Nail Art Tutorial: Fishtail Braid Nails

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial & SwatchesFishtail Braid NailsΒ are not only really easy to do, but you don’t need any special nail-art tools, either!

The only thing you’ll need is some patience because you have to layer the polishes. But, if you have patience, you’ll be well-rewarded. πŸ™‚

I was already wearing China Glaze Man Hunt as a manicure, so I decided to choose colours that complemented it. (The theme I was going for was Egyptian.)

Come see my step-by-step fishtail braid nail-art tutorial complete with photos so that you can see just how simple it is to do.

This was my first time doing this design, and now I want to try so many other colour combinations with the same technique – it’s addictive!

I think fishtail braid nails are one of the hottest trends right now. Will you be participating?

Fishtail Braid Nail Art Swatches

All swatches have:

Sunlight Photos
Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial & Swatches
Braided Fishtail Nails Nail Art Tutorial Pictures & Instructions
Fishtail Braid Nail Art Tutorial Swatches & Pictures
Fishtail Braided Nails Nail-Art Tutorial & Pictures
Easy Nail Art Tutorial Braided Fishtail Nails
Natural Light Photos







Flash Photos

*~* Fishtail Braid Nail Art Tutorial *~*

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial

What I Used:

  1. Nubar Foundation Base Coat
  2. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
  3. China Glaze Man Hunt
  4. China Glaze Liquid Leather
  5. China Glaze Harvest Moon

Step 1: Apply Your Base Coat

Step 2: Paint Your Nails the Base Colour

I was actually already wearing a manicure with China Glaze Man Hunt (from the China Glaze On Safari Collection), so I didn’t have to paint my nails again. If you’re painting your nails fresh, make sure you wait about 10 minutes before continuing to the next step. (Alternatively, you can apply a fast-drying top coat to speed up the process.)

If you’ve been wearing a polish for a few days and want to spruce it up, doing fishtail braid nails is a great way to breathe new life into it! πŸ™‚

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 2

2 coats of China Glaze Man Hunt

Step 3: Paint a Diagonal Line with Your 2nd Colour

These lines don’t have to be perfect. As you can see, mine aren’t perfectly aligned. It’s okay! πŸ™‚ When you add the other colours, it all works as a collective.

Depending on how thick a coat you’ve used, you may want to wait a few minutes for this to dry slightly before continuing. In my case, I was able to paint all 10 nails and then continue right to the next step without waiting.

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 3

Step 4: Paint a Mirror-Image Diagonal Line with Your 3rd Colour

X marks the spot!

You’ll notice that the lines are really thick. As you overlap with other diagonal lines, you’ll be able to better adjust the thickness.

Again, you may choose to wait a bit for this to dry. But, for me, by the time I finished painting the last nail on my second hand, I went straight away to painting the next overlapping diagonal line.

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 4

Step 5: Continue Overlapping with the Diagonal Lines, Alternating Colours

You’ll be able to see the braided design form as you continue. Don’t worry about it looking sloppy. It’ll come together in the end. Trust me! πŸ™‚

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 5

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 6

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 7

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 8

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 9

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 10

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 11

Fishtail Braid Nails Nail Art Tutorial Step 12

I stopped overlapping at this point, but I could’ve actually continued with another diagonal line of black. However, I really wanted blue and the copper to be on my tips instead of black. πŸ™‚

Now, this time you really need to wait before proceeding to the next step. If you don’t, you risk ruining all your hard work! (I was watching TV, so I waited a full 30 minutes before continuing. You may be able to get away with just 15-20 minutes, though…It’s your call!)

Step 6: Apply Your Top Coat

Hope that you enjoyed my easy nail-art tutorial showing you how to create the fishtail braid design. πŸ™‚

If you give it a go, please don’t be shy – feel free to share it with me and my readers on my Facebook wall!

Edit:Β I ended up doing a 2nd version. Click here to see my Summery Fishtail Braid Nails!

What colour combination would you do for this design? Can you actually braid hair in a fishtail? Are you superstitious? (Today’s Friday the 13th!)


30 thoughts on “Nail Art Tutorial: Fishtail Braid Nails

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Brianna!

      I can’t wait for you to try it, either! The combination you mentioned sounds like so much fun. πŸ™‚ I’m definitely going to do more colour combinations. Since this was with darker shades, I’ll try one with lighter, more summer colours.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Gosia!

      Rocks are cool, too. πŸ˜‰ No worries!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial. And I’m happy that you’re going to try it out with other colours. (I have a zillion different combinations I must try out!)

  1. Angie

    Wow, that’s really nice! I don’t think I have this kind of patience, or a steady enough hand, but maybe one day I’ll give this a try!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Angie!

      I just painted my nails while watching TV. Aww…you don’t need to be too steady. When you overlap all the colours, it looks ‘right’ in the end. Seriously…if you don’t believe me, just try it out on a single nail. You’ll see what I mean!

  2. lawren

    WOW, I absolutely LOVE this color combination and pattern! Good job πŸ˜€ Too bad my nails are too short and square like to do this though πŸ™ I guess I’ll have to try it with a think brush or something~

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey lawren!

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but sometimes you just have to try to find out.

      You can still do it on your nails. Actually, I think it would look really good on square nails. But, yes, maybe use polishes that have thinner brushes – maybe Essie or China Glaze?

  3. beachgal

    This is lovely. It looks easy the way you have shown to do it. I am not good when it comes to nail art unless it’s a little stamp or stick on decal. But I think I would be able to do this. I have all 3 of these shades too! I never would have put them together but ends up they look great.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey beachgal!

      I have the utmost confidence that you can recreate this design. πŸ™‚ The finished look is more complicated than the actual steps. Go for it! πŸ™‚ And show me afterwards. πŸ˜€

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Kellie!

      Yeah, the copper really adds the bling and brings the manicure to life. Without it, I think the result would be very blah!

      China Glaze Harvest Moon is a great shade that I recommend. Plus you’ll be able to wear it well into the fall, too, if you’re big on doing seasonal nail looks.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Kelly!

      You’ll love the design. And it’s kind of like stamping in that the first time you try it, you want to do it again, but with different colours! πŸ™‚

      You’re very welcome. I was hoping that my tutorial would be useful to someone, so I’m glad that you found it helpful!

      When you try it out, please share a photo of your manicure with me. I’m always inspired by other people’s colour choices.

  4. MC

    You are such an artist! Thanks for the detailed tutorial! I tried this with China Glaze Frostbite, Liquid Leather and Lorelei’s Tiara. My left hand is so unsteady so my right hand nails look really messy, and I don’t know if I’ll have the patience to do this again, but I must admit the effect is quite stunning! Thanks again!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey MC!

      Hahaha…oh, you flatter me! (I’ll take it! :D) Thank you!

      Cool colour combination you chose. They’re all gorgeous, and I like how you got some bling in there with Lorelai’s Tiara.

      Did you take any photos of your manicure? I’d love to see!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Marta!

      Thanks! πŸ™‚

      You should try it. It looks more complicated than the actual painting process. I suggest getting comfy while watching your favourite TV show (I guess for you when the kids are asleep!) and then work your magic.

  5. Brenda

    I love this look! I think I may try it with neons πŸ™‚ I love bright colors for summer. I have a lot of patience with nail art because I think the more time you put into it, the bigger payoff you get. Please check out my blog and look at my frog mani. My favorite one yet and it was a couple hours to do. Love your page and your nails are beautiful!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Brenda!

      It’s good that you have a lot of patience when it comes to nail art…hehe, because this design definitely requires patience. πŸ˜‰ But you’re right – it’s worth it in the end.

      Hope you have a really fun time painting this – it’s going to look pretty awesome with neons. (I just suggest painting your nails a base white first so that the neons will pop more and so you won’t have to use as many coats for the neon stripes.)

      I’ll be sure to check out your blog! πŸ™‚

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Citygirl907!

      Please let me know how it turns out and what colours you used. It’s so neat how the same design can look completely different depending on the shades you use.

  6. Carmela

    Love, love, love this color combo! (I might be a bit biased but Man Hunt and Harvest Moon look stellar together!) I’ve bookmarked this for future use. πŸ˜‰ Did you do the same design on your dominant hand? That’s my only real concern. I know I’ll botch it up with my non-dominant hand. πŸ˜›
    Carmela recently posted: Nail Art Wednesday: Shooting Star Nails

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Carmela!

      Aww…that’s so sweet. Thanks for bookmarking it. I do hope you’ll try it.

      Yes, I do a full manicure with the same design on both hands. All you have to do is rest your palm on a steady, flat surface. That’s my ‘trick’. My hands are actually extremely shaky, and when I do this ‘trick’, it’s how I’m able to do lines that don’t look like I drank 6 cups of coffee. πŸ˜‰

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Myprettypaints!

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ At the time, I was craving dark shades, but then later I ended up doing the fishtail with summery shades in a second manicure. πŸ™‚

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey another Cristina!

      Oh wow – I’m so sorry that I’m replying terribly (embarrassingly) late to your comment! I didn’t see it until now, and it was by accident. Thank goodness I saw it now, though, or it would’ve forever been left like that!

      You’re very welcome for this tutorial. I’m really glad that you found it useful. πŸ™‚

      I like the way yours turned out. Cool colour choices!


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