3D nail art is three-dimensional artwork created on the fingernails. Typically, the design is created on acrylic, or fake, nails, which are then applied over the wearer’s natural fingernails. To create the designs, the artist adds colored acrylic to a mold using a paintbrush and waits for it to harden. Once the material is ready, the artist removes it from the mold and glues it to the fake fingernails. Non-acrylic options include gemstones and other materials small enough to glue onto the nails.
Flowers are one of the most common 3D nail art creations, and the petals and leaves stick up from the surface of the nail for a dramatic look. Many people choose to wear nail art simply because it looks different and attractive, although many use it for special formal occasions, like a wedding.
When designing the 3D piece, the artist starts with a colored background on the nail itself. This can be as simple as a clear coating for shine or a colorful coating with glitter for extra sparkle. The piece is added on top using a small amount of clear adhesive. Often, the 3D art is colorful and can be painted over with a clear or glitter top-coat of nail polish.
Nail art requires extra caution and care to avoid breaking the 3D creations off. While the pieces can be applied to real nails, they are often better suited to acrylics because the nails are stronger and longer, providing more room for the piece. When the wearer wants to apply the art herself, fake nails are much easier to work with than are her own fingernails. Nails can be pre-designed and sold to a customer, or the customer can pick the design before the nails are created.
Customers can receive 3D nail art treatments at professional nail salons or may choose to try the process at home. Treatment at a salon is typically more expensive than a standard manicure, and it be quite pricey, depending on the salon. The at-home cost varies widely depending on the cost of the chosen molds, acrylic material and supplies, and the fake nails. Nail art lessons and designs are available online for people who want to try this technique on their own.