Wilmington, N.C.-based nail tech Alecia Mounixay used acrylics to create this adorable 3-D cactus design. Follow her on Instagram @thewhitekoi.

1. Ombre soft peach and soft yellow colored acrylic to make the base of the nail. “Sometimes it’s easier to start with a darker color and ombre with a lighter color to get a more uniform blend,” says Mounixay. Shape, file, and apply matte top coat.

2. Use a soft olive color for the flower pot. Make a large bead and flatten it into an oblong shape.

3. To add a layer to the top of the flower pot, flatten the back of a paper form. Lay the bead of acrylic on the back of the form and drag it out, wiping both sides to make a long thin triangle. Before the acrylic has hardened, pick it up and place it on the top of the pot.

4. Use a darker green to make a round bead. Place it where you want the top of the cactus to be and push down towards the top of the pot, pressing to make it thinnest at the bottom. Repeat for the smaller cactus. For the eyes, use a very small drop of black acrylic, making sure to have even balls. “Sometimes putting the ball down on the paper towel then picking it back up will make the ball more uniform,” advises Mounixay.

5. Using a light pink color, make two smaller beads for the cheeks and place one in each lower corner under each eye. Using three small beads in a bright pink, press each bead down, making sure that you’re pressing towards the center of the flower. Using a bright yellow, make a perfect round ball and center it between the petals. Do not press. Paint a small smile with black acrylic paint or gel-paint. Cure.

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