Adorned Nails: Conservative Colour Blocking

For a long time, I had been meaning to do some nail art revolving around Mondrian's artwork. The white background, the clean lines and the red, blue and yellow. Plain and simple.

And then, I read that colour blocking was/is experiencing a revival in the world of fashion and beauty and I still hadn't done my Mondrian nails. Sigh! The reasons: (1) I didn't have the time. (2) I didn't have a yellow crème polish (and refused to go out to buy a bottle just for this manicure, never to use it ever again after that). (3) I found out that Mondrian manicures are nothing new - they've been done, done and done before.

So, I shelved the idea of doing a Mondrian nail art theme and decided to do a variation of it. Mondrian-inspired conservative colour blocking, is probably the best way to describe this. It's conservative as it uses only black, white, grey and red.

These were the nail polishes that I used:

Grey: KOH - Playful
Red: Alessandro Stiletto - No. 21
White: Herôme - Ottawa
Black: Arcancil - Arrogant Black

I also used a base coat and a top coat for this manicure (not shown).

I've worn this look twice, once with the colour blocking on just the ring fingers and another time on all nails. I thought I'd show step-by-step how I got this look. I freehanded all the way. Tapes and such just never work on me (they hate me!). Just as with normal nail polishing, it's best to rest both your hands on the table when doing this. I have unsteady hands, so please excuse any imperfect lines.

You would of course need to wait at least five minutes between each coat/step.

1. Apply base coat.
2. Apply 2 or 3 coats of the grey polish as the base colour.

3. Apply in one sure stroke (length-wise) the red polish on a little more than one-third of the nail.

L: Just applied; R: Cleaned up

4. Apply the white polish from the red border to the side of the nail. Don't worry if it's messy. The black lines will hide the faults.

L: Just applied; R: Partially cleaned up

5. Use a fine brush to draw the black lines. I borrowed the brush from one of the Essence Nail Art Tip Painter bottles.

Draw the two short lines to enclose the white rectangle. Then, draw the lengthwise line that separates the red from the other colours.

L: Just applied; R: Cleaned up

6. For the thick black French tip, apply the black polish in a few strokes in the direction of the nail tip (ie. not side-to-side).

7. Apply a clear glossy top coat, clean up the sides and you're done.

More nail and outfit photos over at Witoxichic.


나니 said...

I love the base color.. and omg your clean-up is flawless O_O"

Amber said...

This is so pretty and unique. I love it :)

sugar sugar said...

thanks for the tutorial doll! :)

Paulina said...

i like the mani, very creative!

Anonymous said...

I love it! The colors really stand out and they match your pretty sexy dress. You look gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, elegant mani, very subtle kind of "Mondrian" look. Thanks for the tutorial my dear. Very good combo with the grey dress.Take care, Nicole x

Raey said...

Wow thats just amazing!! It looks like it has taken a lot of effort & patience but the result is brilliant!! Love it <3

Adis said...

OoooOOooh! Conservatively colourful!
And you know, this actually looks like something I could do :). Thanks for the instructions and inspiration, I think I'll try it with some greens and silver holo :D!

BlackCherry said...

This looks amazing! I love the first pic, I think painting all nails is a bit saturated, although the set color matches perfectly. Your tut is so precise, as always. Thanks.

nail crazy said...

cool, i love it :-D

Anutka said...

This is a great tutorial!!!
Thanks so much for sharing. I love it :)

I tagged you for the Kreativ Blogger Award
Check it out on my blog at

Anutka :)

Witoxicity said...

Thanks. Well, I'm sure you can do the same with the clean-up if you have the right tools. I wrote an article on how I do it, using the Essence Nail Polish Corrector Pen. You can read it here if you are interested. :)

Thank you, Amber. I'm glad to hear that. :)

@sugar sugar
My pleasure, sugar. :)

Why, thank you, Paulina. :)

Heh heh! Thanks, my dear. Sexy?! [turns around to look for the other girl] ;D

Thank you, Nicole! There's a lot of matchy-matchy going on here but at least they're not garish colours. :D

Oh, yay, I'm so glad you love this, Raey! The 'painting' part didn't take too long. It was the waiting (for each of the polishes to dry) that was time-consuming. :)

Hee hee! Of course you can do this, my dear! If I, an artistically-challenged mortal with shakey hands can do this, then anyone can too (said with all seriousness). Ooh, colour blocking with silver holo and greens? Holographic colour blocking sounds darned good to me! :D

The pleasure's all mine, BlackCherry. Thank you for your kind words. Well, everyone has different tastes, so it was a good thing that I showed both the single-nail and the all-nail version. :)

@nail crazy
Thanks! :)

You're welcome, Anutka. I'm pleased you like this.

Thank you very much for the award. I appreciate it very much, Anutka. I've done a similar tag twice before, so if you have the time, do have a read (please see sidebar). :)

Tales for Little Bun said...

Hello gorgeous lady. I've been very remiss with my comments and visits lately. *Humble Apologies*. But I see your blogs show no sign of slowing down. You look amazing. Loving your nails. Stunning xx

Witoxicity said...

@Tale For Little Bun
Hello Gorgeous Pregnant Lady! No worries about visits and comments. I do realise that priorities would dramatically change when one is preparing to welcome another human being into the world. Heavy responsibilities there! But that doesn't mean that you're not missed here, my friend. I'm glad that all is well with you. And thanks so much for your lovely words! :)

Cynthia Z said...

WOW...WOW! I'm spellbound (c.c)


Witoxicity said...

I take it that you like this one. Thanks, Cynthia. :)

Aarthi said...

Cool and Stunning !!!!!

Gail said...

Ah just read this and seen it was intended as Mondrian duh! I love it. OK so you made it look easy... hmm well wish me luck! x

Adis said...

Lol well, yours looks a whole bunch neater than mine :D. I did it with Catrice 'Sold out forever', Koh 'Playful', Koh 'Platinum silver' and an Essence silver tip painter. I wanted to add Catrice 'Run forest run' to it, but I didn't because I've already had two nails in that colour :x. Oh and I only did it on one nail because I wanted more colours on my nails :D! (I've been buying more polishes than I can wear every day...)
I'll take pictures of this weird manicure I have going on when I can get my hands on a camera :).

Witoxicity said...

Thank you, Aarthi! :)

Thanks, Gail! I'm glad you like this one. It's Mondrian-esque, minus the bold colours. It's probably more work-friendly this way. Good luck with yours but in all honesty, you don't need luck. You're so talented and artistic, Gail, and you paint! I bet you can even paint with your eyes closed. :)

Oh, I see you're making an effort to use all your polishes in the hopes that you will finish these bottles of polishes in this lifetime. Now, that's what I call commitment/dedication/perserverance! Hey, you can also paint your toenails. :D Anyway, I'm trying to imagine your current silver-mint green mani. It must be a very calming and rainbow-ish colour blocking look. :)

Adis said...

Well, someone has to :D! I could do that, but no one would see them :(. And they're tiny :x. So I can't do anything cool with them XD;.

Anyway, here you go:
I hope you can see those pictures :).
Thumb: Gosh 'fix base', Catrice 'Run forest run', Dior 'Rock coat', OPI 'Top coat'.
Index: Gosh 'fix base', Catrice 'Run forest run', Golden Rose 'Scale effect 11', OPI 'Top coat'.
Middle: Gosh 'fix base', Catrice 'Sold out forever', Koh 'Platinum silver', Koh 'Playful', Essence 'Silver tip painter', OPI 'Top coat'.
Ring: Gosh 'fix base', Koh 'Playful', OPI 'Top coat'.
Pinky: Gosh 'fix base', Koh 'Platinum silver', OPI 'Top coat'.

Hope you like it! Glad I took a picture because I'm pretty sure it'll go blah after pool training :p.

Lolipop said...

Thanks a lot for this great tutorial, I LOVE this one, it's so classy =D

Vonvon said...

Wow!! That is lovely! And you really have lots of patience to do that!

I would spend my time doing that if I don't have to do any housework for the next 72 hours after doing such nail art. Or else, whatever polish I put on, no matter how chip-resistant would just go to waste. All the washing and cleaning would wipe them out before I could click the publish button for this comment. ;)

Think you get what I mean!

But again, the color-blocking is lovely, and very contemporary!

Nikki said...

Erg mooi gedaan. Ik ga ook zoiets proberen, leuk idee.

Witoxicity said...

Thanks, Aarthi! :)

Hey, the pleasure's all mine, Lolipop! I'm so glad you love this. I hope you'll give this one a try. :)

Oh yes, I know what you mean. I wouldn't have done this if I knew I was going to be doing a whole lot of housework in the following few days. It would have been a waste of effort.

This took quite a long time but it was more from waiting for the different layers to dry than anything else. I just watched TV while waiting. Haha! Anyway, I'm pleased you like this, Vonvon. Thanks. :)

Dank je wel, Nikki! Leuk dat je zoiets gaat proberen. Succes ermee! :)

Witoxicity said...

[Delayed reply after Blogger returned the missing comments]
Thanks for sharing the pics, Adis. Totally Skittles! :D I like your own twist on the nail with colour blocking. Oh, btw, your nails look fine to me. They do not look like "little stumps of death" as you were calling them the other day. :)

erika said...

gorgeous! how do you paint your nails like that? I can do that on my left hand but i'm crap when it comes to using my left hand to apply nail polish :(

Witoxicity said...

Thank you, Erika! I have the same issues like you do but (1) resting both your arms on the table while polishing helps to steady the hands, and (2) any mess can be cleaned up with, for example, a corrector pen. The one I use is the Essence Nail Polish Corrector Pencil. I wrote a post on it back in January, so do have a read when you have the time. :)