost, it’s best to err on the safe side when working with little ones. There are some great non-toxic options on the market, so why not? I love Piggy Paint polishes. Not only is it free of toxins, but it’s also eco-friendly, basically odorless, and hypoallergenic. It appeals to kids thanks to the variety of fun, bright colors and the super cute packaging. I also found that it dries fairly quickly, which is very helpful for restless children.
Piggy Paint Nail Polish is available at Piggy Paint, $7.99.
2. Use a Nail Art Brush to Apply Polish
The brush that is housed in the cap of most nail polishes is sized for adults and older children. Attempting to use it on tiny nails is difficult, frustrating, and messy. Use a flat nail art brush instead for a faster and easier manicure. You can dip the brush directly into the bottle or drop some polish onto a bit of waxed paper or aluminum foil and load your brush from that.
I’m using a nail brush from the Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit available at Walgreens, at various prices.
3. Decorate with Nail Stickers
Nail stickers are fabulous for kids! Paint on a base color and once it is completely dry, you can just peel and stick on the adorable little motifs. Children can add the stickers themselves and it’s a lot of fun for them. Want to make their day? Let them decorate your nails as well!
Piggy Paint 3-D Nail Art Stickers are available at Piggy Paint, $2.99.
4. Design with Striping Tape
Like nail stickers, striping tape can be applied over cured polish for an instant stripe of color! You can be creative with the tape and use it to create a variety of designs from simple stripes to geometric patterns and shapes. It’s easiest to cut the tape a little longer than you need it, place it on the nail, and then use a small pair of grooming scissors to trim off the excess. You can also apply the tape before polishing and then peel it off to fashion a cool negative-space design.
Y2B 30-Piece Nail Art Striping Tape Rolls are available on Amazon, $2.29.
5. Draw with Nail Art Pens
If you are feeling artistic, try using nail art pens to sketch your own designs. The pen-like applicator makes drawing on even the tiniest nails a breeze and there is no limit to what you can create. Find inspiration in nature, holidays, or the patterns on their favorite clothes.
Alex Sketch It Nail Pens are available at Alex Toys, $14.99.
6. Just Add Bling
Adding a jewel or other nail charm is another quick way to make nails look special. After polish has set, add a small drop of adhesive to nail(s) you want to embellish and then use a tweezer to set the gem on top of the glue.
7. Add Sparkle with Glitter
Nail glitter is super fun for kids and it’s easy to apply. Apply polish and while nails are still wet, dip the tip of the nail into a pile of glitter. For more precise application, use a flat nail art brush to pick up the glitter and dab it onto the still-tacky polish. Be sure to finish with a top coat to seal the glitter in place.
Colored glitter, nail brushes, and the top coat are all found in the Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit available at Walgreens, at various prices.
8. Try Nail Wraps
Surely the easiest way to add fun designs to your kid’s nails is by using nail wraps. These adhesive wraps come in a variety of colors, patterns, and finishes. Best of all, there is no drying time so kids can get to playing immediately after they’ve been applied.
Jamberry Juniors Nail Wraps are available at Jamberry, $15.
9. Have Fun with Dotting Tools
A dotting tool is a small metal tool with a tiny round end. Drop a little polish onto a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil, dip the tool into the polish, and dot the polish onto nails. These tools are terrific for creating polka dots, as well as other designs like flowers.
This dotting tool is found in the Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit available at Walgreens, at various prices.
10. Transfer Designs with Nail Stamping
I’m not sure whether it’s watching the process and seeing the design transfer to their nails, or if it’s just that they’re familiar with this method, but kids really love nail stamping. It is a lot of fun to do, albeit a little tricky to get the hang of at first. Nail stamping templates house designs etched into metal. Swipe polish of the pattern of choice, scrape off the excess, and press a stamper over the template and then onto the nail to transfer the design. Visit this post for step-by-step instructions.
11. Let Them Have a Turn
While my testers loved their new nails, they really wanted to get their hands on everything. Let them play and create their own designs … even if they make a mess. I left one of my friend’s girls with a set of faux nails (from the tool kit shown above) and some products to play with and her mother reported that she was having a blast painting and decorating the nails over and over again.
Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Pro Tool Kit is available at drugstores nationwide and at Kiss, $9.99.More On