Get In Gear with Steampunk Nails

Lisa says…

I’m what you might call an accidental watch collector.  Eleven of them, so far, mostly of the inexpensive Timex variety. You know…the brand that takes a lickin’, but keeps on tickin’?   So long as the battery lasts, that is.

watchUnlike my children, whose long ago replaced smartphones with any need for a watch, I’m old school, and like the security of knowing that time is always on my wrist. What ticks me off, however, is the torturous challenge of changing out watch batteries.  Therein the reason I buy cheap watches.  Once the battery dies, I toss the dead watch in a drawer and purchase a new one one.  Some might find that wasteful, but dear reader, here’s something you must know:  I’ve some great plans for those inactive watches!

You see, I’m holding out for the innards, or the guts of the watch:  those fabulous metal gears, hands, and wheels! If ever I manage to crack open the rear compartment of my frozen-in-timepieces, just imagine the treasure trove of fun I’d have yanking out the hardware, and affixing all that brass and silver Steampunk to my nails! Oh, yeah!  Sing it, sister!

Well, today’s post is a nod to such imaginings.  Since I’ve not gained entry to the motherlode of metal, I decided to negotiate a tablespoon’s purchase of teensy gears, cogs, big hands, little hands, and wheels from one very lovely Ebay vendor. For way less than the cost of a battery, I might add.

With all that said, let’s get this mani in gear, shall we?


Beginning with a foundational base coat, I next applied two layers of a lovely taupe creme (OPI Did You ‘Ear About Van Gogh).

Once bone-dry, I reached for my stamping plate collection and began searching for Bundle Monster image plate #BM-203.  For the longest time, I’d been envisioning using it for this very purpose!  Once in hand, I went to town stamping up black (Konad Special Black stamping polish) industrial-looking gears on those tauped tips.


A thick layer of top coat later, I was in a perfect position to accent my thumb and ring finger with all manner of brass and silver wristwatch innards.  I set the pieces into the sticky coating, and then slathered on a final layer of top coat to seal the manicure.

The outcome?  Don’t know about you, but I’m loving it!

Best part?  Now that I’ve this precious stash of watch hardware, I’m newly inspired to crack open those eleven timepieces.

That’s right, I think it’s about time to pick up some batteries, and get those babies tickin’ again.

  8 comments for “Get In Gear with Steampunk Nails

  1. February 3, 2014 at 12:26 am

    These look awesome! I recently ordered some of those little gears/cos, can’t wait to use them!

    • February 3, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment, and for the assurance that I’m not the only one buying old watch parts for nail art!!!! LOLOLOL! 🙂

  2. February 3, 2014 at 3:34 am

    I love watches, too, and keep glancing at my wrist even when I’m not wearing one, but WOW, what a fabulous idea! I can’t bring myself to crack open any of my beloved timepieces, but will keep a lookout on ebay for the innards for some cool nail art. I wonder if you can even use the minute and hour hands for nail art….

    • February 3, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      You sure can, Renu! In fact, if you look REAL close, you can see the hour and minute hand on the two accent fingers. The Ebay stash is something of a crapshoot. What you’re getting is a measured amount of watch guts. Mine had a bit of dust and glittery things in it. But, using a pair of tweezers, I was able to separate out the pieces I wanted. Go get some! Can’t wait to see your steampunk nails! 🙂

  3. February 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Oh my gosh! LOVE that design!

    • February 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks much, Laura! 🙂

  4. February 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    That is such a fascinating manicure. My dad would have loved something like this. If he were around I’d want to do that.

    • February 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks for the nod of approval, Marcia!!! <3 In this age of digital everything, an analog watch with the kind of innards that we've used here, is a throwback to another time. I'd like to think that your Dad would have appreciated it, too! 🙂

Comments are closed.