After installing light wood flooring throughout her house, Orange, Calif.-based nail artist Elsbeth Schuetz realized how the wood grain texture is both a classic and current style trend. “It gave me the idea of trying a wood grain look on nails,” says Schuetz. After e-mailing NAILS a photo of the design on nail tips, we decided to have her expand on the idea. We tasked her with creating three more faux textures to help us demonstrate that faux can be just as good — or better — than the real thing.



Asked what advice she would give other nail artists to create such intricate detail, she added, “I paint what I see. Not everyone sees the same. Every painter interprets the object differently. Don’t try to paint like Picasso if you were given Monet eyes.”


Wood gets its grains of alternating lighter and darker colors from a tree’s growth over the course of its lifetime.



1. Use a white base such as Orly GelFX Point Blanche. Mix warm yellow, brown, and white paints and apply over the entire nail. (The wooden background can already be produced with the pressure and direction of the brushwork you use.)

2. Apply a line of brown paint.

3. Immediately separate the line with a clean brush so your light background shows through.

4. Add more lines and repeat step 3.



This opaque blue-green mineral gets its dimension from the many irregularities in the gemstone.


1. Prepare nails with a light blue gel base. Apply small amounts of blue, green, brown, white, and black water-based paints on a paper plate. Mix brown and yellow paints to create the creases in the stone.

2. Use partial green and black paints to outline the brown areas.

3. Dip your brush in water and create a watery mix of blue, green, and white. Apply this in sections over the brown areas, leaving “valleys” of the darker paint uncovered.

4. Dip your brush in water and blend.




Small, rounded rocks that often get their smooth finish from wave erosion, pebbles look great with a matte look against a shiny “wet” background.


1. Use black gel or polish as a base. Place a small amount of black, white, yellow, and warm red paints on a paper plate.

2. Use your favorite small brush and dip the tip into two or three different colors at the same time. Touch the nail plate and swirl the paint around to create tiny pebbles.

3. Mix different paints to create a variety of pebble colors. Don’t forget to create diff erent shapes.

4. White pebbles with a tiny amount of yellow brighten up the “shore.” Finish with a high-gloss top coat to create the wet look.

TIP: Finish with matte topcoat then paint glossy topcoat only on the pebbles for a wet look.









We’d love to see you create your own faux textured looks. Upload your own photos of faux textures on Instagram and Twitter and use the hashtags #fauxtexturenails and #nailsmagazine.

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