Everyone’s going bananas over animal nail art! Take a walk on the wild side and try out some of the animal print nail art tutorials in this article. You can always find animal pictures to print online to copy or use for inspiration for nail art designs. Try leopard print nail art or zebra nail art or any of the other patterns here.

Let’s Take a Look On Some Animal Print Nail Arts

Tiger Stripes


Why not give tiger stripes a try on your nails? The picture above has used a stamping plate with a tiger stripe design over a gradient of red, orange and yellow. To recreate the animal print nail art above apply a sponge gradient of red, orange and yellow polishes over all your nails or simplify it by using just two colors of an orange-red and yellow instead. Perhaps you could try to use an orange and white gradient for the background. Once the gradient has dried you can use a stamping plate or try freehand tiger stripes in black. Don’t worry if your stripes aren’t exactly the same on every nail, because no two tigers are exactly alike and they have different stripe patterns.


Here we have tiger nail art done in a hot pink colour with freehand stripes. You can use a thin striping brush to create the black stripes or maybe even a black nail art pen. Play around with this look by using different colours if you like. You don’t have to keep to the animals natural colours for these nail art designs, but can create unique patterns using your favourite colours or colours that will match your clothes.

What You Need:

  1. Base Coat
  2. Top Coat
  3. 2 polish colours that stand out against each other (or more if you prefer)
  4. Thin striping brush or nail art pen
  5. Sponge (if doing a gradient)

Step by Step  Guide:

  1. Paint your nails with the base coat to protect them from staining and damage and to help stop your polish from chipping off. Allow the base coat to dry thoroughly.
  2. Paint your entire nail with one of your nail polish colors. This may take one to three coats depending on how it looks. At this point you may wish to do a multicolored  gradient for the background. Be sure this dries completely before starting the next step.
  3. Using a pen or thin striping brush add as many stripes as you wish. Be sure to make some stripes longer than others and thicker than others. You can always use a picture of a tiger for inspiration for creating the stripes. Wait for this to dry before adding the next step.
  4. Apply a top coat to prevent chipping.

Leopard Print


If tigers aren’t your thing, then try leopard print nail art instead. Again you can choose any colors you like to create this look. You don’t have to stick to actual leopard coat colors to create leopard nail art. In this picture tutorial they started with a sponge gradient, but you can leave the background color just one solid color if you wish.

What you Need:

  • Base Coat, Top Coat
  • Light polish color for background
  • Medium polish color for the dots
  • Dark polish color for the outer dot areas
  • Dotting tool of some sort and/or Thin striping brush
  • Sponge if doing a gradient

Step By Step Guide:

  • Here are the steps again for the Leopard nail art, if you find the picture hard to read:
  • Be sure to start with a base coat on all your nails to protect them and help prevent chipping of the polish. This is important to do every time you paint your nails.
  1. Paint your nails with the palest of your colour choices or cover them with a gradient as in the photo above. Allow this to dry.
  2. Use a dotting tool with your medium coloured polish to create random dots or blobs. These should be different sizes and shapes. Again, let this dry before starting the next step.
  3. Using a thing striping brush or smaller dotting tool create ‘c’ and ‘u’ shapes around the dots in your darkest colour. Leave gaps so the entire dot or blob is not surrounded.
  4. Repeat step 3 until all the dots or blobs are done.
  5. Add tiny specks to some of the blank areas between the blobs in your darkest colour. Let this dry.
  6. Once you are happy that your pattern is complete and thoroughly dry add a top coat.

Snake Skin Nail Art
If big cats aren’t your thing, then try this video tutorial for making snake skin animal print nail art:

Snake Skin Nail Art Tutorial

Fish Scale
Animal print nail art includes underwater creatures, too! A great design for summer is a fish scale or mermaid scale nail art look. Once again you can use a gradient for the scale colours or glitter polishes if you want to change up this look. This pattern is fabulous done in blues and greens and even purple coloured polishes. Try gold or silver or white to make the scale outlines. You can produce gorgeous looking nails using this pattern.

What you need:

  • Base Coat, Top Coat
  • One or more polishes in blues, greens, purples or glitters for background colour
  • Gold, silver or white polish for scale pattern
  • Thin striping brush
  • Sponge if doing a gradient

Step By Step Guide:
A. Apply base coat on all of your nails first. Allow this to dry.

  1. Apply your polish colour or colours for your background. This may be a gradient or even glitter polish if you wish. Allow this to dry completely.
  2. Use a thin striping brush to apply the scale pattern in your choice of colour. Create ‘u’ shapes that are attached to each other in a row. In the photo this is done using gold polish.
  3. Repeat step 2 in a row just below the first one. Be sure the second row is lined up so the top of the ‘u’ is touching the row above at the middle points of the ‘u’ above it. Each ‘u’ in the new row will appear to start and finish in the middle of the two ‘u’ patterns above it. (See the photo for a clearer understanding.)
  4. Repeat step 3 in the same way adding as many rows of scales you need to cover your entire nail. Once this is dry apply a top coat.

Tentacle Print Nail Art:
Keeping with an underwater theme, we go from fish to octopus, cuttlefish or squid. This tentacle pattern is a lot of fun and a big hit with the Anime crowd. Feel free to use any combination of colours you wish to produce these types of nail art designs. The instructions will be to copy the design exactly as the photo, but feel free to change the polish colours if you desire.

What you Need:

  • Base coat, Top coat
  • Orange polish for the background (or your own colour)
  • Dark Brown polish for the arms
  • Striping Brush
  • White and red polishes for the tentacles
  • Dotting tools of varying sizes

Step by Step Guide:
To recreating this tentacle styled animal print nail art:

  1. Apply base coat to all of your nails and let it dry.
  2. Cover your nails with the orange polish in 1 or 2 coats until you are happy with the results. Let this dry.
  3. Using the brown polish you can paint the arms for the base of the tentacles using a striping brush. To paint the arms start with a thick line at one end and make the arm thinner as you get closer to the end. Curl this arm as you paint it so that it is thicker on the outside of the nail and gets thinner as you curl in towards the centre. (See the photo above for ideas.)
  4. Once the brown polish has dried, apply white dots along the length of the arm. In the photo she has create two rows of tentacles along the length of each arm. Use the largest dots on the thickest part of the arm and create smaller and smaller dots along the length with the smallest dots at the ends. Let this dry.
  5. Using your red polish apply dots on top of the white dots along the arms. This red dot should be one size smaller than the white dots it goes on top of. This should be starting to have the appearance of tentacles. Do this for all the dots. Let this dry.
  6. Now apply white dots on top of the red dots. This second set of white dots should be one size smaller than the red dots. You should now have tentacles with white, red and white again to create the illusion of the suckers. Be sure to do all the dots this way and let this dry completely. **Be careful as many layers of polish can take a long time to dry and the top layers may dry faster than the ones underneath and could cause smudging of your polish.
  7. Apply your top coat over this and give it plenty of time to thoroughly dry.

Cowskin Print


Our animal print nail art now takes us to the farm. This design copies the black and white Jersey cowskin and is one of the more simple designs to create in this series.

What You Need:

  • Base Coat
  • White Polish
  • Black Polish
  • Top Coat

Step by Step Guide:

  1. Apply one coat of base coat to all your nails. Allow this to dry.
  2. Apply 2 to 3 layers of white nail polish to all of your nails until it is no longer streaky looking. Allow these to completely dry.
  3. Create different sizes of black irregular blobs on top of the white to create this design. Again, allow this ample time to dry thoroughly.
  4. Apply top coat over all of your nails and let it dry.

Giraffe Nails


We’ve returned back to the wild with this giraffe animal print nail art design. This look is similar to the cowskin, but the spots are a little closer together and more geometrical in shape.

What You Need:

  • Base coat
  • Yellow polish
  • Brown polish
  • A nail art brush
  • Top coat.

Step by Step Guide:

  1. Apply base coat to all your nails and let it dry.
  2. Cover all your nails with the yellow coloured polish using 1 to 2 coats for best coverage. Allow to dry completely.
  3. Carefully apply spots of the brown polish using your nail art brush. Be sure the spots vary in size and have straight edges. These spots are best with different numbers of sides. For instance, some may have 4 sides and others 5 or 6, whatever will fit in well together.
  4. When your polish is dry apply a layer of top coat.

Turtle Shell


This pattern may look familiar to you as it is the same as the giraffe design. The only difference for this animal print nail art is the colour of nail polishes used. Instead of using yellows and browns, a couple of greens have been used. The lighter green colour has been used for the background colour and a darker green for the shell pattern. To create this look, please follow the step by step guide for the giraffe nails, just replace the yellow with light green and brown with dark green polishes.

Zebra Nail Art
What you need:

  • Base coat
  • White and black polishes
  • Thin striping brush
  • Nail art pen
  • Top coat.

Step by Step Guide:


1. Cover your clean nails with base coat and let this dry.

2. Apply 1 to 3 coats of white nail polish until it looks good and give it time to dry.

3. Use a thin striping brush dipped in black polish or black nail art pen to create the zebra stripes.

4. Start by drawing your black stripe from edge in towards the centre of your nail.


5. Bring your next stripe in from the opposite side towards the middle of your nail.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have the number of stripes you want. Do this for all the nails you want this pattern on.
Once your polish has dried apply top coat.

7. Do any necessary clean up if you have made a mess on your surrounding skin. You know have zebra nail art.

This is a look that once again you can do using any colours you wish. You don’t have to stick to only using black and white.


This zebra nail art was used to create a gorgeous safari look with a khaki brown colour over all the nail and fun zebra pattern for the french tips. You could try any of the animal print nail art for french tips if you desire.


You can always mix and match with animal print nail art! Try this fun look or perhaps try mixing up the underwater animal nail art. For the best inspiration and to copy the skins find animal pictures to print online. It can help when you have an image to copy. Go wild and give all these animal print nail art designs a try!


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