“I learned how to do aquarium nails via YouTube tutorials,” says Lisa Bennett, a Bakersfield, Calif.-based nail school grad who is preparing to take her exam. “This was the first time I ever tried to make an aquarium nail in the stiletto shape. After experimenting, I came up with this technique,” she says. While these nails were created with acrylic, Bennett has found that gel works just as well.

1. Using a form, create a stiletto shape leaving the free edge thin. Bennett used colored acrylic for the free edge to give a background to the design. Shape and file the smile line.

2. Build a wall or border around the free edge. File and shape so the wall is even, leaving a well.

3. Cap with a clear nail tip using a small amount of glue to secure it at the point.

4. Shape the tip. Be careful not to over-file the surface, as it will scratch your “window.” (Leave the open space at the smile line to fill with floaties and saline.)

5. Using clear acrylic, carefully fill the outer walls to create your pocket. Bennett uses a syringe to fill the tip with saline and leaves a small bubble of air to make it easier to see the mobility. Cap the entire nail, shape, shine, and decorate.

6. Finished nail.


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