British 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:
- Nubar Foundation Base Coat
- 2 coats of Essie Mesmerize
- White: L.A. Colors Art Deco Nail Art Lacquer (White)
- Red: L.A. Colors Art Deco Nail Art Lacquer (Red)
- Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Natural Light Photos
*~* British Union Jack Nail Art Tutorial *~*
What I Used:
Step 1: Apply a Base Coat
Step 2: Paint Your Nails Blue
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.)
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!
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.)
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.
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.)
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?