27 of the Best Nail Art Designs for Any Animal Lover
by Alyssa K. Priebe
We scoured Pinterest and Instagram for the best animal-themed nail art designs which use patterns, prints, and gradients to add a little extra to their aesthetics. From puppies to foxes to fish, these adorable manicures will get any animal lover excited.
Instagram-user @christabellnails posted these furry-friendly nails. This manicure makes a statement with doggie bones, a pug face, paw prints and the word “Woof”. We recommend wearing these nails at your next dog show, or really any time you want to show your love for man’s best friend.
Show your love of neighborhood critters with this acorn design. The brown pops against the light pink while the different sizes of acorns keep this looking stylish instead of too busy. We can’t say squirrels will appreciate it, but hey, at least they look good! (Click for the full acorn nails tutorial)
These nails from Bruised Up Dollie have us buzzing with excitement. To get them, paint your nails yellow, then add black stripes on all but one. Then carefully draw your bee and use a toothpick to create the small dots. Finish with a top coat for protection.
Get ready for a morning of bird watching with these elegant nails from Canadian Nail Fanatic. To create this look, you’ll need a sponge, a very steady hand or a bird nail stamp and gold sparkly polish. Simply apply your green polishes to the makeup sponge, dab til you get the gradient, add pops of gold and then stamp the birds over everything. Be sure to let your nails dry between each step.
This manicure is absolutely purrrfect for a cat lover. Choose any base color–we like how classy this nude polish looks against the black–and then paint the bodies of each cat, making an upside down tear drop. Add a small circle for the heads and two small triangles for the ears. Lastly, draw cane-shaped lines for the tails. (Click for the full black cat nail art tutorial)
We have Instagram user @melcisme to thank for this oh so cute nail design. She used hot pink polish and white to create this mani. We love how she kept it simple with just a bunny head and chevron print but you could mix it up with polka dots, flowers or stripes.
When it comes to creating animal nail art designs, Alice from One Nail to Rule Them All knows how to create a balanced look. Instead of painting all her nails the same, she created two small turtles and paired them with shell designs. She used a blue base which not only looks like water, but complements her shades of green nicely.
Adorable Floral Fox
We will never get over how much we love this adorable floral fox manicure! Plus it’s another design from Alice that proves a little goes a long way. She decided to paint one nail like a fox, but adds a playful element with flowers on the tips. If you’re loving this nail art as much as us, create them yourself with the full Fantastic Floral Fox Nail Design Tutorial.
We found this colorful nail design on Trendy Polish’s Instagram. The teal and cobalt blue polishes look great in the chevron pattern, and make the tiny elephant stand out. Not to mention the sweet heart detail, seriously it’s like the elephant is saying “I love you”. We love you too tiny elephant!
If you can’t choose between your favorite animals, simply incorporate all of them onto your nails! You’ll need a variety of colors depending on which animals you’re making, but focus on painting circles at the end of your nails for the heads. Then use black and other colors to draw in the faces. Be sure you add the white dots in the eyes to give your animals more personality.
By painting a giraffe’s head on your ring finger and body on your thumb, you can make it so the full giraffe comes together when you align your fingers. On your other nails, use brown polish to free-handed giraffe spots. You’ll need a steady hand for this look, but with a protective top coat you have a darling manicure that lasts longer than a giraffe’s neck.
There are few things cuter than hedgehogs in this world (seriously they float like boats in water) and Instagram user narmai captures their adorableness through nail art designs. First, she makes a yellow and green gradient. Then, she uses a thin brush to draw the grass. Lastly, she creates her hedgehogs, changing their shape and facial expressions. Gah too much cute! We just want to hug them!
Wow! This horse nail design looks so life-like! We aren’t even going to try to figure out how Lou at the blog Tips and Top Coat free-handed this, but we can tell you she used acrylic and watered down paints. We can also tell you this mani is a must for your next horse show, rodeo or leisurely ride. Giddy up!
Lovely Lady Bugs
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of bugs, but this lady bug manicure are perfect for a day spent gardening. Sanela from Insane Nails created them, and honestly you can too in three easy steps. Step 1: Paint your nails red. Step 2: Paint a black line vertically on two nails and paint your tips black. Step 3: Add polka dots. And that’s it!
Classic Leopard Print
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated way to show you’re animal love, you can’t go wrong with leopard nail art designs. This one uses muted shades of nude, gray and maroon. Once you have your bases you pant a triangle carefully in the middle of each. Create your spots by adding white dots with black lines around them. You can stop here or add a little sparkle with a silver outline. (Click for the full Glam Glitter and Leopard Print Nail Design tutorial)
Cheyenne from Cdbnails created this joyful manicure. She used brown, yellow and tan polishes to create her silhouettes and then black to outline and add details. No monkey is complete without a banana, so of course she added a statement nail with a bright yellow one. Yup, they sure do look like happy monkeys, and you’ll be happy flaunting your tips!
This playful design is otter-ly adorable. Janelle of Elle and Ish created this mincure by using light blue for her base, a thin brush and different shades of green polish for her seaweed, medium brown for the head, beige for the face and dark brown for the tail. She also uses black to add the nose, whiskers and eyes. Check out her page for the full video tutorial.
Penguin Nail Art
If you love penguins, then you’ll love this design we found on Hair and Nail Fashion’s Instagram. And if you’re not a nail art pro, you’ll also appreciate how easy they are to recreate. Start by painting all your nails black. Then, with white, paint an “m” about three-quarters up and fill in to the tip. Next, draw two large circles for the eyes, a small yellow triangle for the beak and two light pink (very light) circles for the cheeks. Lastly, add more detail to the eyes with white dots. See, easy, and a perfect look for your text trip to the zoo.
Pandas love bamboo, so use that as inspiration for this nail look. Start with painting a white oval and triangle for the head and body of the panda. Then add two black dots for both the feet and ears. Finish your panda by outlining it in black and adding its eyes, nose and mouth. Do this to only one nail. For the rest, paint vertical green lines and leaves to surround your panda in bamboo. See how happy he looks.
Whoooo can create this manicure? You that’s who! Start with a white base, then draw a tear shape with two triangles at the top for the owl’s body. Next, draw to triangles on opposite sides for the wings. Let it dry and then outline the creature in white and add the eyes and beak. Lastly, surround your wise woodland bird with polka dots. Finish with a top coat for protection. (Click to get the full Spottled Owl Nail Art tutorial)
Paw Print Nail Art
The thing we love this manicure’s versatility. You can use any colors you want and it will still look flawless. Plus, you can show your love for both cats and dogs with paw print nail art designs. This one leans toward the dog side with a bone, but you could switch up the statement nail by adding more paw prints, a food bowl, or even more fashion-forward elements like a chevron pattern or stripes.
Snake Skin Nail Art
You may not like the slithery creature itself, but you can still sport some fierce fingers with snakeskin designs. Sarah from the blog Chalkboard Nails, used red and green for this design, but you could do black and silver, black and gold, or really any two color combination, the main thing is to paint them in organic shapes. Next, wrap lace around your finger and VERY lightly sponge white polish onto the nail. Then, carefully remove the lace template and finish with a top coat.
Polar Bear Nail Design
It’s never a bad time for Coca-Cola, nor is it ever a bad time to style your nails after their adorable mascot, the polar bear. This design uses a sparkly brown base (like the popular beverage) and incorporates the polar bears playfully. To create cute heads like these, paint white half circles where you want the polar bear to be and two small dots for the ears. Then add two small black dots and a slightly bigger dot for the nose. Be sure to alternate your placements of each one to emulate this fun design.
Pusheen the Cat
If you spend any time on the Internet, you probably recognize this cartoon kitty. Pusheen is an adorable emoji capturing people’s hearts, and this manicure definitely captured ours. Instagram user, Sonia, created this look by painting her nails pink and gray. She then used a dotting tool and white polish to create polka dots on the gray nail. To draw Pusheen’s body, she used gray and then carefully added the black outline and eyes. Lastly, she used a darker shade of gray to add the three sets of stripes.
Octopus Nail Design
Dive under the sea with this octopus mani. Paint your nails light blue, and then add a large circle (whatever color you want your octopus, we chose red to pop against the background) on the middle finger with eight lines extending toward your tips. Then, paint four tentacles on your ring and index fingers. Use light pink to create small dots that will look like suction cups and then two white dots for the eyes. Finish this symmetric mani with a starfish on your pinkie and thumb. (Click to get the full octopus nail art tutorial)
This design from Adorkable DIY Corner will have you feeling like a foxy lady. Start with a clear base coat and then paint an orange circle at the tip of your nail. Then paint two triangles at the top, they used a dotting a tool but you could also use a toothpick if you don’t have one. Next, paint two ovals at the tips of your nails, leaving a small space between them. Lastly, use the dotting tool (or toothpick) to create three small dots, one for the nose and two for the eyes. Repeat for all your nails and finish with a clear top coat.
We are obsessed with zebra nail look from Kimiko7878. Instead of one statement nail, she used two. Not only that, but she added a black french tip to her zebra print nails which make it look super classy. Plus, the design isn’t overpowering because she painted her other nails in just plain black. This fashion-forward design will work for a variety of occasions and pairs nicely with a red (or other brightly colored) dress.