If you don't know, shattered glass nails have become a popular nail art trend from South Korea. It's basically applying iridescent pieces of cellophane (aka magical unicorn skin) to your manicure, to create a holographic effect.

The issue with shattered glass manis, is that they're difficult to do, and they don't wear very long unless you're encapsulating them in a gel manicure.

Well, NailSnaps fans, I figured out how to do it on NailSnaps and it's waaaaay easier than trying to apply it directly to your natural nail because NailSnaps start out flat.

Image showing a shattered glass mani done on NailSnaps.

I went through a few different experiments with this, using top coats, base coats, and Elmer's glue to figure out the best way to do this. So I'll shut up now and get on with the tutorial.

Shattered Glass Tutorial

For a shattered glass mani, you'll need thin, iridescent cellophane tissue paper. You can buy pre-cut iridescent cellophane very cheaply on eBay or the online nail supply store Born Pretty (ships from Singapore, so you'll be waiting a loooooong time - like a month). If you're impatient and have $5 to spare, go to Michael's and get the iridescent tissue paper in the wrapping paper section of the store. This is what I use in this tutorial. There's also this option, which according to nail blogger simplynailogical, is the best because it's a little thinner.

A note about colorIridescent cellophane reflects differently on different colors. For the cellophane that I have, on darker colors it reflected green and yellow and for lighter colors it was more blue and pink. If you want to test out the colors, you can always hold some of the cellophane against a swatch of the color and rotate it around in different lighting.

For this tutorial, I ordered a set of black/purple gradient NailSnaps. I personally prefer doing a shattered glass mani on plainer nails, but do what you like. You do you.

  1. Take a sheet of iridescent tissue paper and cut a small piece off. Then cut it into smaller triangles or random shapes. No need to be neat about this, but remember that your nails are probably smaller than you think they are (the average fingernail is the size of a regular M&M), so small pieces!

Image showing scissors, a larger piece of cellophane, and smaller cut pieces of cellophane.

  1. Hold the NailSnaps sheet next to your fingers, and estimate where the edge of your fingernail tip would be on the NailSnap. It can be helpful to mark next to the wrap where your nail will end with a pen. My nails taper to a point, so I'm marking where my fingertip is, and where the tapered end ends.

Animated gif showing me mark the NailSnaps sheet where my fingertip and nail end.

  1. With the nail wraps still on the NailSnaps sheet, paint a clear coat directly on your chosen set of NailSnaps. This isn't too big of a deal, but try to paint within the cut lines. DO NOT USE SECHE VITE FOR THIS! Seche Vite shrinks as it dries, so it will turn your NailSnaps sheet into a wrinkly mess. 

Animated gif of clear coat being painted on the NailSnaps sheet.

  1. While the clear coat is still wet, use a craft tweezer or other tool** to pick up pieces of your cut cellophane and place multiple pieces onto each of your NailSnaps wraps. Be sure to position them slightly apart from each other, and not overlapping. Use your tool to press the corners of any pieces into the still wet clear coat. Remember when you estimated where the edge of your nail would be on the NailSnap? Do not put any pieces of the cellophane on or past that edge.

Animated gif showing the placement of the cellophane.

  1. Let it dry to the touch.
  2. Apply another layer of topcoat over the cellophane and let dry completely
  3. Apply NailSnaps to your nails like normal. Want the best application? There's a blog post for that! Here.
  4. Apply one more thick layer of topcoat just for safe measure. This is where I like to go back to Seche Vite because it's thicker and can encase the edges of the cut cellophane. Remember to cap your tips!
  5. Now you're done! Look at this magicalness. LOOK! YOU COULD DO THIS!

Magic against a book.Magic holding a coffee cup.Magic in front of the American Flag.

**Picker upper tools

So, I've tried a bunch of different methods for picking up glitter, cellophane, and rhinestones. Here are some tools you may have lying around your house that you can use, with my personal favorites at the top of the list. Of course, you could always buy a tool for specifically picking up these things like a Crystal Katana. A craft tweezer will do. But for us stingy cheapskates, there's the stuff you probably already have that will work just as well.

  1. When you buy brand new liquid ball point pens, at the tip of the ball point, there is a plastic ball cap that keeps the pen brand new. A brand new pen with this plastic ball cap still attached makes the most amazing, magical picker upper tool I've ever imagined. It is what I used for this tutorial.
    CONS: It will eventually fall off. :(

  1. A toothpick or pencil dipped in candle wax. Have any candles lying around? Light one up and wait for the wax to melt a little. Then take a toothpick or a sharp pencil, and dip the tip in the wax. You now have your own DIY picker upper! If you need any further instruction on this, you can YouTube "DIY rhinestone picker" and get a good slew of results.
    CONS: Depending on the wax, it might leave an oily residue on the item you're picking up :( :(
  2. The tip of a wet pencil. I'll be honest, sometimes I'll just take a pencil and lick it. But I don't think as a company, NailSnaps can endorse that kind of unhealthy uncivilized behavior, so just dip a pencil in some water and pick up your stuff.
    CONS: Not super effective, but gets the job done.
  3. White eyeliner pencil.
    CONS: Like the wax, you might get leftover residue on the stuff you're trying to pick up. 

Now that you know how easy it is, go forth into shattered glass magic! Share any of your own tips for this in the comments below and share pics of your shattered glass gorgeousness with the hashtag #myNailSnaps! Go!

xo Kelly, turning your nails into magic.

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