Though not the most practical of techniques — most clients aren’t going to wear these elaborate designs out on the town — fantasy nail art skills can actually help make everyday applications easier. By pushing the limits of what acrylics can do, techs become more familiar with the acrylic’s tendencies and behavior and will often become more adept at applying acrylic in the salon. There are many techniques involved in fantasy nail art, from making interactive and moving parts, to designing elaborate platforms to hold up entire works, but the simple figurine is the design most commonly associated with fantasy nail art.

Veteran competitor Catherine Wong Li Mei shows how she made this sculpture of a Venetian acrobat. Wong created this figurine as part of her first-place entry in IBS Las Vegas’ Fantasy Nail Art competition earlier this year.

1. Using aluminum foil, create a skeleton of a human profile.

2. Coat the entire profile with white acrylic powder, creating the head, body, arms, and legs.

3. Sculpt the facial features, starting with the profile of the forehead and nose.

4.  Add in more detailed features such as the eye sockets, cheekbones, and lips.

5. From the side you can see the facial features of the acrobat. The body is then coated with colored acrylic powder to create the costume. Try to make sure the application is smooth so you don’t have to file later, but some might prefer to file.

6. Add details on the face and on the costume with acrylic paint. The acrobat is attached to the nail using clear acrylic powder.

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