Painting Class: Watercolour Nails from Lucian Matis Spring 2012

by Janine on 13 October 2011 · 66 comments

I had to borrow Leeanne’s iPhone for the how-to video on the watercolour nails — or watercolor nails — she and the team at Tips Nail Bar & Spa did for the Lucian Matis Spring 2012 show last night. I’d popped in for an appointment last week and there they were, in various stages of development. And my camera was at home. #shouldneverleavehomewithoutit

Inspiration for these watercolour nails — or watercolor nails *grin* — came from the fabric shades in designer Lucian Matis’ Spring 2012 runway collection. (See Elle Canada’s top 10 favourites from the show here.)

The base coat is Revlon White on White (plus a clear, UV-cured glaze to make the nails ultra glossy).

The colour is regular polish: Hard Candy’s Splendid, and Creative Nail Design’s Anchor Blue, Flashpoint and Electric Orange.

As for the watercolour nails technique (yep, or watercolor nails technique), it’s brilliantly easy. If you’re into nail art — and you love Spring — you’ll love this tutorial:

Model photo courtesy of Leeanne Colley/ and Tips Nail Bar & Spa.


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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Arianne 13 October 2011 at 10:55 am

Ahh, so creative! I love this. What are they going to come up with next?


Janine 13 October 2011 at 11:17 am

I was gobsmacked when I saw them in person! Soooo pretty! And I have the same question — what could be next??


Vivian 13 October 2011 at 10:56 am

LOOOOOOOOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! Bravo Tips!


Lindsay 13 October 2011 at 11:02 am

Woah. I’m going to have to recreate this, obviously. But the acetone doesn’t damage the two coats of white underneath?


Janine 13 October 2011 at 11:20 am

Leeanne glazed the nails with a UV-cured clear coat. An idea, of course, is to have a white soak-off mani to use as your base — OPI Axxium in Alpine Snow, for instance. Am checking with our nail guru re: specifics of doing this effect on a plain polish base. It’s the barest amount of acetone; perhaps if the white is well and truly dry, it’ll be able to handle it?


Lindsay 13 October 2011 at 12:15 pm

Ah, yes. You said that about the UV-cured part. Maybe even if the white smears a little, you can cover up the bumps with a topcoat. I’ll experiment and see what happens.


Janine 13 October 2011 at 12:41 pm

Leeanne says if you allow the base to dry for about an hour, you should be okay because there’s no pressure with the brush for the colour application… report back, ‘k?


Lindsay 13 October 2011 at 1:33 pm

Roger that. Over and out.


Carmela 13 October 2011 at 11:09 am

This is brilliant! I know it’s not even close to spring yet, but I need to try this. Do you need to use the UV cured glaze to protect the white from acetone?


Janine 13 October 2011 at 11:23 am

You could try it with Autumn-leaf shades, green, russet, yellow, red… The day I filmed the video, I happened to be wearing an H&M dress that looked similar to the nails except in Fall colours!

The glaze certainly added a level of durability that Leeanne needed because of all the handling involved in making them, transporting them, then applying them on show night. It definitely makes the watercolour effect a snap because it won’t be affected by the acetone. Am awaiting word on whether it can be done over straight-up nail polish.


Janine 13 October 2011 at 12:44 pm

Yes, Leeanne says just let the base dry for about an hour first. Use very little acetone and zero pressure when you add the colour.


Kelly Garrett 13 October 2011 at 11:16 am

Impressionist watercolour nails? Claude Monet would be so jealous.


Janine 13 October 2011 at 1:27 pm



Issa 13 October 2011 at 8:17 pm

This is amazing! Very creative! :)


Anne 14 October 2011 at 12:49 pm

Soooo pretty. Thanks for the video! My little art-school self appreciated the look :)


Janine 14 October 2011 at 7:24 pm

My pleasure! Lucky thing I had to be at the salon that day!


Leeanne 30 October 2011 at 4:35 pm

Janine, what a great post and the video…..FREAKING AMAZING!

I noticed some of you are having difficulty attempting this look. Be patient, use a light feathery touch and have fun! The key point to remember is this is NOT supposed to be perfect, that’s why it’s such a beautiful look.


Cc 6 April 2012 at 7:39 am

Love it!!!


Ghy 19 December 2012 at 4:00 pm

Wow! This is amazing!


Lindsay N. 9 October 2013 at 5:46 pm

I need to try this!


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