My hands are usually cold during this time of year, so I thought it would be a great idea to do Penguin Nails! (Also, one of my followers on beautylish requested that I do penguins sometime. I was happy to oblige!)
This look is extremely easy to do, but the finished design appears more complicated.
Like I always say, it’s about patience more than it is about skill. Don’t be intimidated by nail art!
(Check out my tutorial where I walk you through it with step-by-step written instructions and photographs.)
I really hope that you’ll try this design. 🙂 And if you do, let me know how it goes!
Penguin Nail Art Swatches
All swatches have:
- Nubar Foundation Base Coat
- 3 coats of China Glaze Blue Island Iced Tea
- Snow: China Glaze Snow
- OPI Black Onyx (black)
- China Glaze Snow (white)
- Orly Spark (yellow)
- Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
*~* Penguin Nail Art Tutorial *~*
What I Used:
- Nubar Foundation Base Coat
- Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
- China Glaze Blue Island Iced Tea
- China Glaze Snow
- Orly Spark
- OPI Black Onyx
- Piece of foil
- Daniel Stone Art Tool #2
Step 1: Use a Base Coat
Step 2: Paint the Base Colour
I chose China Glaze Blue Island Iced Tea because it had a frosty, wintry feel to it. Plus it was light enough so that the black from the penguin would still stand out.
Although I used 3 coats, you could actually get away with just 2 coats.
Tip: You actually don’t need to paint your entire nail with this colour…only part of the blue shows, so consider saving your polish and painting just the top third of your nails.
Allow this to dry a bit for about 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
Step 3: Start the Penguin
Cover the remaining two third of your nails a black. Don’t worry if they’re not all even. When the design’s finished, any imperfections won’t be as noticeable. Plus penguins come in all shapes and sizes anyway. 🙂
Step 4: Make It Snow
Add a few drops of white polish onto your piece of foil, which you’ll use as a palette. (You can also use a plastic bag or anything that won’t absorb the polish or let it leak. Try not to use paper, as this wastes a lot of polish.)
Dip your dotting tool, the end of a make-up brush, a toothpick, or any other tool you have into the white polish. Add random dots over the blue sections.
Step 5: Add the Penguin’s Belly
Using a white polish, paint a semi-circle onto the bottom. You may need to go over this again to get it more opaque.
Step 6: Start the Eyes
Using your dotting tool (or other tool), dip it into some white polish on your piece of foil and add two dots per nail.
Step 7: Add a Beak
To help the beak stand out, I suggest using a yellow like I did or an orange. You could use a grey, but I just think a yellow is cuter.
This is how I got the shape of the beak. I dipped a very small dotting tool into the polish on a piece of foil. I started to make a dot where the base of the nose should start. Then, without lifting my tool, I dragged it over to the right side. The line naturally tapers.
(If you feel more comfortable using a nail-art brush for this, use it. I just found it easiest to use a dotting tool because it makes it look clean even if you have shaky hands.)
Step 8: Give Your Penguin Sight
Dip your dotting tool into some black polish on your piece of foil and carefully add a black dot on the white ones you created previously. Consider putting the pupils in different spots so that they’re looking around or looking at each other!
Step 9: Add a Top Coat
Is it cold where you are now? Do you think that penguins are cute or strange animals? Did you watch Happy Feet or March of the Penguins?
Edit: WOW! Guess what? China Glaze retweeted my penguin nail art to their followers! That made my day! 🙂 I love companies that are so supportive.
They are really cute, and that’s a great and very useful tutorial, thanks! Thumbs up. 🙂
Rainbowify Me recently posted: Isadora ~ Beetle Green
Hey Rainbowify Me!
Glad you liked it a lot. Please do give it a go. I can see you rocking the penguins!
So cute! I love their eyes 🙂
Thanks – they were like my body guards watching out for me everywhere I went. 😉
Super cute! Thanks for the tutorial!!
Nory recently posted: Barry M: Red Black
You’re welcome – I love to do nail art, but also show how it’s done. I’d love for people to try it out and see that it’s not as complicated as they might think. 🙂
LOVE!! I’m going to try this
YAYYYY! Please let me know how yours turn out and what polishes you chose. I love seeing (or hearing) about people’s variations. 🙂
I need to try this! Although, I might be a bit too matchy-matchy with our holiday decor.. See, we have an inflatable penguin (with a scarf and santa hat) on the lawn and another penguin (glittery and wearing a santa hat) in the house! Once retailers put all the decor on sale, we plan on getting more friends for our lonely inflatable penguin outdoors. 😀 Bonus points that I absolutely loved Happy Feet (the movie) when it first came out! I still haven’t seen the 2nd as sequels aren’t always better than the original and I fear it might ruin the first for me.
Anyway, great tutorial! I’m being boring with my nails lately so trying this will definitely make things more interesting! 😀
Carmela recently posted: China Glaze Ruby Pumps takes you away from holiday induced stress
Yes, on your pretty nails, this design is a MUST!
Your Christmas decor sounds cute and original. Maybe on your penguin nails, you could add little scarves and hats, too. Hehe, who cares if it’s matchy-matchy? Hehe, it’s the holidays! Have fun! 😀
P.S. Your nails aren’t boring!
These are the cutest penguins I have seen yet!! 🙂
Hey Jeni King!
Awwwww……thank you! Having a penguin army at my fingertips makes my day brighter.
This is so awesome!!! You’re right, it’s not as complicate as it seems.
Marisa recently posted: NYC – Fashion Avenue Fuschia
Thanks! 🙂 Nail art always just takes patience more than skill. 🙂 I’m always trying to deconstruct ‘complicated’ designs and show people how easy they are to do. Hopefully more people whip out their polishes and try it out.
This design is sooo cute. I actually just did this manicure before typing up this comment. I had to wait for each layer to dry so it took a bit longer than usual. It was a fairly easy design but as always, it was hard to paint my right hand because I’m right hand. Now my nails are adorable and I can’t stop staring at them. Some of my friends were over while I painted my nails and I showed them your blog. They love your blog and said they were going to check it out when they got home. They were also upset because they missed the giveaway.
You’ve flattered me so much by actually trying out the design for yourself. 😀 Glad that you love it. And, with practice, you’ll become even better at painting with your non-dominant hand. 🙂
Wow, thanks for sharing my blog with your friends! Please let them know that I’m planning another giveaway for the New Year so they don’t miss out. 🙂
Mary!! This is soo cute 🙂 I love penguins you make it look so easy! I am trying so hard to grow my nails if I ever succeed I will be trying some of your nail art 🙂
Amber recently posted: Holiday 2011 Look Series featuring Wet n Wild
I can’t wait for you to try some out, too. It’s fun seeing designs on other people’s nails. And then you can coordinate your nail art with the eye looks that you’re so good at! 🙂
Oh my gosh Mary these are so cute! I love them!
Thank youuuuu! *Dances like Happy Feet* 😉
i really love the tutorial….it is the cutest thing i hav ever seen….really love it!!!!!!
makeup chic recently posted: REVIEW on MAYBELLINE HYPER CURL MASCARA
Hey makeup chic!
Glad you liked it so much. Wearing it is tons of fun, and you’ll get TONS of compliments from strangers.
hey i really love the tutorial, i have made a special link on my blog to this post…..
makeup chic recently posted: Nail Art Tutorial: Penguin Nails ON MARY’S BLOG
Hey again, makeup chic!
That’s awesome – I just checked it out. Thank you so much for spreading the word! 😀 Hope that more people try this look out.
Aww, so adorable! I will definitely be trying these penguins out soon after seeing how you did it. I’ll let you know how it goes!
another Cristina recently posted: Santa manicure
Hey another Cristina!
I’m sure you’ll do a great job. Just took a look at the fun Christmas nail art you did on your blog! 🙂 Nice work!
So cute I wish I had yellow nail polish
Do you have an orange? You could use that instead. Or you could go with a very different colour – I can see how a grey would work.
Thanks! 🙂 I’m no longer wearing this manicure, and…sniff sniff…I miss them. Who else will look out for me and my freezing hands?
I HAD to come back and comment on these! THEY ARE SOOOOO DARN CUTE!
My hands are always icey at this time of year also… so technically they could live on my nails also… I’ll send them an invitation ;D
The blue background is the perfect sparkle to these little guys’ sky! One of my favourite nail-art tutorials you have done thus far! 😀
Marta recently posted: Day 8 – Glitter Nails
Glad you like them. And maybe the penguins are already making their way over to you. They’re no longer on my nails…sniff sniff…and I miss their little eyes looking up at me. *Walks into a pole* Okay, okay…eyes straight ahead! Got it.
Love the mani. Perfect for Winters! The penguins are cute 🙂
preciouspearl recently posted: 200 Followers Giveaway!!
Thank you – it was fun wearing these little guys (and gals).
These are SO cute. I really, really want to make them, but I don’t have yellow nor white nailpolish, and also I don’t think my nails are long enough 🙁
I’d probably go with just making the penguins.
And I just realized that my black is still missing.
But I absolutely love this!
Well, maybe you could do a crazy Technicolour penguin look instead of the traditional penguin colours! That would be trippy.
Hahaha. I actually really like that idea! I might do it! 😀
Okay, if you do it, I MUST see photos! I can picture how fun it would look.
This is cute! thanks for the detailed tutorial.
Anusha recently posted: Winter look to try-two scarves
No problem. I’m always happy to share the step-by-step information. Hope you’ll try it out!
This is so amazing! I am impressed!!!
Spellbinder recently posted: Christmas Nails (Tutorial)
Glad you liked it! 🙂 I’m going to be trying out some more wintry animal nail art soon.
Hey, I love your tutorials, they’re so easy to follow and they look great. If only I were half as talented.
I had a go at this one myself and the design turned out perfect, however I had an issue with the nail polish. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s cheap polish or another reason, but it seems to smudge easily and I don’t even have to put much pressure on it and the polish will slide. This is even with a top coat on. The polish doesn’t seem to have dried solid if that makes sense, it’s squishy =/ I think this may be a polish issue, but if you could enlighten me or give me any tips on how to prevent it that’d be great.
Keep up the great work 🙂
I’m glad that you’re enjoying my tutorials – I do them because I really want to encourage more people to try out designs that may otherwise intimidate them. A lot of times, designs aren’t nearly as overwhelming as we think they are. 🙂 And sometimes you just have to try one design and then realize that you ARE good at it.
Rosie, the fact that you even tried some nail art is a lot more than what a lot of other people attempt, so GOOD FOR YOU! 😀 That’s the step in the right direction. (And thank you for the compliment – really, though, it’s more about just patience than it is about skill. That’s what I think.)
Hmm…what top coat are you using? I’m using Seche Vite. It’s possible that other top coats may not work as well. It could also be that maybe you need to wait longer for the layers of polish to dry before adding your top coat. And does your design stay squishy for days or just on that first day?
(Thanks for your encouragement! I soaked it up like a sponge!) 😀
wooow i like it so much ฅ•ﻌ•ฅ
thanks dear for share
Sure thing! 🙂 I love trying and sharing new nail designs with my readers!
Oooooohhhhh….my goodness! Sooo much better than Happy Feet….Happy Nails! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t smile when they see penguins…and now I can’t wait to try this on me and see if I can STOP smiling with these guys on my fingers. I better hurry, spring is around the corner…maybe I will turn down the thermostat while wearing these. Thank you so much for being talented, patient and sharing!! Love, love your blog!
I like that – Happy Nails! 😀
Thank you for being such a nice reader. Comments like yours motivate me to continue blogging and working toward making Swatch And Learn better each day. 🙂
Hey! Just wanted to say that your penguin nails are adorable and that your tutorial was extremely helpful 🙂 I used your tutorial in creating my own version of a penguin and snow mani here: http://christinaalexia.blogspot.com/2012/07/penguin-and-snow-nail-art.html
Christina Alexia recently posted: Penguin and Snow Nail Art
Hey Christina Alexia!
YAY! I’m so glad that you enjoyed my penguin nail art that it inspired you to do your own version. 🙂 I took a look at your blog post, and the manicure you did was really cute! Thanks for sharing.
How did u make the black figure of the penguin and its stomach so curved? Mine came out straight 🙁
You know what? Even if yours came out straight, I bet it still looks good and that your penguin looks cute! 🙂 Please don’t think that you have to recreate it 100% the same. The great thing about freehand nail art is that no two manicures are exactly the same!
I just added a little more pressure on the brush when I painted it left to right.