How-To: Día de los Muertos Nail Art

Learn how to create Dia de los Muertos nail art from Jasmine Allen.
Learn how to create Dia de los Muertos nail art from Jasmine Allen.
Courtesy of Jasmine Allen

Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a festive celebration that originates from ancient Mexico in which families honor their deceased relatives. 

An iconic symbol of this holiday is a calavera, a representation of a human skull or skeleton. The term is often applied to edible or decorative skulls made from either sugar or clay. 

In honor of the occasion, we asked San Antonio, Texas-based nail artist Jasmine Allen to share her Día de los Muertos nail art tutorial, featuring calavera nail art. Follow the step-by-step tutorial to bring this gorgeous look to life. 


The first half of the steps of Jasmine Allen's nail art tutorial.The first half of the steps of Jasmine Allen's nail art tutorial.

  1. Apply two coats of gel polish, then cure.
  2. Lightly dip a double-sided eyeshadow sponge in white gel paint, then lightly pat onto the nail into the shape of a skull. Cure. Outline the skull using white gel paint, and cure once more.
  3. Apply large black dots for the eye sockets. Apply two smaller black dots below, leaving some space between for the nose. Don't cure just yet. 
  4. Paint the nose and jawline using a liner brush. Add small lines around the eyes, forehead and nose using a thin striper brush and black gel paint. 
  5. Paint side-by-side ovals for the teeth using a thin striper brush. Cure. For thin and precise lines, Allen recommends applying less paint with minimum pressure. A colorful crown of roses completes the nail art.A colorful crown of roses completes the nail art.
  6. Outline the underside of the teeth with black gel paint, and add small lines around the mouth to form the chin. Cure.
  7. Add large red dots near the top of the skull. Cure. Outline the red dots with black gel paint, then add small swirls inside the dots. Cure once more.
  8. Add more white gel paint sporadically onto the entire skull using a liner brush. Avoid any black details. Add small dots directly onto the teeth using a small dotting tool and white gel paint. Cure.
  9. Apply an assortment of colors to the skull using a double-sided eyeshadow sponge. Cure.
  10. Finish with a non-wipe matte top coat, then cure.

All images courtesy of Jasmine Allen.

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