Making construction-paper hand turkeys in elementary school was the highlight of every November. But when adulthood strikes, all that tracing and gluing (and gobbling) might make you feel a little silly. Instead, reclaim your youth with a foray into festive nail art by recreating the hand turkey’s bright feathers and goofy faces. All it takes is some polish, a little tape, and a dash of childlike wonder—even if that childlike wonder makes you spill a little polish on your hands, like I did.
What You Need:
Washi tape, Scotch tape, or another lightly adhesive tape (masking tape may be too strong)
Nail polish in the following colors: white, brown, orange, yellow, black, red, blue, and clear
Zero perfectionist tendencies
What You Do:
1. Begin with clipped, filed, and polish-free nails.
2. Paint each nail with a base coat of solid white. Let dry completely.
3. Trim washi tape into strips of various sizes, no wider than half of a fingernail. Think of these strips as painter’s tape—you’ll use them to create straight lines as you paint and keep your “feather” stripes from bleeding into each other.
4. Arrange tape on nails and then paint on stripes. I recommend two stripes on the pinkie and three to four stripes per finger. While stripes should be predominantly orange, white, and brown—like a real turkey—feel free to add pops of red and blue to evoke a childhood craft-like aesthetic.
5. Let polish dry halfway, then slowly remove washi tape. (If desired, wait for polish to dry and then repeat this step again with more tape to create extra stripes.) Let dry completely.
6. For the thumbs, use tape to make a triangle pointing outward on half of each nail. Paint the interior yellow, and remove tape when halfway dry. This will be your beak.
7. When the beak has dried, carefully paint the nail brown around it, but leave the bottom third of the nail white. The brown section will be the turkey’s face.
8. Dip a toothpick in red polish, and paint a wattle—otherwise known as the little red flap of skin on the turkey’s neck—in the white space remaining on the thumb.
9. Dip a toothpick in black polish, and paint the turkey’s eyes. If the eyes don’t stand out against the turkey’s brown face, outline the pupils with a touch of white polish.
10. Let dry completely, then finish with a coat of clear polish.
11. If you get polish on your fingers, as I did, wipe it away with some nail-polish remover and a Q-tip.
12. Turn on the Thanksgiving parade and wave your hand in front of the screen like it’s a big balloon.
Photos: © Amelia Buzzell, Groupon