Back to School Nail Art Tutorial

Learn how to do your nails for back to school with our school colors and notebook paper nail art tutorial. Step-by-step photo instructions.
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Learn how to do your nails for back to school with our school colors and notebook paper nail art tutorial. Step-by-step photo instructions.

Though the fall equinox is still a few weeks away, with August ending, there's no denying it: summer is over, as marked by the beginning of the new semester. Of course, back-to-college isn't ALL bad -- you get to see your friends after a long absence, and I know I'm not the only one who gets excited about buying new books. Plus, come on, it's college. Who wouldn't be excited?

What You'll Need

Just in case your enthusiasm is waning or you just want to show your school spirit on your digits, I thought that back-to-school would be an appropriate theme for this week's nail art tutorial!

You'll need white, red, blue, and black (optional) polishes and a detail brush, along with polishes in your school colors.

As you may have noticed in some of my previous tutorials, I like to paint one cohesive pattern on most of my nails with one accent nail that sports a different design. To me, taking notes is what most indicates I'm back in class, so I thought that painting college-ruled paper on my nails would be a cute way to ring in the school year. I also wanted to show my school spirit, though, so I dedicated one nail to my school colors!

Back-to-School Nails, Step by Step

To start, paint four of your nails white.

Back to school nail art - Step 1

After that dries, use the detail brush to paint a few blue horizontal lines.

Back to school nail art step 2 - white stripes

Then, paint a red vertical line with your detail brush, allowing space for a margin.

Back to school nail art step 3 - paint notebook paper line in red

Optional touch: Add black dots with a detail brush so your paper can fit in your binder!

Back to school nail art step 4: Notebook paper holes

For my accent nail, I wanted to show some school spirit. I go to NYU, so I wanted to paint the torch, which is my school's logo. If you don't go to NYU, you could try painting your school's emblem, or, if that's a bit tricky, just stick to a simpler design in your school colors (like stripes or polka dots--you'll still look spirited).

Since NYU is a big school, potentially with a few College Fashion readers, I thought I'd share how I did the torch. First, I painted my accent finger purple. (I chose my ring finger, although another finger would be fine.)

Back to school nail art: Purple accent nail

Then, I used a detail brush to paint the torch in white. First, paint a cone.

Back to school nail art: NYU torch step 1

On top of the cone, paint a rectangle.

Back to school nail art: NYU torch step 2

Then, paint the flame shapes, fanning out underneath from the left. Looking at a picture helps, but of course, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Back to school nail art: NYU torch step 3

And of course, if that's too complicated, a simpler striped pattern would look just as great!

With a manicure like this, I'm actually looking forward to taking notes (almost)!

Back to school-themed nail art: Notebook paper nails and college logo nail

What do you think?

Are you excited to head back to school? Would you try out an academic-inspired manicure? How do you think you'll make the design work for your school? As always, your comments are welcome!