Need a new hobby? Maybe a craft idea for VBS or Sunday School?


This has been a blog that many of my friends have requested, and since we are down at the beach this weekend at Kitty and Leo’s, it was the perfect time to take some good pictures and tell you about Toenail Art.


A little background: Kitty and Leo are Chris’ Aunt and Uncle (the ones that recently retired and moved to the beach permanently). We are very close to them as Chris has worked with them for many years (and I work from home with them). They don’t have kids other than us, and Ali is their beloved Grandbaby. This is the story of Leo’s creative method of showing Kitty his love for her.


It all started one Christmas as an innocent joke. Leo bought Kitty some gold earrings, and just to see what would happen, he attached a toenail to each one. Kitty thought they must be shark’s teeth or shells, and she thought that they were beautiful. She wore them all Christmas day before he ‘fessed up to the true nature of the bling on the earrings. Luckily for him, she thought it was hilarious, as did the rest of the family. (I personally find it hard to believe that Kitty didn’t recognize those toenails – I mean, this was pre-painting and pre-sculpting eras of toenail art, and they really kinda look like toenails to me).




Next Christmas, Kitty got a Santa Claus Christmas tree ornament. This one I find much more unassuming than the earrings. You wouldn’t even notice, unless you looked closely at the intricately painted pinwheel:
The next year got much more intricate. This sunflower has many toenail details, including the Ladybug, grass, eyes, smile, flower petals, and leaves. Leo saved those big old toenails all year to make this one!
Chris gave Leo a jar one Christmas that said “Toenails”. That jar sat in Leo’s office all year long collecting his art medium.


The last year (thus far) of the era of toenail art, Leo went all out. A whole beachscape – FIVE separate sculptures, with unbelievably intricate detail. THREE different species of crabs, beautiful beach reeds, and quite large (and very-uncomfortable-in-shoes-looking) palm leaves.


All of these beautiful creations can be seen in their curio cabinet in their living room.


My personal commentary: some of my friends who have happened to hear about the toenail art find it to be very strange. I’m not sure that I find it VERY strange.

Somewhat Strange? Ok, sure.

Unusual? Uh huh.

Unique? Obviously.

Creative? Definitely!

A great idea for laughs? for sure!

Cute and Romantic? Yes, I actually do think it is cute and romantic. I mean, think of how much Leo must have wanted to make that gold crab just perfect to let his toenails get that long!!

That’s love.

I personally love the sculptures. It is unique, personal, hilarious, and great conversation pieces! And, they really don’t gross me out (except maybe the earrings – being that they aren’t painted and lacquered, they are pretty toenail-like). Maybe it’s because I’ve always been hard to get to gross out, but hey – my opinion is, whatever keeps the romance alive, go for it!

…But Chris, please don’t start saving your boogers.


Editor’s note: Sequel posts to Toenail Art:
1. The Appraising of Toenail Art
2. Toenail Art Revenge – when my Husband made a piece of Toenail Art for Leo.

21 thoughts on “Toenail Art

  1. That is VERY weird, but it is very romantic in a weird way. It makes me want to curl my toes up. I also have to confess that it’s kinda gross, though. I don’t want my curio cabinet filled with toenails, painted or not.

  2. I have to admit it normal would gross me out, but although it is slightly weird to me I think it is very creative. What patience he must have to not only grow his toenails for that period of time but also to paint them so detailed. If I had not been told I would not have known that some of them were toenails. Yes it is romantic in an unusual way.


  3. I’ve saved my toe and finger nail trimmings for over four years now, I have an idea to use them in a religious art piece, I am an artist currently living in Los Angeles I spent the last four years living and working in Florence Italy. My inspiration comes from all the religious works of the old masters of which 90% are on display in Florence. I have also heard of another artist that has done well with small sculptures using nail clippings, birda and other natural subjects. So romantic, weird, unusual whatever it takes to make one happy

  4. Rachel,

    Nathan & I have just read a few of your blog posts. This one is hilarious! I am red from laughing. But we have to wonder, exactly what kind of family have you married into? – your website is great. very entertaining.


  5. Ummm, GROSS! But, then again, I hate feet, toes, and toenails … unless they are the super cute baby variety!

  6. Creative? Okay, but so is breast milk preserved in resin.

    Unique? Probably not anymore.

    But cute? Romantic? When was the last time you presented, I dunno, your leg stubble from your razor to your husband? Toenail clippings?

    Please. Please, please throw them in the trash.

    Makes for interesting blog content though, that’s for sure. I read it.

  7. Oh my goodness. Those are insanely creative and very hilarious…and oh so disgusting! I am not a foot person and toenails especially gross me out. I appreciate the time and effort spent going into those but they make shivers go down my spine!

  8. Umm, wow, hmmm, thaaaats shocking. Okay, I am totally grossed out now. LOL thank goodness I already ate breakfast.

  9. I just heard about this. That is hilarious that people actually do this type of art! What about braiding back hair into an engagement ring? What could possibly be more romantic than that?!

  10. gross! but soooo funny. i was laughing out loud and my husband was like, You’re reading that blog aren’t you? of course i am.

  11. it is artistic, but depending on the quality and quantity it can be the work of genius…keep up the good work!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *