Andersen’s {The Toad} Nail Art Tutorial

Hello my Beauties,

hope you’re enjoying your weekend by wrapping some gifts, while listening to Christmas carols.

I stocked up on several winter candles, like Christmas Garland and Mandarin Cranberry by Yankee Candle, which help me to create a cozy feeling in the room, so i can concentrate on the important things, like glitter, bows & cards.
What about you? How are you getting into the holiday mood these days?

Today i’ve invited the lovely Monica to show us another step by step nail art tutorial, which is going to be part of the Hans Christian Andersen inspired nail designs here on Beauty expression. 
If you’ve missed the previous posts, take a look at The Beetle Who Went On His TravelsSnow QueenThe Brave Tin SoldierThe Red Shoes and the very first one The Snail and the Rose-Tree.

Let’s see what the blogger behind The Rite of Aging Early has for us:
The Toad nail art tutorial

Hello everyone!

I am Monica, the blogger behind The Rite of Aging…Early. I am thrilled to guest-post for Luchessa in this year’s Hans Christian Andersen series!

I had read only a few of Andersen’s stories so I was not very familiar with his fairy tales. I read through a few, noting themes I could use in nail art. I have rheumatoid arthritis so I create more abstract looks, using techniques that are easy on the wrists and fingers.

I loved “The Toad”, a story about a very ugly toad who dreamt of experiencing the world outside her dark water well. I, myself, like to travel and experience new cultures. I believe we are always capable of learning more and consistently setting/achieving goals; no matter who we are or where we come from.

This is an interesting story. As with most true “fairy tales”, there is a hint of dark humor. I finished this story, convinced I would not settle for what I have but always to work harder to better myself. I also thought be careful what I wish for because it may seem like fun and games until I’m eaten by a stork! Either way, life is not worth living without a little risk, right? To read the full story, click (here).

Scroll down for a tutorial on this look! I hope you like it!


DSCF1579_fotorThe toads live at the bottom of a dark water well. They are content living in their safe environment totally separated from the world around them. However, one of them has a jewel in their head. I started with a dark blue (my pick: Wet n Wild‘s Blue Moon) and a holographic top coat (INM Northern Lights in Silver) as my base to mimic the dark yet shimmery depths.

Let the top coat dry completely before going on to the next step because…
DSCF1613_fotor_fotor…We are Picasso-swirling (I used a toothpick for this step)!

I wanted to reflect the well water in a couple of nails. I added lighter blues for color depth. This second step is going to get messy so do not worry about polish on the cuticles! I placed a few drops of lighter polishes (my picks: Pahlish Le Bijou du Roi, Urban Outfitters Blue Velvet, Milani Peacock) on the middle and ring fingers. I waited 15-20 seconds before dragging a toothpick straight from one side to the other. For a more textured/3D appearance, I added more polish dots and dragged the toothpick until I was happy with the final result.

Just a note: I dragged my toothpick in the same direction, otherwise the unset polish clumped and dragged. I dragged the color right into my cuticles to ensure the texture reached the sides.



The sun only reaches parts of the well, since wells hold stagnant water it is only fitting there is algae growth.

I used a sea foam green (my pick: Color Club Twiggie) for contrast. For the distressed look, I wiped the brush on the edge of the bottle until there was barely any polish. I dragged it gently across the higher points on the middle and ring finger and sideways on the index and pinky ones. I used the same technique with the navy blue on the pinky finger.

Do not forget to apply top coat to the index and pinky finger after you are done. Make sure to let the pinky finger dry completely because…


DSCF1634_fotor_fotorWe are water-coloring (I used pure acetone and a artist’s brush for this step)!

When sun shines down into the well the ugly toad knows there is life outside her home. She dreams of reaching the surface and exploring whatever the world has to offer. She wants to travel to Egypt, she wants to explore the skies. The sun represents the toad’s longing for more.

I started with a thick coat of yellow at the cuticles (my pick: Color Club Almost Famous). I saturated my paintbrush in acetone and diluted the color drops down towards the nail tips. I also used a large amount of gold (Zoya Goldie) for added shine.



This nail art would not make a whole lot of sense without the toad, would it? On the index finger, representing the lowest point of the well, or the farthest from the sun, sits the frog.

I used a small detail brush and a green polish (my pick: Sephora by OPI It’s Totally Karma) to create a half-moon on half the nail towards the tip. I also added two small bumps on the top for the eye sockets. I used a white polish as the eyeballs in the center of the target and a dark blue for the pupils and nostrils. I used acetone to water down a brown to apply splotches across the skin. After all, this toad is ugly.


DSCF1670_fotorIt turns out the toad had the jewel all along. It was not a gemstone or worth a lot of gold. It was a feeling, an urge to better the toad’s self. She was not content living her mundane life. She wanted to see the world, she wanted adventure. Of course, as any good fairy tale ends, the toad gets eaten but before she died she experienced the “more”.

I used a shimmer-y red and a dotting tool (a toothpick works just as well) to apply the jewel to the toad’s head. I also applied “jewels” to the sun because the sun represents reaching for the stars.

Finish with top coat over the pinky and index finger and you’re done!


What do you think, my Beauties? I find that “dragging technique” quite interesting and will try it out myself some time soon. It does create a very artsy look on the nails.

If you’d like to see more of Monica’s creations, you can find her on Instagram – monicaattheriteofaging.

Stay tuned for the next design.