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Get Your Halloween Spirit Fingers Ready With These DIY Ghost And Coffin Nail Tutorials

by BUST Magazine

Whether you’re the type who plans their costume all year, or just likes a hint of Halloween, these bewitching designs will have you trick-or-treating in style. Read on for step-by-step instructions.


Get in the spirit with these adorable apparitions. A few swipes and circles (you’ll need a dotting tool and a toothpick) and you’ll be happily haunted.

ghost 40144

1. File your nails to a rounded shape. Prep for polish by buffing them and applying cuticle oil to your cuticles (remove with a cotton ball and nail polish remover). Apply a clear base coat (we used Zoya’s Naked Manicure Naked Base Coat).

2. Starting at the tip of the nail, carefully paint a ghost shape using white polish (such as Essie in Blanc); create the bottom of the ghost by swiping up with the polish brush, slightly above the cuticle, in uneven lengths.

3. Using the large end of a nail dotting tool (available online or at beauty supplies stores), apply three black circles for the eyes and mouth—with black polish (we used Essie’s Licorice).

4. With the small end of a nail dotting tool, apply two circles in white polish overlapping the eyes to create a crescent shape.

5. Create the pupils by dotting a toothpick dipped in black polish over the white circles.

6. Seal your design with a coat of Seche Vite Top Coat. 

Design by Cassandre Banel, @cassmariebeauty

Dead Cool

Grab a detail brush and add a touch of gold to your matte-black claws—the last nail in the coffin never looked so good.

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1. File the very tip of each nail to a straight edge, creating the top of the coffin, then buff your nails and apply cuticle oil. Wipe clean with a cotton ball and polish remover. Apply a clear base coat.

2. Apply two coats of black polish (such as Essie’s Licorice).

3. Cover with a matte top coat (we used O.P.I.’s Matte Top Coat).

4. Using a fine detail brush, outline the shape of the nail in six straight symmetrical strokes with gold nail polish (such as O.P.I. polish in Glitzerland). Then draw a tiny cross in the top center of each nail. Design by Park Eun Kyung, owner of Unistella

Nail art by Mabelyn Martin
Instructions written by Madeleine Underwood
Photographed by Tayler Smith
Model: Courtney Bissonette
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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