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Sink Your Claws into DIY Stiletto Manicures

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The claw trend shows no signs of dying out, and we’re fine with that. Claws (aka stiletto nails) are one part Morticia-sexy, one part wicked-witchy, and one part she-wolfy. Say what you will about the impracticality of stilettos– there’s something empowering about literally having a fist full of weapons.

Most claws are gel or acrylic nails applied by nail techs at salons, but those aren’t an option for everyone. So if you’re coveting claws but don’t want to visit a salon to get them, keep reading for some DIY options.

Option 1: Pick Up Some Fancy Premades

To start, there’s a booming trade in pre-shaped, pre-painted stilettos that you can purchase and wear. Attach with nail glue or double-sided tape made for manicures, available in the nail care section of most big box and beauty stores. Properly applied, these falsies can last for up to two weeks (depending on how rough you are on ’em). These can be a godsend for those having trouble growing out their natural nails, or for those who just want to be Vampira for the weekend. Here’s a few of our favorite places to find these quick-change mani helpers.

Never Too Much Glitter


Photos courtesy of Never Too Much Glitter.

Never Too Much Glitter’s Etsy shop offers a load of styles including plain color stilettos (aka “blank canvases for your DIY sorcery”), nails covered in spikes and studs, finishes that change color when the temperature shifts, short styles for those not into claws, and more. Never Too Much Glitter//Prices start at $9

Ritual Nail Designs


Photos courtesy of Ritual Nail Designs.

The claws over at Ritual Nail Designs are the stuff of our witchy little dreams. Tons of stiletto styles and colors, as well as coffin shaped nails (is this the next trend?). There’s glitter, stripes, and pentacles. Yum. Ritual Nail Designs//Prices start at $10.95

Dippy Cow Nails


Photos courtesy of Dippy Cow Nails.

For all that their name doesn’t sound darkling-friendly, Dippy Cow Nails has an astounding array of spoopy styles. They offer a ton of shapes and lengths, too. From eyeballs and brains for the gore queens, moons and pentacles for the witch sisters, or ultra long’n’pointy claws with Edward Scissorhands on them, there’s something for every sort of midnight mistress. Even if you aren’t into false nails, their Etsy and Insta are worth checking out just to see what sort of magic can happen with lacquer. Dippy Cow Nails//Prices start at $20.10

Perfect 10 Au


Photos courtesy of Perfect10Au.

A little something for our babes down under, Perfect 10 Au has an interesting range of choices. Most sets are on the eclectic side, often utilizing the look of different textures within a single color scheme. We’re sorta in love with their Black Ink Lipstick Stilettos (shown above, far left). Perfect10Au//Prices start at $34.63.

Option 2: Do It Your Own Damn Self

If you’re able to grow out your natural nails, you can always file them into stiletto shapes and go from there. If you can’t grow your own, store bought is fine– you can buy plain fake nails and file them down, or take advantage of the multitude of plain stilettos available in bulk on Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy if you can’t find them in your local shops. Once you’ve got your claws in place, you can decorate them however you like. Artist types may be able to freehand witchy designs using detail brushes or striping polishes. But for breathtakingly tiny, intricate designs, your best bet is to invest in nail vinyls, decals, or stamps. Here are some to get your creative juices flowing!

Nail Vinyls and Decals

If you wanna cheat at nail art, nail vinyls and decals are your new besties. Both are easy methods to create complicated miniature art on your nails. Nail vinyls work like tiny adhesive stencils for your claws. Just press one on, brush polish over the top, and peel it off to reveal your darling design. For more tips and tricks, check out this videoNail decals, on the other hand (hahaha! Oh, the puns!), are meant to be left on your nails. For the “sticker” sort, just press them on firmly, and cover with a coat or two of a thick topcoat (clear, glittery, whatever) to seal the deal. Waterslide decals are more like temporary tattoos. Here’s a video showing how to use them. Intrigued? Enjoy a little sampling of some of our favorite sticky bits.

Twinkled T


Spooky Variety Vinyl Sheet. Photo by Twinkled T.

Twinkled T is one of the OGs in the nail art game. They offer a fuckton of glitters, rhinestones, and other nail art supplies, but they’re best known for their nail vinyls. Their “Spooky Variety Vinyl Sheet” is more Halloween kitschy than occult witchy, but if you desperately need bats on your middle finger so you can tell people you don’t give a flying fuck, these are the way to go. Spooky Variety Vinyls by TwinkledT//$9

Snail Vinyls


Moon and Stars Nail Decals. Photo by Snail Vinyls.

These simple, pretty little decals by Snail Vinyls can be used as either nail vinyls or decals. We’re suckers for beauty items that do double duty. Either way you use ’em, they’re a cute little addition to your nail art-senal. (See what we did there? Sorry. Won’t happen again.) Moon and Stars Nail Decals by Snail Vinyls//$4.99

Moon Goddess Market


Occult Nail Decals. Photo by Moon Goddess Market.

Moon Goddess Market offers waterslide decals that must have been designed just for us. They’re easy to use and, as you can see, the sheets come with more than enough to keep your digits witchy for the foreseeable future. They offer astrological, tarot, and general “occult symbols” sheets, but we’re pretty fond of these Ouija board designs. Occult Nail Decals by Moon Goddess Market//$4

Stamping Plates

Nail stamping is exactly like it sounds: stamping a design on your nails. You brush a special stamping polish onto a stamping plate (see below), scrape off the excess with a scraper, and pick up the design with a stamper so you can transfer it onto your nails. It’s less complicated than it sounds! You can watch a handy how-to video here. Because everything is reusable, stamping plates are a more economical option if you change up your claw polish every week. Polishes, scrapers, and stampers are universal; they can be used with any plate. But do you want just any plate? Hell no! You want designs that Morticia would love, right? Your wish is our command.

Whats Up Nails


Clockwise from top left: Gothic collections 3, 13, 12, 4. Photos courtesy of Whats Up Nails.

Whats Up Nails offer all manner of nail art gadgets, including stamping plates. We found plenty that tickled our fancies– just search for “gothic” and you’ll be up to your elbows in spooky. We think the gothic stained glass designs would be amazing over a duochrome polish, but you do you, babe. MoYou-London Gothic 03, 13, 12, and 04, all via Whats Up Nails//prices start at $8.99



L-R: Bundlemonster stamping plates S242 “It’s Witchcraft,” S241 “Midnight Dreary,” and S245 “Cabinet of Curiosities.” Photos courtesy of Bundlemonster.

Bundlemonster is a great place to pick up stamping supplies. They carry a wide range of polishes, stampers, and scrapers, as well as a delicious selection of stamping plates. It was hard to pick our favorites, but we feel it’s hard to go wrong with putting crystal balls, ravens, or goat skulls on your tips. Stamping plates S242 “It’s Witchcraft,” S241 “Midnight Dreary,” and S245 “Cabinet of Curiosities” via Bundlemonster//$3.50 each

Go forth with your beautiful claws, children of the night, and tear the world to shreds.

Featured image by Never Too Much Glitter.

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About The Author

Editor-in-chief Alex Moehagen is a crafty and queer artist and writer who lives with her miniature pet Yetis in the frozen Northern Wastes. She's also the owner of Little and Grim Soap Company, the manager of The Poisoners Guild, and thinks boredom is the only sin. You can stalk her over on Instagram.

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