Tribal Skull King Nail Art Design for #NAILlinkup

OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby, OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Zoya Stevie

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, huh? I’ll explain below, but first I need to show you a design I am excited about. My N.A.I.L. Group chose “Skulls” as the prompt for the week following Valentine’s Day. I thought it was a fun idea to go from one extreme to the other and happened to come across the coolest Skull King charm when I was shopping in early February.

So the blog has been quiet because I have some things going on in my personal life, that other part of my life that doesn’t involve amazing nail polish and creating fun designs, and they aren’t good things. Aside from stifling my creativity, my motivation to edit photos and write posts for work I’ve already completed has been seriously impacted. But I am still planning to post about each and every 1 of the 6 Valentine’s Day nail art designs I created…even if it takes me until January to do it! Sooner would be better though, so please send good juju my way!

The inspiration to create this design came entirely from the Skull King charm I mentioned. Since I don’t regularly create designs featuring skulls I was worried he would get packed away and forgotten if I didn’t use him now, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to get this done. Design-wise what used to take hours now takes days, 4 days in this case, before this concept finally came together for me late last night. Fortunately the link up for my group doesn’t close for a few more hours so I’ll make it in if I can write this post quickly.
Gun Metal Crystal Crown Skull King Nail Art Charm WiiNo Shop
First I thought I’d give you a good look at my inspiration since the dark gun metal finish makes him a bit harder to see, especially his gem encrusted crown. This is the Gun Metal Crystal Crown Skull King Nail Art Charm from WiiNo Shop, another source for great nail bling I learned of on IG recently. I pulled the color scheme for my polishes directly from the crystals in the charm including gold, light amethyst and a deeper, burgundy leaning amethyst.
OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby, OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Zoya Stevie

I started with 1 coat of OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby over my base coat on my thumb, pointer and pinky fingers and 2 coats of OPI Rumple’s Wiggin on my middle finger followed by a coat of INM Out The Door Topcoat. Then I applied 2 coats of Zoya Pixie Dust Stevie to my ring finger sans topcoat to maintain the textured finish.

Once dry, I applied 1 coat of the opposing polish color over the lower half of my pointer, middle and pinky fingers followed by more topcoat. Then I took a nice long break before moving on to the next step.

OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby, OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Zoya Stevie,
Since I wanted the charm to be the center of attention I opted not to stamp skull designs on any nails. My mind kept telling me “tribal”, so I pulled out my nail vinyls and went to town. The majority of these are from, but I also used a few from a tribal themed sheet created by KBShimmer. I wonder if anyone will notice that I added even more vinyls after I shot this photo…
OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby, OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Zoya Stevie
Here’s how it looked after I polished over the vinyls with 1 decent coat of OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not. The vinyls produced some amazingly crisp lines and you can only imagine my disappointment when I applied my beloved HK Girl Fast Drying Topcoat 30-45 minutes later and it smeared the polishes. AND THE POLISH WAS ALREADY DRY! Anyhow…
OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby, OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Zoya Stevie
OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby, OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Zoya Stevie, Daily Charme, WiiNo Shop
I used topcoat to apply a 10mm Swarovski Elements Rhombus Crystal in Golden Shadow from Daily Charme to my thumb. Since I wasn’t planning to wear my Skull King long term, I applied it with an Extra Strong Nail Adhesive Tab from Born Pretty Store and it’s holding on remarkably well.
OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby, OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not, OPI Rumple's Wiggin, Zoya Stevie, Daily Charme, WiiNo Shop, Bundle Monster Cuticle Tattoos

As I was poking through my stash for the umpteenth time seeking ideas for this design I came across a package of Triangle Water Transfer Cuticle Tattoos from Bundle Monster that I had purchased a while ago. It just so happened that the pack contained light and dark purple so it seemed like fate to me. I had never used them before and figured I had nothing to lose. If they didn’t look good I just wouldn’t show you the pictures!

Unlike water decals for your nails, the tattoo is positioned face down on your clean, dry cuticle area and then you wet the white paper backing, which is thicker than that of a nail water decal. So you have a little less control over placement and no ability to move them around once the backing is ready to be removed 20-30 seconds after you wet it. My first attempt didn’t come out bad, but I still adjusted my technique by cutting out the tattoo as close as I could with cuticle scissors to help with positioning.

I think the end result looks pretty cool and even better in person in my opinion. The triangles fit perfectly with my tribal theme and the colors were a near perfect match. What do you think of them? Do you like the design better with or without the tattoos? Have you tried them before or would you consider trying them now?

 Product Recap
Basecoat and Topcoat: Orly Bonder and INM Out the Door
Base polishes: OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby and OPI Rumple’s Wiggin
Accent polishes: OPI Louvre Me Louvre Me Not and Zoya Pixie Dust Stevie
Accessories: Vinyls from and KBShimmer
Embellishments: Skull King Charm from WiiNo Shop, Swarovski Elements Rhombus Crystal from Daily Charme, Cuticle Tattoos from Bundle Monster

I hope you’ve enjoyed this design and I would love to hear your thoughts! I also hope that you’ll stick with me through these bumps in my personal life. It would mean the world to me! I love nail art too much to stop posting completely, but it’s a safe bet that I will not be posting on a regular schedule again for a little while. I also haven’t been doing the best job replying to comments in a timely manner here on the blog or on Instagram and I apologize for that.

Don’t forget to take a minute to scroll down while you’re here and see the nail art created by other members of this group!

Thanks for reading! I’ll see you at the next post.



  • Oh my gosh, Karolyn, I LOVE THIS DESIGN! The skull, the tribal, the colors – AMAZING TOGETHER!!! That's really clever to use the nail adhesive tabs for the larger charms like that, I'll have to remember that tip 😉 Also I'm sorry you're going through some hard stuff lately… unfortunately life likes to do that, huh? I hope you can power through it though! <3 I'm always available to lend an ear, even if you just need to vent. Love ya!

  • Cat

    Hi Karolyn, I know this isn't a competition with the other ladies, but I like your design the best out of all of them! It really has an edge — and those cuticle decals add some bite, which totally fits the theme. I love the little skull guy, too. He's scary but bejeweled at the same time! I hope things in your personal life improve because I miss you and your over-the-top manis. <3 <3 <3 But take all the time you need and stay well. =) Big hugs to you!!

  • What a great color combination!! That skull is super creepy…I know it's hidden underneath pretty jewels…but it's still there…watching me…Can you tell I've never been a skull fan? Heh..

    I hope you feel better and things get back to normal soon!! 🙂 This look is really gorgeous I couldn't have noticed there were others things going on. You have such a knack for designs and patterns. This is a a great manicure!!

  • Thanks so much! <3

  • Thanks Kacey! <3

  • Thanks so very much Millie!! Yeah, the adhesive tabs are perfect if you're not planning to wear your design out for the evening. I really appreciate your kind words. Yep, you're right, such is life and I'm doing my best to keep on going. Thanks so much for offering an ear…you're such a sweetheart! <3

  • You're so good to me Cat! I'm glad to hear the edginess came across as I intended and that the cuticle decals helped to improve on the design. I stared at them for hours trying to decide if I liked the or not. That skull was awesome!! Awww, thanks for your kind words and for missing my work. I'm trying hard to get back to where I was. Big hugs to you too sweetie! <3

  • Thank you very much Monica! LOL, you crack me up every time you comment girlfriend! Please never stop!! Yes, I can tell you've never been a skull fan. They aren't really my thing either, but when I can find one all bejeweled like this I'll happily bring it out for a Linkup theme. Thank you for your kind words. I too am hopeful things will get back to normal soon! <3

  • Perfect use of cuticle tattoos!

  • Another amazing design! I love the use of color with this tribal design and those tattoos are a perfect topper. Much love!

  • OMG, so sorry for the delay! Thanks Anne! Once I adjusted I really like them so you'll probably see them again. <3

  • Thanks so much Ali! My 1st time trying the tattoos and I liked them! <3