Mermaid Magic: Mermaid Nail Art for Summer

As the warm weather rolls in, it’s time to get creative with fun and colorful nail art designs. This summer, channel your inner mermaid and create magical manicures inspired by the mysteries of the deep blue sea. Mermaids are having a major moment right now, with films like Aquaman and shows like Mako Mermaids captivating audiences. Capture that whimsical, nautical spirit with unique nails that make a splash.

Get Inspired By Mermaid Scales

mermaid nail art

One of the most iconic parts of a mermaid’s look is her colorful, iridescent tail covered in scales. These shiny scales reflect light and seem to change color right before your eyes. Recreate the look on your nails by using nail polish or gel in shades like turquoise, seafoam green, teal, bright blue, and metallic lavender. Apply polish in layers, alternating colors and finishes, to mimic the look of overlapping scales. Try using a sponge gradient to blend the colors from light to dark for an ombre look. Top it off with a scattering of iridescent glitter, mica powder, or crushed glitter nail polish for dazzling dimension.

Go for a Simple Scaled Accent Nail

mermaid scale accent nail

If you want to keep your manicure more low-key, just do an accent mermaid scale nail on one or two fingers. Paint the base nail a sea green or teal shade, then use a small brush dipped in a contrasting color like purple, blue, or silver to paint on delicate scales in a curved pattern radiating out from the cuticle. Finish with a coat of glossy top coat to smooth it all out and make those scales shine.

Channel Your Inner Siren With Metallic Hues

metallic mermaid nails

Sultry metallic nail polish provides the perfect shimmery backdrop for a mermaid mani. Paint all nails in a range of metallic shades like rose gold, silver, gunmetal, bronze, and metallic teal. Then use acrylic paint pens, striping tape, or press-on nail decals to add touches like delicate fish scales, bubbles, seashells, starfish, sand dollars, and seaweed accents. The light will dance off the metallic polish, evoking visions of sunken treasure and allure.

Incorporate Oceanic Accents

ocean mermaid nails

Make your metallic mermaid mani more ocean-themed by accenting it with 3D appliques or charms shaped like starfish, seashells, pearls, or coral pieces. Affix them at the base of the nail with a dab of clear nail glue. You can also paint on designs like bubbles, seashells, or sea creatures with acrylic paint. Even just adding a scattering of microbeads in aqua or iridescent shades will transport your look underwater.

Go for Triton’s Treasures with Bejeweled Nails

bejeweled mermaid nails

If King Triton was your dad, you’d have access to treasures like no other. Get that princely mermaid look by bedazzling your nails with glitter, rhinestones, pearls, and foil. Paint your base color in shimmery mermaid shades, then embellish away. Use pearls or iridescent rhinestones to create abstract scale patterns, checkerboard designs, or gradients. Tiny starfish rhinestones also add a whimsical ocean vibe. Foil seals the deal, reflecting light just like fish scales would underwater.

Incorporate Nautical Looks with Rope, Anchors, and More

nautical mermaid nails

You can also give your bejeweled mermaid nails a nautical vibe with accents like faux rope, anchors, compasses, ships wheels, and stripes. Use striping tape to create vertical stripes in contrasting colors. Paint a miniature anchor or compass symbol on one nail. Tiny faux rope wraps give a chic, beachy look. Drawing or stamping on horizontal lines can evoke the deck of a ship.

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Make a Splash with Water Marbled Nails

water marbled mermaid nails

One fun technique that results in a mesmerizing finish is water marbling. Assemble an array of shimmery polish shades in mermaid colors. Fill a cup with room temperature water and drop in dots of each color. Use a toothpick to swirl the polish around, creating flower-like patterns. Then dip each nail into the design. The water marble effect resembles a gorgeous lagoon with swirls of color. Top with glossy top coat to seal in the design.

Experiment with Different Color Combos

colorful mermaid nails

The great thing about water marbling is you can create endless variations by mixing up the polish colors you use. Try a bright combo like teal, fuchsia, purple, and lime green for a playful pop art vibe. Go for an edgier look with blacks, grays, and blood orange. Stick to similar cooler or warmer shades like all blues and greens or pinks and corals. The options are endless so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Design Your Own Custom Mermaid Tail Polish

mermaid tail nails

For the ultimate mermaid mani, paint each nail like it’s a tiny mermaid tail! Start by painting the base of the nail a scaly teal shade. Then use the tip to blend upwards through turquoise, seafoam, and finally end with purple or pink for a fiery ombre effect. You can freehand an uneven blend, or prep with painters tape to create a crisp gradient border. Use a small brush to add tons of iridescent glitter and shimmer to emulate scales. Tiny rhinestones blend the shades together seamlessly while adding dimension. Top with glossy top coat for a wet, just-emerged-from-the-water look.

Make Waves with Oceanic Holographic Nail Polish

holographic mermaid nails

Holographic polish contains tiny particles that reflect rainbow light for a magical, chromatic effect. When applied to the nails it looks like flashes of color dancing across the surface. Choose holographic shades in cool tones like seafoam, teal, periwinkle, and sky blue to mimic the way sunlight filters through ocean waves and pools on the seabed. Painting all nails in the same hue creates a mesmerizing underwater feel. Or paint different fingers in alternating hues for a visually stunning mani.

Layer Holographic Tops Over Cremes for Dimension

holographic mermaid nail dimension

You can also use holographic polishes as showstopping topcoats layered over mermaid-colored creme polishes. The holographic effect adds so much depth and flashes of colorful light. Try doing an accent nail or just the tips in the holographic to keep the mani more understated. It adds that perfect mermaid shimmer!


This summer, unleash your creativity and channel aquatic magic through your nail art. Whether you opt for glittering fish scale designs, ombre metallic hues, or holographic shine, a mermaid-inspired mani is a stylish way to evoke visions of sea sirens and nautical enchantment. Have fun getting your nails did and see where the tides of inspiration carry you. Just be prepared for endless compliments and questions about how you achieved such mesmerizing works of art on your fingertips!


What colors work best for mermaid nails?

The best colors for mermaid nails are shades like sea green, teal, turquoise, shades of blue, purple, seafoam green, metallic tones, and iridescent glitter.

What nail art tools do I need?

Useful nail art tools include small striping brushes, dotting tools, acrylic paint pens, top coat, nail glue, rhinestones, glitter, striping tape, and water for water marbling.

How do I seal in nail art?

Apply a glossy top coat over finished nail art to seal in the design. This prevents chipping and smearing while adding shine.

What nail shapes work best?

Almond, square, squoval, and coffin shaped tips provide the best canvas for showcasing mermaid nail art.

How can I remove mermaid nail art?

Use pure acetone nail polish remover and cotton balls to safely dissolve and wipe away gel, regular polish, and embellishments like glitter or rhinestones.

Kimberly J West
Kimberly J West is an experienced SEO writer and copywriter with a passion for nail art and a love for house plants. With five years of experience, she combines her writing expertise with her creative spirit at Contact Kimberly at for collaborations and inquiries about her writing services.