So during my days at school and still whenever I’ve a pen in hand, I find myself doodling randomness into notebooks, scrap paper and public table tops. That is, of course, when I”ve not got a pot of polish in hand to paint nails with.

Well, recently my two loves were combined when I decided to put pen onto ten tiny pages (my nails) instead. Here’s what I whiled away an hour of my life with:


Like my schoolgirl inkings?

Well, there’s a chance it’ll come at the price of your clean nails, which may become smudged semi-permanently with ink as mine did (took some scrubbing to rid my nails of small ink smudges). But who cares when you’re going to cover this over with polish anyway, right?

Here’s how to get the look:

1. Start by shaping nails for a neat, even look when finished. This will keep the DIY-icure looking polished (excuse the pun).

2. Next, apply a few layers (try 3) of a decent base coat – TRES important if you want to keep your nails stainless after. You might wish to apply a base colour to each nail also, but I chose to keep nails natural for a raw beauty take on textbook doodling.

3. Once dried, take a pen in any colour and get sketching. First check the pen is NOT permanent, just incase it does stain your nails. Forever.

4. Like me, vary patterns from nail to nail for a doodling-mad look, or stick with one design all over to keep things prim. You’ll notice that as the pen dries, some lines will fade – simply go over these areas until you reach the desired effect. Be careful not to smudge the pen as you’re intricate design will be ruined and you’ll have to start over (boo!) like I did (blimmin’ left-handed-ness!) a million times.

5. Once your inkings have dried onto your nails, go over with a clear top coat to seal in your designs and stop them from being washed away. If your pen seems to evaporate/smudge as you drag the polish brush over it, try ‘blobbing’ on a layer and then lightly spreading it to reduce smudging.

6. Finish with your choice of adorment or decoration – I chose to scribe my name in mulit pastels – et voila! Doodles you can admire all day, wherever you go :-)


To get the look, I used a simple ball point, black ink biro from Staples (, and a selection of nail varnish – Barry M’s Mint Green (shade 304), Berry (shade 308) and Lemon (shade 307), Sally Hansen’s Sheerly Opal in Natural White (no longer available, but there’ll definitely be a replacement white shade available from the brand), No 17′ High Gloss Nail Polish in Twilight Teaser (available at, and a clear nail varnish I’ve had for years (label has worn off so I don’t even know the brand!)

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