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Nail Art How-to: Totoro-Inspired Nails


Totoro inspired nail art

In my experience, almost everyone I have talked to has an affinity for Hayao Miyazaki and his films. Whether it be the storylines or animation in said films, Miyazaki has created unforgettable characters, intertwined with strong, thought-provoking themes within his stories. From the Studio Ghibli in Japan to his movies like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro, Miyazaki is known worldwide as an influential and inspirational animator/director.

For this tutorial, I thought I’d use one of Miyazaki’s films, My Neighbour Totoro, as an inspiration to create Totoro-inspired nail art.

Note: this look actually works on nails that are a bit longer, so there’s more surface to work on, but I tried to make it work with my short nails.

What You’ll Need:

Totoro inspired nail art polishes

  • a turquoise blue polish – I used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear’s Blue Me Away!
  • a light-grey polish – I chose Essie’s Master Plan (for a similar look, try Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear’s Wet Cement)
  • a white polish – I used China Glaze’s White on White
  • a black polish – I didn’t actually have a black, so I substituted with a dark grey. Either can work!
  • a dotting tool in 2 different sizes, large and small
  • a top coat

Step 1:

Totoro inspired nail art step 1

First, paint all your nails except for your chosen accent nail. You can choose to do what I did – blue on the accent nail and grey for the rest – or reverse the colors. On the accent nail, paint on a half circle 1/3 of the way down the nail.

Step 2:

Totoro inspired nail art step 2

Before your half circle dries, use a thin brush to paint on two long ears. You can also shape your nail polish brush as flat as possible and use the thin side to paint on the ears. Use a toothpick or a thin dotting tool to shape the pointy part on the ears.

Step 3:

Totoro inspired nail art step 3

With a large dotting tool, take a bit of white and dot two eyes on the half circle. After that, take a smaller dotting tool and, with a little bit of black polish, make the two pupils. Be careful of the placement of the eyes and use a picture for reference if needed.

Using the same black polish and dotting tool, make a thin nose underneath the eyes.

Step 4:

Totoro inspired nail art step 4

Now, moving on to the other accent nail, paint another half circle, using the white polish (you may need 2 coats to make it opaque). Add two dots above that with a large dotting tool for the eyes.

Step 5:

Totoro inspired nail art step 5

Using the small dotting tool, add the pupils and nose in black. With the grey color, add two lines of small caret-like symbols (^) on the first half of the white circle. Once it dries, add a top coat if you’d like. And there you have it: an adorable Totoro-inspired mani!

Are you a Miyazaki fan? What are your favorite movies?

What do you think of this nail art? Will you be recreating it? What other type of nail art would you like to see? I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial! If there are any questions, comments or suggestions please post them down below.

Posted on on August 2, 2013 / Filed Under: Beauty & Hair / Tags: , , , ,

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15 Responses to “Nail Art How-to: Totoro-Inspired Nails”

  1. 1
    August 2nd, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, is it bad that I’ve never heard of Miyazaki? Regardless, this nail art is adorable! Might I suggest another animal design? Perhaps cute little turtles or owls? :)

    Thanks for all your nail posts! I’m obsessed with nail polish and you inspire me a lot.

  2. 2
    August 2nd, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    These are sooo cute! Definitely trying this over the weekend. Just need some grey nail polish.

  3. 3
    August 2nd, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I’m a huge fan of Miyazaki and these are adorable! Thank you for this tutorial I’ll definitely be trying this soon!

  4. 4
    August 2nd, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Eeee, this is so cute! I love Totoro.

  5. 5
    August 2nd, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I don’t normally leave comments but this nail art is phenomenal! You’re very talented, and you clearly have great taste because this is an awesome movie. However, I have to disagree with you. I don’t know many people who are familiar with Miyazaki films!

  6. 6
    August 2nd, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever squealed over a nail art post, but this made me so, so happy. Can’t wait to try this out–I love Totoro!

  7. 7
    August 3rd, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I’m with Shannon, I squealed out loud when I saw this post. I love your nails!! More Miyazaki artwork, please! Love, love, love him.

  8. 8
    August 3rd, 2013 at 1:02 pm


  9. 9
    August 3rd, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Ahhhh!!! Totoro is one of my favorite movies of all time! I’ve got to try out some movie-inspired artwork on my nails!

  10. 10
    August 6th, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Ahh, this tutorial is so cute! I’m a huge Studio Ghibli fan so I had to try this out =) Sadly, without a dotting tool my Totoros are a bit messy!

  11. 11
    August 6th, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I absolutely adore this! I definitely squealed aloud when I saw this post! :3
    I love Miyazaki’s work and all Studio Ghibli films, though I’m not sure if you can incorporate it into further nail art. But if you can, please do!
    I may just grow my nails out for this (:

  12. 12
    August 8th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Wow! These are absolutely fab! I just did my nails like this (needless to say they don’t look as good haha) and I love it!

    Miyazaki has amazing movies! I own almost all of them! From Arietty to Nausicaa! ^^ His movies are amazing and so heart warming as well as have great underlying themes!

    I could never pick a favorite movie of his! *u*

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