Tribal Style Beaded Design

The Masai Mara is a place forever etched in my memory from watching the movie, Out of Africa, many, many times. It is a beautiful place with breathtaking views and abundant wildlife. The Maasai tribe inhabit that area of Kenya and I found a beaded bracelet fashioned in their style to use as my inspiration for the 16th design in the #31DC2013.

While the national reservation in Kenya brings awe and wonder; my nails…well…let’s say it was typical of one’s first experience doing something new. Read on to see the bracelets and the details behind this nail design.


To mimic the beaded bracelet, I wanted to use a dotting tool to create lumpy placement of color. But now that winter is here, along with dry indoor heating, nail polish dries up way too fast to do this much dotting. (Yes, I spent time finding just the right combinations of creme polishes and trying to practice dotting with them before accepting this fact.)


So – that assortment package of acrylic paints bought a while ago, was opened. And I took the plunge to begin to find out about using acrylics with nail designs. To jump start my confidence, I re-watched a few basic videos from both Robin Moses and Leslie of found here and here respectively.


To create these, I started with a normal base coat and then one coat of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Whirlwind White. Once that was dry, I started doing the horizontal colors in white, black and blue leaving a large gap in the middle for the vertical striped colors. Using light blue, red, orange, green, yellow and white I filled in each nail. The last thing I did was use some grey to mimic the wire holding the bracelet’s shape on my index and ring fingers (it came out too thick – should’ve used a brush).


In hindsight, I should have done each strand of color (from top to bottom of my nails) to help line up the tiny dots. But I am glad I stuck to using a dotting tool rather than a brush as that gave as best impression of beads as possible on a flat surface. I only put one coat of topcoat over the design to seal it in which kept the bumpy feel I was looking for.

Out of context, my nails looked like I gave a young child a bunch of sharpies to color in my nails. But, with the bracelet in mind, I was fairly pleased with myself and learned a few things from the experience. As is the case a lot lately, I left lots of room for improvement too.


Materials Used:
White nail polish, acrylic paints, and a small dotting tool.
Inspiration Sources: This beaded bracelet in Maasai tribal style found online here.
And, the “31 Design Challenge” (more info in my previous post here)
courtesy of Chalkboard Nails
I am now officially half way through the challenge and I’ve got some ideas already for the remaining pattern designs, so I’m feeling pretty good about it at the moment. Although… I haven’t begun to think about the last group of “Inspired By…” designs. Got any suggestions for me?
Till next time,