Ideas for Lunar New Year Nails
Ideas for Lunar New Year Nails

It’s a time for celebration! The Lunar New Year starts on February 1 and celebrations last until the Lantern Festival on February 15th. We’re ushering in the year of the Tiger, which is the zodiac sign symbolizing strength and braveness.

Whether you choose a traditional red and gold palette—which symbolizes good fortune and prosperity in the Chinese culture—or want to get more creative with nail art elements, there are lots of fun ways to create a nod to the Lunar New Year on your nails.

We've covered Chinese New Year nails before —like in this step-by-step from Gelish or this editorial set from CND—and we're here with more ideas.

If you’re looking for ideas for Lunar New Year nails, we’ve got you covered. Below, two nail artists share their inspiration and directions for creating these festive Lunar New Year nail designs.

Lunar New Year nails from @nailsbylaureen

To create this Lunar New Year nail art, Laureen Shirokane (@nailsbylaureen), nail artist and manager at Salon Glitter (@salonglitterhawaii) in Honolulu, HI, referenced photos her client brought with her and added her own touch.

“This set was created using two designs,” Shirokane says. “I sometimes incorporate 5 different photos in one set. When plotting out any design, I always imagine working from the first bottom layer to the top. I decide my base first, and determine whether or not to custom mix colors to get a desired, and unique shade. I am all about customization for the client.”

This set combines tiger elements, with a plum blossom, China’s national flower.

“I decided to do the 3D art first since I knew that I would be painting the tiger design on top of it and would have the opportunity to paint the flowers on the other nails at the same time,” Shirokane says. “Collaboration with my client determined that the flowers needed some bling. And I took the initiative to add in gold studs myself.” 

Lunar New Year nails from @heyphoebechang

Phoebe (@heyphoebechang) from Gelly Bar Nail Studio in Diamond Bar, CA, created this Lunar New Year nail art featuring a 3D lion face to commemorate the lion dance, a traditional dance that people perform during Lunar New Year celebrations to bring good luck and fortune. 

To create her 3D lion design, you’ll need:

  • Art gel
  • White sculpture gel for nail art
  • Diamond gel
  • Dotting tool
  • Short liner brush
  • Gold stud


  1. Apply a nude color as the base to cover the distal edge of the nail plate (free edge).
  2. Once the nude color is cured, use yellow art gel to draw a 3/4 circle to cover half of your nail plate. It doesn’t need to be perfect! 
  3. Using red art gel, draw an infinity sign (∞) on top of the circle—this is the face of the lion. 
  4. Use black art gel to draw the tiger face on the yellow part. 
  5. Once you finish that, use navy blue art gel with a dotting tool to create a medium-size dot on each side of the infinity sign.
  6. Then use the same method with yellow art gel to create the smaller yellow dots on top of navy blue dots—this creates the lens of the eyes. 
  7. Continue to do that with red, yellow and black colors. 
  8. To create the ear of the lion, draw one triangle on top of each side of the infinity sign with red art gel.
  9.  Use white structure gel to go around the Infinity sign and the triangles—this creates the hair that goes around the lion’s face. 
  10. To finish, use diamond gel to stick the gold stud on the nose of the lion’s face.                                               

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Originally posted on NAILS Magazine

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