My girls and I have a bit of mermaid fever, and today I’m sharing how to do a Mermaid Manicure. We created our own mermaid tail stencils using the universal mermaid scales stencil, a Cricut craft cutting machine, and my Mermaid Scales SVG stencil available in the Supermom Co-Op or as part of the Fresh Cuts Mermaid SVG Bundle.
If you’re not sure what an SVG file is, check out this post where I showed my hand-lettered “I Believe in Mermaids” design.
I have included two different sizes of Mermaid scales, the larger one is what I to create the Mermaid Temporary Tattoo shown on Attalie’s hands. The smaller scales can be used to make a stencil perfectly sized for painting Mermaid Nails!
How to do a Mermaid Manicure
To paint your mermaid nails you’ll first need to cutout the DIY Mermaid scales stencil using your cutting machine. I prefer the Cricut Maker. Upload the smaller Mermaid Scales Stencil SVG File (available in the Supermom Co-op or Fresh Cuts Mermaid SVG Bundle) to Cricut Design Space, then add it to a new Project. Resize the stencil to fit the nails you’ll be doing. Measure the width of the nails and add about a quarter-inch of flex space. I cut out five copies of the stencils, and I had plenty to do the finger nails on both of my daughters. I was able to reuse the same stencil for 3-4 nails before it was worn out.
After resizing and duplicating the design, hit the green “Make It” button to send the project to the Cricut machine. Place your vinyl on a Light Grip Mat then load into your Cricut cutting machine once you’re prompted. The Cricut interface will guide you through the whole cutting process, but don’t worry, it’s easy. This design is pretty intricate so it will take a while to cut out — aren’t you glad you don’t have to do it by hand?! ;)
Once your cut is completed, weed out the excess vinyl (I like to use this Cricut tool which looks like a dentist’s scaler).
How to Paint Mermaid Nails
First paint a base of a light color like gray, white, silver or gold. Let this base coat dry thoroughly before placing the stencil over the top. You’ll need to rub the stencil down especially around the edges of the nail where it bends.
We used a mixture of nail polish colors to create a sort of ombre or gradient effect. Mix your desired nail polish colors on a disposable plate. I like to use a sturdy Chinet® Cut Crystal® dinner plate, but a plastic-coated paper plate would also work. (You don’t want to do this on paper as the nail polish will absorb into the surface and dry too quickly.)
Next I used an old makeup blender sponge to dab the nail polish onto the stencil-covered nail. I cut the sponges into smaller pieces because I end up throwing the sponge piece away because the nail polish hardens it.
Peel back the stencil to reveal your mermaid manicure! Don’t worry if some of the nail polish ends up on the skin around your nail, use a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover to take off any excess. Finish with a clear or iridescent top coat.
How to Make a Temporary Mermaid Tattoo Stencil
Mermaid Nails are pretty cool but transforming your entire hand with a temporary Mermaid tattoo is the perfect way to complete your Mermaid Manicure!
First you’ll need to cutout the larger DIY Mermaid scales stencil (I used my Cricut Maker). Upload the larger Mermaid Scales Stencil SVG File (available in the Supermom Co-op or Fresh Cuts Mermaid SVG Bundle) to Cricut Design Space, then add it to a new Project. Resize the stencil to fit your hand. I was able to reuse the same stencil for both hands.
After resizing, hit the green “Make It” button to send the project to the Cricut machine. Place your vinyl on a Light Grip Mat then load into your Cricut cutting machine once you’re prompted. The Cricut interface will guide you through the whole cutting process.
The cutting takes some time, so apply lotion to your hands while you wait. The stencil will work better and the nail polish will look nicer on well-hydrated skin.
How to Make a Mermaid Temporary Tattoo
Next place your larger mermaid scales stencil onto the top of a well-moisturized hand. Make sure the scales are going the same direction as you did on the nails. Press the stencil down firmly. Mix the paint on the plastic plate much as you did for the nails. You might want to check that you nail polish is non-toxic and skin safe, and most nail polish is safe, since it frequently gets onto skin. If you want to do a mermaid tattoo on a sensitive area like your face (or if the idea of using nail polish on skin makes you uncomfortable) you can also use eye shadow, which would just be less durable and prone to smudging.
If you want to do a mermaid tattoo on a sensitive area like your face, you can also use eye shadow.
We used a mixture of colors to create a sort of ombre or gradient effect. Mix your colors on a disposable plate. I like to use a sturdy Chinet® Cut Crystal® dinner plate, but a plastic-coated paper plate would also work. (don’t use paper because the color will dry too quickly.)
Next I used an old makeup blender sponge (cut into smaller pieces) to dab the nail polish onto the stencil-covered hand. Remove the stencil to reveal your Mermaid Scales!
If you want to cover a larger area, you can reposition and reapply the stencil, making sure to line up the scales.
The nail polish Mermaid Tattoo will gradually rub off. Our Mermaid Manicure lasted about 2-3 days. Of course, you can use nail polish remover to clean off any traces that get left behind as you transform from mermaid back into a human ;)
About the author
Bettijo is the founder and designer of Paging Supermom where she shares what she's dreamed up for family fun. Known for practical and kid-friendly activities, free printables and simple ideas for holidays. She is a single mom of three girls and one boy. Bettijo was a guest on the Martha Stewart Show and has frequently appeared on local television. Her work has also been featured in national magazines including Real Simple, O, Redbook, Parents, Family Circle, and Health. During quieter moments, she enjoys art, retro-modern design, photography and making new things. Bettijo lives with her four kiddos in Phoenix, Arizona.