Mid Century Star Nail Art - DIY with Cricut Joy

by - 4/09/2020

After the response to these on my Instagram Stories, I had to whip up a blog post ASAP to share how I did my mid century inspired gold star and nude gel nails with my Cricut Joy machine.

In my early twenties I went through an intense nail art phase, I painted leopard print, Aztec patterns, stars, dots, flowers - you name it. I had books on nail art design and all the tools, in hindsight, it feels a little cringe. But honestly I've impressed myself with how nice these gold stars look. Much better than using those old nail art pens...

I invested in an at home gel nail kit a couple of months ago, I've been getting my nails done in the salon for a few years now, so I feel confident in the process and that it could be something I could tackle myself.

I've seen Cricut machines used for nail art a couple of times, and wondered how well it worked. I figured combined with setting it under the UV light with gel nail varnish it would make the vinyl nail art more durable. In this post I'm going to tell you all the supplies you need and include my step by step process to achieve this look for yourself.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's hands are suffering with the excessive hand washing - please excuse the dryness!
Like I've mentioned, for this tutorial I'm using gel nails. You could do this will regular nail polish, it just probably won't last as long.

Firstly, you need all the gel nail equipment:
- I have THIS exact gel nail kit, which includes everything you need (minus polish).
- There are some extra tools I would recommend for doing your own gel nails, like THIS cuticle tool and THIS buffer.
- A polish base colour. I used THIS shade of light pink.

To create my nail art I used:
- Photoshop
- Cricut Design Space
- Cricut Joy Machine
- Cricut Removable Smart Vinyl in gold
- Cricut tools and tweezers

Step 1:
Prep Cricut nail art.

I found a mid century star template and put it through photoshop. I deleted the background and saved it as a PNG. I transferred this over to the Cricut design space. I judged the size by eye and made sure to place plenty, in various sizes, so there would be room for mistakes as I knew it would be very fiddly.

My Cricut Joy then cut them out on removable Smart Vinyl in gold. I was worried it might be too small and fiddly, but Joy handled it perfectly! I made sure to gather up the Cricut tools and set up a space to work at with my gel nail kit and vinyls.

Step 2:
Nail prep & base.

After you've done the normal gel nail prep; cuticle removal, buffing, shaping etc - apply your gel nail base coat as normal. I then applied TWO coats of my chosen polish which provides a semi-nude pink base to work on.

Do this one hand at a time, or one nail at a time. Which ever you find easier. I did my left hand entirely first, then my right.

Step 3:
Apply vinyls.

Gel nails remain tacky until the final step in the gel nail application process, so don't think you can start pressing your finger on your nail etc and remember to work quite quickly to avoid fluff and dust build up.

Use the Cricut tools or tweezers to pick up a star from the vinyl, it can be quite tricky to get the hang of it, but you'll find your flow. Carefully place the nail art where you want it and smooth the vinyl down with the tools being careful not to scrape the polish. Make sure all the fiddly star points are smoothed down. Repeat across your nails.

Step 4:
Top Coat.

Check your art is in place as you want it and no bits are poking out. Carefully apply a generous layer of clear top coat and seal under the UV light. Be careful not to pick up any of the star points with your brush as you don't want the top coat to go under the vinyl as it will lift up.

Repeat. I applied TWO clear top coats (I'd recommend this as a minimum) but I may add a 3rd to make sure none of the points of the stars can be caught and pulled up.

After the final step of setting your gel nails you'll be able to run your fingers over the nails and see how well the vinyls are set in. You might feel they are poking up a little bit, if so add another top coat and seal. Whilst your nails won't feel completely smooth as if they had no vinyl on them, you should still be able to run through your nails through your hair or over fabric and not have them catch.

I have surprised myself with how well these have appeared to have worked and this has unleashed a whole world of possibilities for me and my Cricut Joy now! What a cool thing to be able to use this little machine for. With so may colours of vinyl on offer from Cricut, my mind is whiring away with thousands of nail art designs! So this might not be the last you see of my Cricut nail art!

If you've found yourself looking to do your own gel nails at home with a kit, regardless of nail art, I would really recommend THE KIT I bought. I've used it a few times now and have been really impressed with the products. My first manicure lasted about 2 weeks (but that was before I realised the importance of cuticle removal and nail buffing), my second manicure was much better and the 2 week mark was this week, and whilst they were lasting well (only one chip), I wanted to try this nail art. My toes lasted about 3 weeks, again though it was my first attempt and a bit dodgy, my second looks much better and I hope it'll last a month at least.

You do need quite a bit of patience with this project and a steady hand will help. But practise makes perfect and have fun with it!

Let me know if you're going to try this, it's going to be my new obsession for sure!

Thanks for reading.
Abi xo

Disclaimer: contains affiliate links.
Cricut Joy was gifted to me, but this post is of my own accord and not required as part of our collaboration.

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  1. Your nails look absolutely amazing! Thanks so much for posting this tutorial.