Veins are pretty cool. They help pump blood through our bodies, keeping us alive. They resemble personal, brightly-colored road maps. And they look pretty hot protruding from someone’s arm when they’re playing the guitar (or maybe that’s just me?).

A while ago, Anaheed was asking for suggestions for her next manicure, and Tavi suggested vein nails. While Anaheed eschewed the idea for herself, I kept it in my back pocket, and when March’s exploration theme rolled around, my weirdo brain connected the two. So here is my tutorial, inspired by Tavi’s wild idea, and also the below tights from Studio M+O (they’re not available anymore, but you can get similar pairs through costume sites like this one if you keep an eye out).

You’ll need:

  • A sheer, creamy colored polish for your base, like Wet ’n’ Wild’s Mega Last Nail Color in 2% Milk
  • A true red nail polish like Milani Nail Lacquer in Toe-Mato-Red
  • A bright blue nail polish like Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Blue Me Away!
  • A crimson, bloody shade of red nail polish like Essie’s Bordeaux
  • A clear nail polish to use as a top coat, which should (hopefully) preserve your handiwork for a few days
  • A very fine-tipped paintbrush, available from craft or art supply stores
  • Paper towels
  • A capful of nail polish remover
  • A good deal of time

Step One

Paint your nails with two or three coats of the milky shade, and let them dry for a few minutes to prevent any smudging.

Step Two

Using your fine-tipped paint brush, dip into the bright red polish, and begin to slowly and steadily paint somewhat squiggly lines from the cuticle of your nail up to the tip. Take your time!

Step Three

Add “branches” to these lines, as if you were drawing a tree. Two or three for each line should be enough. If your paintbrush is starting to get all clumpy, just dip it in the capful of nail polish remover, wipe off on the paper towel, and try again.

Step Four

Repeat the previous two steps, but with your blue polish. If the blue “veins” overlap the red, it looks cool and natural, so don’t worry about it.

Step Five

For fun, I added a drop of “blood” to my ring finger. To do this, put a dollop of the red polish on the center of your nail, then use the paintbrush to craft a raindrop shape.

Step Six

Let your nails dry completely, then set with a clear nail polish. Repeat on your other hand. Since you were probably using your dominant hand before, this might take a bit longer, but if you’re patient, it’ll pay off, and you’ll be left with an awesome, unique-looking manicure!