DIY Halloween Nails


Ghoulish nails are all part of the fun when it comes to dressing up. Here, Julie Kandalec, the creative director at nail art mecca Paintbox in New York City, provides step-by-step on how to get her Halloween designs at home.


The Look: Raw Talons

“This bold nail looks best on a short, soft square nail,” says Kandalec.

How To:

—Start with an opaque nude base that matches your skin tone, suggests Kandalec. Try Essie Topless and Barefoot for fair to medium or Zoya Flynn for dark skin.

—Then use a striper polish to draw a triangle on the nail with the narrowest point at the cuticle, she says. Try Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Striper in Black. Or for a more tonal look use a deep chocolate brown instead, she suggests. Try Essie Little Brown Dress.

—Next, fill in the triangle completely with black polish, allow all layers to dry thoroughly and add a topcoat to seal it, says Kandalec.


The Look: Ties That Bind 

“This bondage-inspired look flatters on both long, almond-shaped nails and short square nails.,” explains Kandalec. “And you can adjust the placement of the stripes wider to accommodate a longer nail.”

How To:

— Start with a clean nail—this is a negative space look so you will see your nail bed—then apply a clear base coat, she says.

—Use a black nail art striper draw one line straight down the middle of each nail then go back and draw two lines horizontally across each nail, says Kandalec. Try Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Striper in Black.

—Next, apply a metallic silver dot at each intersection to accent the nail and change up the placement of each slightly to add interest (i.e.: two vertical and one horizontal, etc.). Try Essie No Place Like Chrome.

—Finish with a high shine topcoat.


The Look: Zombie Invasion

“You can wear the zipper like detail as an accent on all nail shapes and lengths or do it on all ten,” notes Kandalec.

How To:

—Start with a base coat in a deep shade as the base. Try Essie Midnight Cami or RGB Cosmetics Oxblood.

—Use a toothpick or flat-sided orangewood stick dipped in silver paint on the nail rectangular shapes resembling a zipper. Try Zoya Trixie.

For a more luxe feel, use gold for the zipper instead. Try Zoya Ziv.

—Allow nails to completely dry and then add a topcoat.


The Look: Bone to Pick

“The skull accent is great as an accent on medium to long nails and the all black makes a bold statement,” says Kandalec.

How To:

—Polish the nail all black (two coats) and allow to dry very well. Try Jennifer Fisher Jewelry x RGB Cosmetics Fighter.

—Next, use a quick dry topcoat like Seche Vite to allow the polish to dry faster or hold hands in the freezer for 30 seconds.

—Take tweezers and pic up the skull sticker or decal from the sheet and apply onto the nail. Try options at

—Use the other end of the tweezers to press down well on the sticker so it adheres evenly, and apply a thin layer of a topcoat again, she says.

Photos Courtesy of Paintbox