Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Newspaper Nails (with Tutorial; alternative method)

If you cannot or do not want to use vodka, please CLICK HERE to see what else you can use.

Today, I have for you my first AND second attempts at Newspaper Nails.

What are Newspaper Nails?
It's when you use alcohol to transfer newspaper print onto your nails.

Wanna see my first attempt? Well, you can't. I tried the ways I've read on the internet about soaking your nail in vodka for so many seconds and then placing a strip of newspaper on it. I ended up with ink on my fingers, none on my nails, and super frustrated. I gave up after trying 3 nails max.

Wanna see my second attempt?

I think this came out MUCH better!!
My middle finger on my left hand was the first finger I tried, so I apologize for the smudge. I'm really, super proud of this, especially considering this was my first second attempt at it. If I were to do it again, I'd be more cautious about not moving the paper once it's on the nail. But also know that it does NOT look that smudged in real life. These are macro pictures and pick up EVERYTHING. It's the reason why you think you've done perfect cleanup, but then your photos capture every little spot you missed and it makes it look like you didn't clean up at all.
And, I also want to point out that the grainy-ness of the photos courtesy of blogger, makes them look even MORE smudged. They're not THAT bad. Click the photos to enlarge them so they look less grainy.

But I did NOT do the soaking method for several reasons:
1. I'm not that patient.
2. My nails are very convex, and trying to hold a piece of straight paper on them doesn't work.
3. I don't like newspaper ink all over my fingers.
4. You waste so much alcohol it's definitely considered alcohol abuse.
Ok, so not so much number 4, but the other 3 reasons are enough for me to not use the soaking method.

Here's what I mean about my nails being convex and not flat:

So you can understand why holding a flat, straight piece of paper on my nail is not easy. So...

Here's How I Did It (redo of my smudged middle nail)

Nail prep:
Paint your nails a light color.
China Glaze Sea Spray Swatch
I used China Glaze Sea Spray. Make sure they're dry.

What I Used:

1 nip of Vodka (I used Moon Mountain which is 80 proof and has 40% alcohol. It was just the cheapest one by the register.)
1 cotton round
10 nail-sized strips newspaper
Top Coat

How I did it:

1. I put some vodka onto the cotton round just as you would put nail polish remover on a cotton round.

**I made the "circle" of vodka bigger after I took this photo. Make it large enough so it will completely cover your nail with vodka**

2. I wiped over the nail I was about to newspaper. I initially held it there for 10 seconds, but found there was no difference in outcome between 1 second and 10 seconds. This also leads me to believe you could probably skip this step all together, but it can't hurt.

3. Lay a piece of newspaper on the cotton round with the side you want on the nail facing up. The newspaper will stick to the cotton round.

You could also put the piece of newspaper onto your dry nail and then cover it with the cotton round if this is not working for you or if you find that it moves around too much.

4. Press the cotton round with the newspaper piece onto your nail.

5. Make sure the cotton round is wrapped around the nail. Not fully wrapped around your finger, just make sure the whole nail is covered by the newspaper. Don't move it!!

6. After about 10-15 seconds, remove the cotton round and newspaper piece in one motion.

Voila! Newspaper nails.

Sorry it came out a little smudged. I promise it's possible to do this without smudging!! I was just concentrating more of the photo taking aspect than holding the paper still. And I was doing this with one hand since my other hand was holding the camera. Please don't do this one handed like I did!! Hold the cotton round with your other hand.

You can use a top coat immediately on the nail because the vodka will evaporate so quickly your nail won't remain wet. Clean up any print that got on your skin with a Q-tip immediately after doing the one nail or at the end. I used the vodka on the cotton round to clean it up after all the nails were done and topcoated.

And the final product!!
Newspaper Nails

This whole process was the first time I did it, and it took me... Ready for this?... 8 minutes. Yup. That includes everything(does not include nail painting. I already had my base coat on) like cutting the newspaper strips, getting all of my supplies together, top coat on all nails, and cleanup. AND one redo nail. Speaking of which...

What if one nail is smudged, crooked, or looks awful?
Just simply wipe over it with the vodka soaked cotton round and the print will come right off!! No need to use remover or repaint your nail.

Also on a side note,
I doesn't really matter so much what the text says because it's going to be backwards on your nail, anyway. However, there are areas in your paper that will have smaller print. I did not choose smaller print, I just chose the first article I came across. I was going to use the print on the backside of the article (which was smaller), but then I realized it was the obituaries. I just couldn't bring myself to put the text from someones obituary on my nails. Maybe just a personal preference, but at least something to think about... lol

I hope this helped!!


  1. I think it looks great on top of the color you chose. I've never seen anything like this; it's making me hate that I just painted my nails last night because now I want to try this so bad! Very nice!

    P/S - Thanks for following me over @ my blog ;)

  2. soooooo cooooooool. obsessed!

  3. This works so well. I tried the soaking method and failed every time... This worked perfectly my first try :D

  4. THIS IS AMAZING! I tried it first with vanilla extract but with no success. I then tried it with Vanilla essence and it was super clear! I highly reccommend vanilla essence; works like a charm!

    1. shelby? did u ever have a pet bunny?

  5. I'm so glad to see everyone is having good luck with this!! If you used this method and did a blog post on it or something, I'd love to see it!

  6. The newspaper ink smudges when I coat my nail with a top coat. any suggestions???

  7. @Anonymous
    Make sure you have enough top coat on your brush so it doesn't rub or pull against the print, it just glides on top of it. Use the brush very gently. Or you may need to try a different top coat. Good luck and lemme know how you make out!!

  8. rubbing alcohol works better!

  9. Incredible! Thank you so much (:

  10. i absoultly adore your creation of the newspaper nail. i am going to a dinner meeting tommorow afternoon and i will most defently be doing this for my nails. Thank you dearly for your turtorial it was splendid. Choa

    1. are you still on anyway

    i lieke themn bicoz icun reeid thu nowspaeypa
    fangks arghgen louvie Feyeebiye

  12. this a translation for the post above
    i think you are really awesome thank you very much i like then because i can read the newspaper thanks again love phoebe

  13. just to let u know that if u dip ur nail in vodka then press the paper for 40 secounds on your nail it works... oh and it dosn't just have to be words it can be anything in the magazine or newspaper!!!!! my nails have bery bright colours on them

  14. ok ive tried... i think my 6th attempt... it still wont work!!!!! idk what im doing wrong but im gettin very impatient.. so first off i put a clear base coat on my nails thn let em dry (for about a minute.) thn i put on my light pink coat and waited for it to dry to 4 bout 1 minute. thn i dipped my nails in rubbing alchohol and got my newspaper strip thn pressed it on my nail for bout 15-20 secs. it either ended up having my nail polish stick to the paper or having any words on my nails. :'( help?

    1. You have to wait for your base coats to be COMPLETELY dry! It's as if your putting a stamp on your nails. Once the base coat is dry (fully) then you can do the steps she shows :)

  15. Thank you all so much!! I'm glad this tutorial has helped some of you, and I appreciate the comments :)

    To the most recent commenter:
    The method you are describing is not how I did it in my tutorial. In fact, the method you're talking about did NOT work for me, and that's why I wrote this tutorial. Please read how I did it in this post and it might help you. :)

  16. This did not work for me? :(

  17. so just wondering does vodka work better than rubbing alchohol because when I looked up how to do this they said to use rubbing alchohol

  18. This did not work for me? :(
    I'm very sorry! What were you using? Vodka or something else? What exactly was the problem?

    "does vodka work better than rubbing alcohol"
    At the very beginning of this post I linked to a post where I compared vodka, rubbing alcohol, and other things. Follow that link :)

    For future commenters, please select Comment as "Name/URL". You don't have to post a URL, but it makes it easier to reply directly to your comments if you don't leave it as Anonymous. Thanks!!

  19. Thanks so much
    I now have a new idea for my nails once they grow back out and I get my ballet pink back from my friend. I plan on using Almond extract as suggested in your linked post, as I am a minor, but again thanks a lot!

  20. I went with a modified version of your method, using a q-tip liberally saturated with almond extract and painted it on just like nail polish over two coats of Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri in Wirlwind White. Worked like a dream and only took a few seconds for the ink to transfer.

    Did end up with a bit of paper transferred to a nail or two, but I'm about 98% sure that was because I didn't let my base coat dry quite long enough. I'm apparently too impatient for even the fastest of quick-dry nail polishes.

    Thank you SO much for the alcohol alternatives! I went to dig mine out of the medicine cabinet today and -- dun dun dunnn -- someone had used it all. You saved me from an entire afternoon of stomping grumpily around the apartment.

  21. I did this a little differently. I used hydrogen peroxide instead of alcohol, and instead of wetting my nail and applying the newspaper, I saturated the newspaper and pressed it onto my nail. I did end up with some smudges (mostly due to slippage of the paper/unsteady hands) and ink on my index fingers from touching the wet newspaper (because I had never seen the cotton pad tip--great idea) but the ink transferred onto my nail much darker than i expected it would. It looks really great, especially for my first try. :)

  22. im going to do this after i've had my tea and if teachers at school on monday say that i shouldn't be wearing nail varnish, I'll tell them it's educational and that it's good that im reading newspapers and then making the most of them and not wasting them when I've finished reading ;D

  23. That Almond thing did not work, Any Suggestions???

  24. Can u e use anything else besides newspaper???

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. IMPORTANT! - can you use rubbing alcohol?

  27. IMPORTANT! - can you use rubbing alcohol?

    Please click the link at the top of my post. It's the first thing I typed and it says:
    "If you cannot or do not want to use vodka, please CLICK HERE to see what else you can use."
    I showed rubbing alcohol.

  28. thank youuu! :)
    Thanks to your tutorial I was able to do those nails too :).

  29. I just tried it with Astringent (toner, to some.) Worked like a charm. :)

  30. I loved this tutorial, have been meaning to try this mani, but not much call for rubbing alcohol here in the UK. Vodka however is ever present :D

  31. I tried this with Vanilla Extract, the extract was slightly brown, but it still worked really well. I really love this tutotrial, I'm going t use it next time I go out somewhere.

  32. ouh, so awesome nails! i have to try that too :))


  33. Does the tipe of polish change anything because I tried with a shimery polish ( with litle spacles ) and it didn't work. I tried voldka and rubbing alcool.

  34. Thnks this really helped! Check out my blog!


  35. Thanks for the tutorial! I'm going to do this!! I'm just going to use Almond extract instead of vodka. I read that it works better, and of course smells better. Anyway, I'd have to want a couple years before I could go out and buy vodka anyway.

  36. I am going to a writing conference and I want to do this. I have tried several different variations posted on the internet without any transfer success at all. I suspect that it has something to do with the newspaper I use. Oil based inks are easily transferable, but vegetable or soy based inks are not supposed to transfer at all. I wonder if your local paper uses oil based ink, while those of us without success have a local paper that uses vegetable ink?

  37. Going to have to give this a try! If anyone wants to experiment with this before i do a convienient way to do this if you can or dont ant to buy alcohol, go the the diabetic section in any pharmacy and get alcohol prep pads. Theyre cheap about $3 for 150 pads they are individual sealed and quite saturated. I use target brand for my nail prep every time before polish. Its just rubbing alcohol on a square pad that will cover most nails unless they are very long.

  38. Does anyone know if this works with something other than News paper?

  39. Do you think tequila would work instead?

  40. This worked so well from the first try, thank you so much for sharing!!! :D