Tutorial // Matte Cartoon Mani [pic heavy]

by - Friday, September 27, 2013

I feel like I haven't been posting as often, so to make it up to you I'm going to share a bunch of fun new things over the coming weeks (namely tutorials and a giveaway)! The cartoon mani I did in August was one of my most popular looks, and as promised I've put together a tutorial on how to do this nail art yourself. :) This time I used turquoise as my base shade and mattified the whole thing. This is my first full tutorial, and I tried to make it as simple-yet-comprehensive as I could. Let me know what you think!


You will need:
- a matte topcoat (I used Essie Matte About You) and optional glossy topcoat to smooth things out before mattifying [not pictured]
- base colour of your choice (I chose Covergirl Outlast Mint Mojito)
- a dotting tool
- a white striping tool (I used Rimmel London French White Nail Tip Liner but you can also use a normal striping paintbrush and white polish/acrylic pain)
- a black striping tool (I used Quo by ORLY Instant Artist in Black, but again you can use a normal striping paintbrush instead)


Before you even start, make sure that you clean up your cuticles well and protect with a base coat. I always start with one coat of OPI's Ridge Filler. The reason you need to make sure your cuticles are cleaned up is because any mani with a frame is going to follow the shape of your cuticle line, and it will be easier to keep that line neat if it doesn't have to work around bumps and unevenness.


Step 1: Paint enough layers of your base coat so that it's opaque. I used two coats. When you're done, make sure you clean up the edges (I used an angled brush and pure acetone) so that your framing can use the polish and your cuticle line as a guide. 


Step 2: The framing! This is where your black striping tool comes into play. This part takes a steady hand, and I usually do it in three clean strokes: the first along the right side of the nail, the second along the left side of the nail, and the third along the bottom. If you aren't confident in your ability to do it in three strokes, you can do it slowly in dotted-line increments (like putting on liquid eyeliner, if you don't do that in one stroke either). When you're done, clean up any black that's gotten on your cuticles/skin.


Step 3: In the next two steps, what you're basically doing is creating a curved exclamation (!) mark, to give the cartoon-y shine. To do the long part, use your white striping tool to make a gently curving line from the middle of the top of your nail (which is towards the bottom of this picture) to mid-way down the side of your nail. Go over it a few times if you need to, and try to round the edges.

Step 4: Use your dotting tool (or your white striping tool, if you're confident in your ability to do crisp dots with it) to place a dot at the bottom of your exclamation point to finish the shine. (Don't make your dot too thick, or it will take forever to dry!)


Step 5 [optional]: Once everything is dry (I usually give it a good hour to make sure) I like to seal and smooth it with a glossy topcoat. I use Seche Vite.

Step 6: To finish the whole thing off, seal with a layer of matte topcoat so that the only shine that comes through is the one you drew. :) And you're done! Lovely!


I love this look because it works so well with short nails, and I always have trouble finding designs to wear when my nails are down to nubbins. And it's so versatile, you can literally use any colour (or design, really) as your base before you frame it and add the shine. Awesome!

Here's a combined tutorial, for easy saving/sharing. :)


Let me know if you give this mani a try! Thanks for visiting!! xx

All nail art represented here and elsewhere on my site (unless indicated) is my intellectual property and Copyright © ProcrastiNails 2013. Please do not link/re-host elsewhere without asking.

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10 comments

  1. wonderful <3 wonderful <3 wow!!!

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  2. Nice tutorial!! and lovely color combo (:

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    1. Thank you!! I'm totally going through a turquoise phase right now, lol! :)

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  3. You do this so beautifully! If you don't watch out, I'm gonna start calling you Olive Oyl. :D

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  4. Nice tutorial! I'm definitely trying this when I eventually break a nail and have to cut them short haha

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    1. Aww, thank you! I would never hope for someone to get a broken nail (because it's so frustratingly terrible), but when it happens I want to see your take on this look! :D

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  5. This looks very fun! That turquoise color is gorgeous o.O I'm definitely going to give this a try :)

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    1. It's such a cute and happy manicure! Haha. Whenever I have this design on I catch myself looking at my nails throughout the day. Can't wait to see what you do with it, if you give it a try! :)

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Thanks for your comments! Even if I don't get a chance to reply I read and appreciate each and every one of them!! <3