How to Do Monarch Butterfly Nails

Butterfly wings make a cheerful nail design.
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Even in the middle of winter, you can add a bit of springtime to your day with a set of monarch butterfly wing nails. This black, white and orange nail design is striking enough for late-night parties and dates but tame enough to wear to class in the morning.

Paint each of your nails with a bright yellow or yellow-orange nail polish. Apply two coats of polish for even coverage. Wait for the polish to dry.

Apply a few drops of orange nail polish to a makeup sponge. Press the sponge down a few times in the center of each nail until the color is as dark as you want. This sponging process makes the orange polish look like it's fading into the yellow polish. Wait for the orange polish to dry.

Apply several drops of red or red-orange polish to a clean makeup sponge. Dab the tips of your nails with the sponge a few times. When you're finished, the red polish should fade into the orange color below it. Allow this coat to dry.

Use a nail pen or thin-tipped brush to draw the butterfly wing pattern. Paint a black arced line starting from the center of your cuticle to about halfway up the side of the nail.

Paint black angled lines extending from the arc you just made almost to the tip of your nail. Paint arcs between the tops of the lines to connect them.

Paint the tips of your nails black. Use a thin-tipped brush to avoid painting over the wing design. Let the black polish dry.

Paint white dots over the black nail tips using a dotting tool. Make the dots different sizes for a more realistic look. Wait for the dots to dry.

Cover the butterfly design with a clear top-coat polish and then let it dry.

  • If you don't have time or don't want to do a gradient design, you can just paint your nails orange and apply the wing design over it.
  • For a whimsical look, paint a coat of clear glitter polish over your butterfly design. Your butterfly nails will sparkle in the light.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.