Nail Art Tutorial: British Union Jack Nails

British Union Jack Nails Nail Art Tutorial & PicturesBritish Union Jack Nails are everywhere, I watched this cycle of America’s Next Top Model (“British Invasion”), and it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. What better time than this to challenge myself with a new freehand nail-art design? 🙂

Indeed, it has been far too long since my last nail-art tutorial. I’m feeling rusty, but I’ll try my best to stop making excuses and to bring you another fun tutorial.

Now, just want to put it out there – these British flag nails aren’t completely accurate. If you want to stay true to the flag, make your horizontal and vertical red lines thicker than the diagonal ones. Also, don’t connect the red diagonal lines to the center like I did.

Despite the inaccuracy, I was very happy with it because it’s very bold and eye-catching. 😉 In fact, the first day I wore this design to work, everyone I spoke with noticed. Plus I didn’t have to explain that it was the British flag – they got it right away. (And it reminds me a bit of Captain America…haha!)

Even if you’re not a Brit (Hey, I’m not! Canadian here!), I urge you to give this a go. It’s fast to paint, you don’t need many colours, and the main design just consists of straight lines.

Come…let me show you how to do it. With written instructions and step-by-step photos, you’ll be recreating Union Jack nail art in no time! 🙂

British Union Jack Nail Art Swatches

All swatches have:

Natural Light Photos

British Union Jack Nails Nail Art Tutorial & Pictures

Union Jack British Nails Nail Art Tutorial & Swatches

British Union Jack Nails Nail-Art Step by Step Tutorial & Pics

British Union Jack Nails Nail-Art Tutorial & Photos

Union Jack Nails Nail Art Step-by-Step Tutorial & SwatchesUnion Jack Nails Nail-Art Swatches & Tutorial

Flash Photos



British Union Jack Nails Nail Art Tutorial & Pics



*~* British Union Jack Nail Art Tutorial *~*


What I Used:

  1. Nubar Foundation Base Coat
  2. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
  3. Essie Mesmerize
  4. L.A. Colors Art Deco Nail Art Lacquer (Red)
  5. L.A. Colors Art Deco Nail Art Lacquer (White)

Step 1: Apply a Base Coat

Step 2: Paint Your Nails Blue

Although I almost reached for Orly Royal Navy, I ended up choosing Essie Mesmerize because I wanted the finished look to be clean and classic instead of funky this time.

Another reason why Mesmerize won the battle? It applies so well and the formula is highly pigmented. Click on the above link to see my in-depth review on it as well as plenty of swatches.

Wait about 10 minutes for this to dry slightly before continuing to the next step. (No, your nails don’t have to be completely dry at this point. I just suggest waiting so bleeding colours are less likely.)

British Union Jack Nail Art Tutorial Step 2

2 coats of Essie Mesmerize (Flash)

Step 3: Draw a White Vertical Line

Since I had the L.A. Colors Art Deco Nail Art Lacquer handy, I used that because it comes with a long, thin striper brush.

If you don’t have it, you could use a traditional striper brush dipped in polish or even use a nail-art pen.

The easiest is to use something that’s long and thin because you just have to hold the brush parallel to your nail and then drag it for a good line. Even if you have shaky hands (I have shaky hands, by the way), you can get straight-ish lines with the right tool.

The hardest is to use a brush that’s really short. You need to have very steady hands (Think surgeon!) and even more patience.

No matter how your lines turn out, just remember that perfection isn’t the goal. Happiness is your goal! 😀

British Union Jack Nail Art Tutorial Step 3

Step 4: Add a White Horizontal Line

If possible, try to make your horizontal lines in the middle of your nails. On the first nail I did (my thumb), I ended up painting the line too high, so I decided to make the rest uniform. That’s why they now look like crosses.

Even if your design comes out different than you expected, just go with the flow. That’s what I do.

(I never practice designs prior to what you see in my tutorials. What you see in my tutorials are my first go at a design. Haha, I’m never sure if they’ll turn out, I don’t do ‘do-overs’, and I commit to whatever happens and try to own it.)

British Union Jack Nail Art Tutorial Step 4

Step 5: Paint a White “X”

Draw diagonal lines as shown below. You’ll have what looks kind of like an asterisk.

You may want to wait a couple of minutes before proceeding to the next step to avoid any bleeding colour. I didn’t wait between Step 5 and Step 6. However, that’s because I spent some time taking photographs of my nails, and that allows my nails to dry a bit more.

British Union Jack Nail Art Tutorial Step 5

Step 6: Go Over the White Lines with a Thinner Red Line

If you want to make this nail-art design true to the British flag, make your vertical and horizontal red lines thicker than the “X”. Also, don’t connect the “X” lines to the center.

Now, after you’ve finished this step, it’s crucial that you wait quite a long time to allow this to dry a bit before proceeding to the next step. You don’t want to risk ruining all your hard work right at the end, right?

I recommend that you wait 15-30 minutes minimum.

(The funny thing is that I was painting my nails while watching TV at night, and I was more tired than I thought. While waiting for this to dry a bit, I actually fell asleep on the couch for an hour! Haha! When I woke up, my first thought was literally, “Oh my gosh! Is my polish dented or smudged?” Then I slapped on a top coat and went to bed. With Seche Vite, you can actually do that without worrying about getting bed-sheet marks.) 😉

British Union Jack Nail Art Tutorial Step 6

Step 7: Add a Top Coat

When you apply your top coat, try to use minimal strokes and use light pressure. Try to put a bead of top coat on your brush and glide the bead on your nails rather than running the actual brush on your nails. This will further prevent any smearing of your design.

Will you be rocking Union Jack nail art? Have you ever been to Britain? Do you think British accents are sexy?


22 thoughts on “Nail Art Tutorial: British Union Jack Nails

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Stephanie!

      Glad you liked it! 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement. Makes me keep wanting to challenge myself more with new designs.

  1. Melissa

    Awsome, love the nail art, would like it if I could free hand nail art like you do. Keep ’em comin’, love your site. :~)

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Melissa!

      You CAN do freehand nail art! 🙂 Give it a shot. Before I tried, I didn’t think I could do it. You’ll surprise yourself! 😉

  2. Sophie

    This looks great! I love how fashionable the Union Jack has become. Being a Brit, I celebrated the Jubilee with a couple of different nail art designs. I did have Union Jack nails, but I cheated and used water decals! XD Yout tutorial was really helpful, I’ll definitely give it a go.
    Sophie recently posted: Jubilee Nail Art Series #3: Water Marble

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Sophie!

      Ah! A true Brit! I hope that you weren’t offended that my Union Jack wasn’t accurate. :S

      Water decals are something that I want to try. They remind me of when I was a kid. Lots of activity books had water decals. How fun to use decals for nail art!

      Can’t wait to see your Union Jack manicure! 🙂 Please share it with me.

  3. Maria Saldana

    Why didn’t I think of that I love England! I did it just now thnx and I love British guys!!!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Amanda!

      Awww…thank you! 🙂 I fear that all the compliments are going to my head. I’m hoping to try to spread them out to go to my arms and legs, too. Heheheh! 😉

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Maribeth!

      Awww…thanks! 😀 Your Daisy Nails are so sweet-looking. The colours you choice are pretty together!

  4. natasha

    How fun! I love it! I have the seche top coat I absolutely love the base coat of it as well! I use to use OPI and after a while it would be so thick it was hard to apply on.
    please ck out my blog as well:
    Get Glam

  5. Marta

    Sweet Mary! I don’t think you give yourself enough credit for your freehand nailart! This is sooo fun!
    Thankfully I’m green (but you like green right?) when it comes to knowledge of flags, geography etc… so I can’t judge your design on “accuracy of width of stripes” but this is AWESOME!!!!!
    And that Essie shade… wow… these blues keep calling to me (a year and a half ago I wouldn’t have touched blue with a ten foot pole … now look at me 😉 )
    Marta recently posted: Cult Nails – Evil Queen

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Marta!

      Aww….shucks! *Looks down all embarrassed-like and kicks a pebble*

      THANK YOU! (I must be a werido – went from being shy to screaming…haha!)

      All the blue polishes are so happy that you pay attention to them. 🙂 They’re all fighting for who gets to be featured on Marta’s nails next. And, I’m sure that I speak for other nail addicts like myself when I say that it’s a complete pleasure seeing your creative manicures and photography on your blog.

  6. Katie

    Awesome tutorial! Love the look of this design! Essie Mesmerize is a great base for this design. I did a themed manicure for the jubilee which involved union jacks on two of the nails. I’ve never been to Britain but I hope to travel there soon.
    Katie recently posted: The Avengers Superhero Nail Art

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Katie!

      YAY – so glad you enjoyed it! It was a really fun manicure to wear, and after wearing it for days, I didn’t want to take it off. The best part? How easy it was to paint! Gotta love a manicure that’s easy to do and provides you with so much joy.


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