Beauty / Creepy / Nails / Staff Picks

Luna Luna Nail Art Tutorial #1: Gradient

You voted in our Freaky Phalange & Creepy Nail Art post about what nail art tutorial you would like to see, and here it is! Gradient cross nails—

Learn the secret to a perfect gradient with our step-by-step nail art tutorial.

What you will need:
White nail polish— I am using Sation in “Snow White”
Grey nail polish—Diosa Nails & Polish in “Dime Piece”
Black nail polish—Cover Girl Outlast in “Black Diamond”
A make-up sponge
A striper/detail brush or white nail art polish bottle
A wide brush for clean up/touch up
Nail polish remover


  1. Apply white as the base and let dry for 5 minutes.
  2. Using the make-up sponge, paint on the nail polish in horizontal stripes in the order you want the gradient (white, grey, black).
    TIP: Cutting the make-up sponge into smaller squares not only allows you to better manage the sponge piece when applying the gradient, but is a great way to make 1 make-up sponge go a long way! Gradient nails for everyone!
  3. Dab off any access polish first onto a piece of paper, paper towel, whatever you have handy.
  4. Lightly dab the polish onto the nail until you see the gradient faintly begin to appear (about 4-5 dabs). *Using this method can get a bit of polish on your cuticles and surrounding the nail but we will clean it up, don’t worry!*
  5. Let it dry for 3-5 minutes.
    WARNING: The “touch too much”Sometimes when doing nail art, certain designs or patterns require different methods that are more of a gradual process. It starts light/sheer at first and will build up to a solid color with another coat or two. It will not always look perfect the first time. You will want to do a tiny dab here or there, but you can overwork it as the paint dries quickly. Be patient.  Over sponging it can begin to pick the paint back off of the nail and you are left with nails covered in thick, tacky polish and sometimes tiny bits of sponge, and we don’t want that! Now let’s continue… 
  6. Apply nail polish and paint the gradient again, being sure to build up the edge color on the tip. You can always go back and touch up the edge with the actual nail polish brush too.
  7. Did you avoid over painting? Great! I’m proud of you. Now let that dry for 5 minutes.
  8. While the nail polish is drying, this is a great time to go through with a brush and nail polish remover and clean up around the edges. Putting some nail polish remover in a small cup/shot glass (that you DO NOT use!) is a great way to utilize nail polish remover when cleaning up polish like this.
  9. Using a nail art brush/striper/detailing brush, draw a vertical line downward from the white to black. You can play around with the width of these lines, depending on how thick or thin you would like them to appear. This line is about 3 vertical strokes.
    TIP: Nail art polish bottles are great in that they already have a striper brush attached. You can find nail art kits where they have several in a pack. I like using these from KISS, especially since black and white are staple colors.
  10. Then you are going to draw a horizontal line at the same width about 2/3 down the nail to complete the cross.
  11. Let dry for 5 minutes and apply a top coat.

For a different look, try varying the gradient direction or crosses and cross sizes. Instead of one, try drawing small ones in a pattern or adding your own little twist by apply embellishments or studs. This gradient method can be used with whatever and however many colors you like, so get creative!

Show us your freaky phalanges! If you are inspired to do some nail art of your own or try out this tutorial, we would love to see!

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Images: Kim Bui // Luna Luna Magazine


2 thoughts on “Luna Luna Nail Art Tutorial #1: Gradient

  1. Pingback: Freaky Phalanges & Creepy Nail Art |

  2. Pingback: August Haunts | Cemetery Trash

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