Galaxy Nails

The universe at your fingertips.

If you want to explore outer space, you better have the nails to match. For today’s mani tutorial, I’m going to show you how you can express your love for the cosmos by wearing it right on your fingertips. What’s cool about this manicure is that you can do a million design/color combinations because there are endless possibilities for BEAUTY—just like in real outer space! Take a look at NASA’s Hubblesite gallery for inspiration.

You’ll need:

  • Dark nail polish as your base coat, like black or dark blue. I used China Glaze’s Up All Night.
  • White nail polish. I used Milani’s White Canvas, which was technically their nail art lacquer, but any white will do.
  • Green or yellow nail polish with a shimmery finish. My pick was Milani’s Green Glow.
  • Pink or peach nail polish with a shimmery finish, like Milani’s La Vie En Rose.
  • Shimmery sapphire nail polish (optional), like Milani’s Bolting Blue.
  • Holographic glitter nail polish. My favorite is China Glaze’s Fairy Dust.
  • Top coat (optional)
  • A palette for your polish. This can be a paper plate or a glossy flyer you got in the mail. I used a blank, heart-shaped card left over from Valentine’s Day.
  • Foundation sponges
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers (optional, but recommended)
  • Toothpicks
  • A corrector pen or nail polish remover with cotton swabs/a brush to clean up any mistakes. (I opted to use a brush like the PROFESSIONALZ do.)
  • An inspirational, space-themed photo. Mine is of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. I also recommend Barf from Spaceballs.

Step One

Start by cutting up a foundation sponge with your scissors. At first, I just tore off little pieces, but the SPONGE LINT was getting all up on my nails, making lumps in the polish. So it is best to cut them.

Step Two

Paint all of your nails with the dark base color. Don’t worry if it gets a little messy—we can fix that later. Make sure your nail is fully covered with polish and that there are no thin areas. I was able to use just one coat of Up All Night.

Step Three

Next, put a dollop of white nail polish on your palette. Using your tweezer to pick up a piece of sponge, lightly dab it in the white nail polish, and then lightly dab it across your nail in a diagonal direction. This white is going to be the base for your nebula. You don’t have to do it in the same direction on each nail. You will want the design to vary, so play around with it!

Step Four

Now you will do the same thing with the green polish. Using the tweezer to dip a piece of sponge in it, lightly dab the green on the white area only.

Step Five

Do the same thing with the pink polish! If you want, you can also dab the edges of your nebula with the sapphire blue. This is totally optional, but you just want to make sure the white nail polish is covered by all of the other colors.

Step Six

Here is the tricky part. You are going to make scattered stars. Dip your toothpick into the white nail polish. Before applying to your nail, gently press the toothpick down on the palette to dull the point a bit so that it isn’t as fine. Make sure you don’t have gobs of polish on the toothpick, because you want your stars to be subtle (at first). Lightly dot the area around your nebula with the toothpick. This part will take a bit of practice, but don’t fret! It is going to look RULL GOOD IN A MOME…

Step Seven

…and now, GLITTER TIME! Once the white stars aren’t as wet, apply a coat of the holographic glitter. This will bring the whole starry look together, and you’ll find yourself tripping out! Clean up any messy edges, and you’ll be READY2GO.

Live long and prosper, dudettes! ♦


  • Marguerite March 13th, 2012 3:46 PM

    thats so cool! but uneven layers on my nails don’t last long, as the urge to pick at them is impossible to resist

    • darksideoftherainbow March 13th, 2012 4:18 PM

      me too! oh my goodness…it’s so bad. even with glitter top coat i can’t help but peal it off! that said, this shit looks RAD AS HELL. love. it.

  • atzemaqi March 13th, 2012 3:46 PM

    i just made an account to say, i’m so ready for this.

  • Susann March 13th, 2012 4:00 PM

    Yet another amazing nail idea! Great!

  • Naomi Morris March 13th, 2012 4:14 PM

    these are amazing marie. i am gonna try but i don’t think i have your skills

  • KinuKinu March 13th, 2012 4:50 PM

    LOVELY……doing this as sooon as i stock up on nail polish-and my nails grow back.
    Could someone do goo nails next? i really want to learn how to do that but i cant figure out nails….i don’t know what to call them
    Great tutorial!!

  • ellaronnie March 13th, 2012 5:06 PM

    Why do you keep posting these amazing nail stuff when I’m so hopelessly untalented when it comes to maintaining nails. I LOVE this.

  • MissKnowItAll March 13th, 2012 5:08 PM

    Gah too cool!
    PS- I like your tattoo

  • Kathryn March 13th, 2012 5:19 PM

    This is such a cool tutorial!! those look sweeeeet.

  • SparklyVulcan March 13th, 2012 6:02 PM

    No way! :D When I think of exploration, I definitely think of Star Trek. :) I love these nails and when my nails get a little longer I’m definitely making my sister do it to my nails (I’m horrible at painting nails…hahaha.) I love Picardd!! <3 He's amazinggg. :D

  • Abby March 13th, 2012 6:04 PM

    OMG These are the coolest thing EVER. I’m thinking about going to the store to get these colors just to do this haha.

  • sttefaaa March 13th, 2012 6:53 PM

    I wish my nails were longer. This is so cool!

  • queserasera March 13th, 2012 6:59 PM

    oooh, i’ve tried this before
    takes alotta time but so worth it!

  • Adrienne March 13th, 2012 8:14 PM

    Oh my lanta! This is so perfect! Thanks for the tutorial. :)

  • Payne March 13th, 2012 10:04 PM

    I have a Christopher Kane t-shirt which I now know how to accessorise.

  • insteadofanelephant March 13th, 2012 10:16 PM

    I must try this!!

    instead of an elephant

  • alliya March 14th, 2012 1:36 AM

    this. is. so. cool. Thanks for giving me a reason to buy new nail polish colours!

  • smilingrottenflesh March 14th, 2012 11:31 AM

    Gah, so incredibly space worthy!

  • Jesss March 14th, 2012 1:00 PM

    wow wow wow I need to do this asap!

  • Jamia March 14th, 2012 1:26 PM

    Supernova nails are so tempting. Might have to nake this happen this weekend.

  • CigarGalaxy March 14th, 2012 4:07 PM

    AAAHHH! It worked!
    I L O V E nail art
    I also love crackle nail polish n them little nail stickers from TOPSHOP
    merci boucoup

    • CigarGalaxy March 14th, 2012 4:09 PM

      *Topshop, that would have annoyed me forever

  • koolkat March 14th, 2012 4:47 PM

    This looks amazing, but my nails are so ugly that I wouldn’t want to attract attention to them… any chance of a diy manicure article? :P

  • vanessa March 15th, 2012 2:59 AM

    you saucy little minx! I looooove this one and will try it out as a rainy day project this weekend.

  • Besu April 12th, 2012 3:08 PM

    Thought this would be so difficult but i just used the tutorial to do my own nails and… SUCCESS!

  • MyGracelessHeart May 5th, 2012 2:30 PM

    I love this, gonna try it right away! xx